Royal Shakespeare Company the First UK theatre to Broadcast Shakespeare Direct into Schools with Richard II


David Tennant in the title role was streamed free of charge into classrooms up and down the country

Last Updated: December 14, 2013 2:35 am GMT
(London, UK--December 14, 2013) On Friday 15 November, the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) became the first UK theatre to broadcast Shakespeare direct into schools, as Richard II with David Tennant in the title role was streamed free of charge into classrooms up and down the country.

L-R: Oliver Ford Davies (Duke of York), Nigel Lindsay (Bolingbroke), David Tennant<br />
(Richard II). Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Barbican Theatre. Photographer : Kwame Lestrade. ©RSC
L-R: Oliver Ford Davies (Duke of York), Nigel Lindsay (Bolingbroke), David Tennant
(Richard II). Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Barbican Theatre. Photographer : Kwame Lestrade. ©RSC

Directed by the RSC's Artistic Director, Gregory Doran, Richard II was viewed by at around 34,000 students across the UK and then followed by a live Q&A with David and Gregory. 78% of the schools taking part in the broadcast were from the state sector and nearly half (46%) saw the company's work for the first time with no previous ticketing history with the RSC.

A UK first, Richard II launches a series of Shakespeare productions that the RSC will broadcast free of charge to schools each term as part of its Young Shakespeare Nation project, in collaboration with The Prince's Foundation for Children and the Arts (CATA).

David Tennant (Richard II). Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Barbican Theatre. Photographer : Kwame Lestrade. ©RSC
David Tennant (Richard II). Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Barbican Theatre. Photographer : Kwame Lestrade. ©RSC

The broadcast was made possible through a creative collaboration between the RSC, Ravensbourne College and Janet, part of the Jisc Group, who manage one of the world's leading research and education networks. Janet has provided the resource which enable 3,000 terminals to log on to this unique online experience and the team at Ravensbourne has built an interactive platform that will allow them to present the film in an exciting and dynamic way to young audiences.

As well as overseeing the broadcast and studio, the students at Ravensbourne have also devised an interactive map as part of the studio set which will show the geographical spread of where participating schools across the country are based. After the production, all participating schools were asked for feedback and student reaction to the experience with a select group of schools taking part in more in-depth focus group discussions about the impact of the project.

In light of the recent reforms to the English curriculum which stipulates that all state educated 11-14 year olds must study a minimum of two Shakespeare texts, the live broadcast series is an example of how the RSC is working with new technology partners to give more young people access to high quality experiences of Shakespeare in school.

Young Shakespeare Nation is a new initiative inviting schools, students and teachers across the UK to join the RSC and CATA on an ambitious journey through Shakespeare's plays, giving a new generation of students the chance to discover and experience the breadth of his work.

For more information about Young Shakespeare Nation visit;

About Janet Jisc
Janet Jisc ( offers digital services for UK education and research. The charity enables people in higher education, further education and skills in the UK to perform at the forefront of international practice by exploiting fully the possibilities of modern, digital empowerment, content and connectivity. Jisc is at the forefront of the practical application of technology in universities, colleges and schools. Jisc has earned a reputation as a trusted partner for the education and research sectors. It combines the latest in digital thinking, network and IT services with access to negotiated, procured and brokered rates with publishers and software suppliers to deliver new and better ways of working for all customers to achieve operational advantage.

Janet, part of the Jisc group, has the primary aim of providing and developing a network infrastructure and related services that meet the needs of research and education communities.

Ravensbourne is a university sector college innovating in digital media and design. It has a community of approximately 2,000 students and offers vocational digital media and design courses from pre-degree, undergraduate and postgraduate to professional short-course level. Ravensbourne champions the creative exploitation of digital technology through innovation and collaboration. It is driven by industry standards and supported by the latest high-performance technology, producing highly employable and enterprising graduates. It has a strong track record in graduate employability and business creation. Today Ravensbourne also hosts more than 100 creative technology businesses alongside its student community who utilise its leading edge technologies, media resources and collaborate with its student body and industry partners.

Young Shakespeare Nation has been created by the RSC in partnership with HRH The Prince of Wales' charity The Prince's Foundation for Children & the Arts. Both organisations are committed to reaching students and schools who would otherwise not have easy access to these kinds of cultural experiences.

Every school is invited to take part and teachers can choose from a range of options to explore all of Shakespeare's plays: participating in live theatre experiences, free broadcasts of productions into classrooms, and teacher professional development and workshops for students. Teachers will be supported with a range of tools, resources and opportunities.

The Prince's Foundation for Children and the Arts The Prince's Foundation for Children and the Arts was founded by HRH The Prince of Wales with the fundamental belief that every child has the right to be inspired by the arts. The Prince of Wales remains a very active President. To fulfil HRH's vision, the charity's UK wide arts engagement programmes work with deprived children from areas of social and economic disadvantage and build partnerships between their schools and local high quality cultural venues. The charity takes children on a journey into their local arts venue and unlocks the arts for those who need to be inspired by them the most, raising children's self-esteem and confidence, and nurturing their communication skills. Through the work of Children and the Arts, children learn that cultural venues are welcoming, accessible places to visit and since 2006 Children & the Arts has introduced over 300,000 children to life-changing arts experiences.

RSC Education. Through its work with nearly 40,000 students annually across the UK and in 14 countries world-wide, RSC Education aims to make Shakespeare vivid, accessible and enjoyable for students and their teachers. RSC Education is leading a quiet revolution with teachers to shape and transform the way that young people experience Shakespeare. Our approach is rooted in 130 years of making theatre using our distinct range of skills and knowledge and adapting them for the classroom. RSC Education builds long-term relationships with schools, teachers and young people from right across the UK – particularly those who might not ordinarily experience our work.

For more information visit

Richard II ran from the 10 October – 16 November 2013 at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon before transferring to the Barbican Theatre in London from 9 December 2013 to 25 January 2013. The production was also broadcast live into cinemas in the UK and around the world on 13 November 2013, with additional broadcasts in the month of December. Further information from:


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