Events | Sundays: Jan 21, Jan 28, Feb 4 and Feb 11

Interpreting Shakespeare: The Roman Plays

As a writer who died 400 years ago William Shakespeare continues to have incredible impact on all forms of art, but he remains elusive and intimidating for some. This course, presented in partnership with Bard City, works to break down some of those barriers.

Through analysis and exercises over four sessions, RSC Director in Residence Owen Horsley will lead the class in a study of Shakespeare’s plays, writing, and life through a close examination of three Roman Plays. There will be even an opportunity to use some of his work to inspire your own.

This course is ideal for Shakespeare enthusiasts, directors, writers, education practitioners age 18+.

Update: this class is at capacity. Email if you would like to be added to the waitlist.


Fee: $99

Sunday, Jan 21, 9am-noon
Sunday, Jan 28, 9am-noon
Sunday, Feb 4, 9am-noon
Sunday, Feb 11, 9am-noon
*This is a 4-week workshop. Students must be available for all dates.


Shakespeare’s Verse: Finding the Clues

Sunday, Jan 21, 9am-noon

This first class introduces a physical approach to the rhythm of Shakespeare’s language and how we can begin to find the clues in the text. These clues give us direct ways to read and interpret Shakespeare’s characters, relationships, emotions and scenes. This approach will give you an active and concrete way to start reading the Verse and making interpretive choices.

Rhetoric: Political Language

Sunday, Jan 28, 9am-noon

By focusing on Shakespeare’s Roman plays we will encounter some of his most accomplished political speeches. In this class we will break down monologues from Julius Caesar, Titus Andronicus, and Antony and Cleopatra and study the ways in which Shakespeare skillfully using rhetoric to affect his audience. We will analyze, dissect and interrogate the character’s motivations, text, physicality and again play with different interpretive choices that allow these texts to come to life. Using what we learn from Shakespeare’s techniques, there will also be an opportunity in this class to work on our own piece of political writing.

The Space: Staging Shakespeare

Sunday, Feb 4, 9am-noon

One of the many challenges of Shakespeare is conquering the epic nature of his plays. He is at his most prolific in his Roman Plays presenting staging challenges such as wars, murders and crowd scenes. Creating the space for Shakespeare’s plays is very important in bringing his work to life. In this class we will explore the many theatrical possibilities of creating scale and bringing the epic to the small stage. Deploying techniques both literal and abstract we will take a Shakespeare staging challenge and together find ways to engage and experience the audience in the world.

Storytelling: How to begin?

Sunday, Feb 11, 9am-noon

Clarity is key for the audience in Shakespeare. If they can understand the situation and story they are more likely to engage and make sense of the language and the relationships. First, we need to discuss and discover the simple story we are beginning with and secondly, find ways in which to translate that for the audience. In this class we will look at the beginning of 3 plays (Julius Caesar, Titus Andronicus, and Antony and Cleopatra) and find practical ways for the audience to get a firm handle on events. This will be an exciting opportunity to work collaboratively on solving these problems and together launching into the world of a Shakespeare play.

About Instructor Owen Horsley

Owen trained at Drama Centre London. Directing credits include Salomé by Oscar Wilde (RSC), The Famous Victories of Henry V (RSC), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Garsington Opera), and Henry V (Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre).

Owen was Associate Director on the RSC King and Country Tour and worked with Artistic Director Gregory Doran on Richard II and Henry IV Part 1 and 2 and Henry V from 2013-16.

Owen is also an Associate Director for Cheek by Jowl. He was Assistant Director to Declan Donnellan on The Changeling (2006), Cymbeline (2007), Troilus and Cressida (2008), Macbeth (2009-11) and ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore (2011-13) becoming Associate Director in 2010. Owen co-directed the 2013 tour of ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore.

Other directing credits include The Two Noble Kinsmen (RWCMD), Outside on the Street (Edinburgh Fringe and Arcola), Antony and Cleopatra, Lysistrata, As You Like It (Guildhall School of Music and Drama), and Hungry Heart (RADA).

In 2008 Owen formed Eyestrings Theatre Company with his production of Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II at St Andrew’s Crypt in Holborn. Further work with Eyestrings include In Bed With Messalina (Courtyard Theatre), See What I See (St Clements Mental Hospital), and The Duchess of Malfi (Southwark Playhouse and UK Tour).

Owen also works extensively in Europe. He has led workshops in Spain, Italy, Luxembourg and France. Owen’s first Spanish production, The Malcontent, opened at the Almagro Festival in August 2011 before transferring to Madrid.