What Country, Friends, Is This?: Directing Shakespeare with Young Performers


ISBN: 9781848428034
Author: By Max Hafler
Publication Date: 5/08/2021
Publisher: Nick Hern Books
Extent: 336pp.
Availability: Available


A highly practical, comprehensive guide to exploring Shakespeare with young people – ideal for directors, youth theatre leaders, workshop facilitators and teachers.

Experienced teacher, actor and director Max Hafler tackles the myths that Shakespeare’s work is like a foreign country, not for the faint-hearted, or only for a privileged few. In this book, he shows how you can embrace the challenges of doing Shakespeare with young people, and make the plays accessible and exciting for all.

Beginning with a series of workshops that introduce the skills and principles of voice and acting, he sets out, step by step, how to use devising, develop short scenes, explore soliloquies, and unlock the themes, characters, stories and language of the plays.

The holistic approach includes dozens of exercises – many inspired by Michael Chekhov’s innovative technique – which will help young actors explore their voice, imagination and body, and lead to performances that are richer, focused and more fulfilling.

There is also useful advice on preparing for a production, editing and transposing the text, rehearsing scenes, and fostering an ensemble. Above all, this book will equip you to engage and empower young people, and to help them discover for themselves the joy of working with Shakespeare.

Praise for Max Hafler’s Teaching Voice: Workshops for Young Performers:

‘A useful book for teachers, youth theatre leaders, facilitators and indeed anyone who works with young people… plenty of exercises, warm-ups and advice about how to use the techniques in the rehearsal room’ The Stage

‘Through years of experience, Hafler has developed a great understanding of what can work with teenagers and shares it generously with those who work in the field’ Word Matters (Journal of the Society of Teachers of Speech and Drama)

‘It is clear that the original, imaginative and fun exercises that are found within this book have been thoughtfully put together by someone who has a wealth of experience in his field and that each session has been successfully tried and tested with his own students’ Drama Magazine

‘A must-own… full of exercises and advice to explore’ Teaching Drama

‘There are some real nuggets of good practice here… the book is laid out clearly, making it easy to find ideas and techniques that are well explained… It is very clear that Max Hafler knows his stuff and he writes with a confidence that makes the reader feel that these ideas are worth trying’
Drama & Theatre Magazine

‘This book makes you want to get up and do what it describes while you are reading it… it’s suitable for session leaders who haven’t tackled this kind of work before, but there is plenty of useful information and advice for more experienced teachers and directors as well… I will certainly be going back to it’
British Theatre Guide

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