storytelling and shakespeare

Michael Harvey storyteller - shakespeare workshop

storytelling & Shakespeare

From Shakespeare to Storytelling and back with Paola Balbi and Michael Harvey

An intensive workshop taking the bard’s sources and plays and re-oralizing them for a storytelling audience.  We will be working with Shakespeare’s texts, the stories that inspired him and a dynamic storytelling performance style. The workshop can run from between one and three days.

Shakespeare is probably the best known name in the history of world theatre however his plays are often viewed as daunting and difficult to approach. We will be looking at how we can confidently inhabit Shakespeare’s blank verse as well as returning to the stories that inspired him and his contemporaries - a vast inheritance of  Classical Greek and Roman stories, the native folklore of the British Isles as well as popular European medieval and renaissance texts and religious narrative and symbolism.

Depending on the length of the course we will be looking at

  • physical and vocal preparation
  • the background to Shakespeare’s sources
  • inhabiting the Shakespearean world
  • working with different rhythms, elements and energies
  • the use of spatial relationship
  • the use of the stage space
  • live music
  • solo, pair and small group performance

This workshop has grown out of Paola and Michael’s experience of creating the show Angerona, a retelling of Shakespeare’s long poem The Rape of Lucrece which has been performed in festivals in the UK, Italy and the Far East.

Michael  and Paola are leaders in the European storytelling movement and are spearheading experimentation of Shakespeare into storytelling.

Paola is the co-director of the storytelling production company Raccontamiunaistoria which produces and tours storytelling performances and runs festivals and training in Italy and internationally. Paola is a classically trained Shakespearean actor and teaches both storytelling and Shakespearean performance at the Link University in Rome.

Michael is a familiar face on the UK storytelling scene. He is the recipient of a number of awards and commissions, tours widely with the shows Hunting the Giant’s Daughter and Dreaming the Night Field with the production company Adverse Camber and worked with the Labo experimantal storytelling group based in La Maison du Conte in Paris. He has a core repertoire of Welsh and Celtic material and is increasing demand internationally for performances and workshops.

The depth of experience from the combination of both of you gave a rich and informative experience... I had such a steep learning curve from zero experience to taking storyteller toddler steps... After the summer school, to my astonishment, I made a public debut performance at the festival storyteller cafe, terrified though I was... Heaps of support encouragement helped... A rich experience...exercises that fast tracked me past my high anxiety to a confident performer’s place.
— Participant feedback