Workshops for Teachers: Multimedia Shakespeare (Othello in Black and White)


16:30 - 17:30

Image - Workshops for Teachers: Multimedia Shakespeare (Othello in Black and White)

How do you bring diverse voices into the A level English classroom? How can you work within the requirements of the National Curriculum to decolonise your teaching?

Roehampton’s English and Creative Writing academics have devised a series of 60-minute professional development workshops for teachers of KS4 and KS5 English.

Drawing on our own work ongoing work to expand the diversity of voices represented within our undergraduate curriculum, these interactive sessions will be delivered by a specialist in the field and are a fantastic way to explore ideas for adding variety to your own teaching.

Sessions focus on particular set texts as examples, but provide material suitable for teaching a range of A-Level set texts, so there is something for everyone in each session.

This session's topic will be on Multimedia Shakespeare (Othello in Black and White)

Shakespeare’s plays are strikingly modern in their depiction of complex black characters, exploring contemporary issues around language, race, culture, assimilation and the social construction of identity. This session begins by thinking about Othello’s blackness as constructed on the early modern stage – a theatrical illusion created by dye, wigs, fabric, and costume. But it also looks at the constructedness of white identity, which is often hidden from view, but was equally ‘put on’ in Shakespeare’s time. We will trace the history of white and black actors playing Othello on stage, including the controversy around modern colour-blind casting. We will also explore adaptations into other media, such as film, and discuss classroom exercises to make Shakespeare accessible to students. These exercises include emphasising the importance of language and rhythm by comparing Shakespeare with hip-hop, ‘hotseating’, where a student pretends to be a character and is interviewed by other students, and the production of stagings, readings and performances of key scenes to bring out the themes in the discussion.