Shakespeare and Education at BritGrad 2013 – Kathryn Twigg
The British Graduate Shakespeare Conference (also known as BritGrad) drew like-minded students, academics and practitioners from all over the world to the small town of Stratford-upon-Avon and the even smaller Shakespeare Institute. The entirely student run conference took place between the 6th and the 8th of June 2013 with papers on a multitude of Shakespeare and Renaissance related subjects filling up the conference’s busy daily schedule.
During the conference there were a number of panels and plenaries related to Shakespeare and education. Education practitioner and peripatetic facilitator, Brian Lighthill, delivered one such workshop. Lighthill’s practices derive from the premise that ‘the key to breaking down the students’ resistance to all things Shakespearean is proving relevance.’ Lighthill’s workshop mixed Shakespearean subject matter with that of Personal Social Education, hoping to promote the ongoing relevance of Shakespeare’s works and enable students to develop an ownership of the text through the association of Shakespearean themes with those of modern society.
Lighthill began with an interactive story telling exercise called the ‘Whoosh’. This activity used delegates to help retell the story of Romeo and Juliet but removed the play from the Shakespearean language using modern narration. He interspersed this activity with conundrums that compelled participants to think about how the Shakespearean story related to their own lives. The workshop concluded with a discussion on whether the Shakespearean society was the same as ours and concluded that whilst society was different human nature has remained the same. This workshop provided great ideas for using Shakespeare in the classroom and opened up cross-curricular links that most participants had not considered.
 James Stredder, (2012) British Shakespeare Association (online), Available: http://shakespeareineducation.com/2012/12/brian-lighthill-explores-ways-of-breaking-down-student-resistance-to-compulsory-shakespeare-in-the-curriculum/ Accessed: 5/7/2013