SHAKESPEARE: Year 12 student Adam Morris says he enjoyed the process of taking the traditional elements of a Shakespeare play and making it more modern.
SHAKESPEARE: Year 12 student Adam Morris says he enjoyed the process of taking the traditional elements of a Shakespeare play and making it more modern. Kerin Gordon

Rocky High students transform plays into modern masterpiece

MOST people, when asked their opinion on Shakespeare, would not say, "It's a modern masterpiece”, however some Rockhampton students are hoping to change that through modern adoption of classic literary works.

Taking on the challenge of adapting some of the best known stories, written centuries ago by one of the most celebrated playwrights in history is no easy task, but students from Rockhampton State High School are running with it.

Last week a group of students from the school put on a sold out showcase "A Night With Shakespeare” which worked with the traditional telling of many of the stories, and told them in a way that a modern audience could relate to, bringing Shakespeare into the 21st century.

SHAKESPEARE: Students from Rockhampton State High School, mid-performance.
SHAKESPEARE: Students from Rockhampton State High School, mid-performance. Maddelin McCoker

Adam Morris and Gemma Rout are two students who took part in the showcase and they both agreed that participating in a show that aims at bringing Shakespeare into the modern world was really exciting.

"It was a really fun thing to do,” Adam said.

"Without changing many of the ideologies or the dialect we were able to make it more engaging for a modern audience.”

Gemma agreed the process of flipping the traditional form of performing the plays on their head was a great way to engage with a modern audience.

"I didn't really like Shakespeare before this,” she said.

"I think it is really smart to make it more engaging to modern audiences.

SHAKESPEARE: Year 12 student Gamma Rout named Hamlet as one of her favourite Shakespeare plays and 10 Things I Hate About You as her favourite modern adaption of Shakespeare.
SHAKESPEARE: Year 12 student Gamma Rout named Hamlet as one of her favourite Shakespeare plays and 10 Things I Hate About You as her favourite modern adaption of Shakespeare. Kerin Gordon

"I think what it does for an audience is really cool.”

Adam said that the most exciting aspect of the whole process was looking at the plays from a different point of view to how it is normally taught in school.

"It is meant to be performed,” he said.

"Most of the study formats are just reading a script and taking that apart, but it something you are meant to watch.

"You can muddle up the meaning when you read it, but you can understand it better when you actually watch it.”

For teachers, and self-confessed Shakespeare lovers, Lynda Dowley and Katelyn Woodbine, the responsibility of putting together the showcase became a passion project.

"It's been really lovely to see the kids get excited about Shakespeare,” she said.

SHAKESPEARE: RSHS teachers Katelyn Woodbine and Lynda Dowley say helping the students fine-tune their performances became
SHAKESPEARE: RSHS teachers Katelyn Woodbine and Lynda Dowley say helping the students fine-tune their performances became "a bit of a passion project." Maddelin McCosker

"They would come to me with these ideas and these grand schemes and it was so exciting because they have gone home and they have planned it out and put thought into it.

"All of it was student devised work, they have come up with it.

"We have led them and pieced some bits together, but it was coming from their minds and their interpretation of Shakespeare which is what makes it so special.”

For Miss Dowley, seeing how talented the Rockhampton State High School students are was a real pinch me moment.

"I still get goosebumps,” she said.

"We really do have extremely talented kids and I am super proud of them.”



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