RSC Creative Writing Workshop at Stratford

RSC Creative Writing Workshop at Stratford

Well, that was fun!

Last week I led a creative writing workshop for adults at the Stratford Literary Festival called Is This a Dagger? It gave local writers an opportunity to be inspired by theatrical props, which were supplied by the Royal Shakespeare Company from their prop store in Stratford Upon Avon.

I loved choosing the pieces from the store. I selected armour, flags from Henry VI, a fedora and shoes from a 1990s staging of A Comedy of Errors (the shoes proved very popular) a donkey head from A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1989) a gorgeous elephant headdress from A Mouse and His Child (2012) and a very dusty blackbird in a cage, which proved the most inspirational prop of all. My contact as the RSC didn’t know which production it was from. She reckoned it had probably been used in several shows.

But the most exciting prop was the puppet (see top photo) I loved it as soon as I saw it; it felt like it had many tales to tell. It was only when I started Googling its provenance that I found out how special it was. It came from the famous 2007 Trevor Nunn directed production of King Lear which starred Ian McKellen. No wonder it was so battered – it had been taken on tour across America and Australia and back. McKellen actually held it at one point in the show, though it belonged to his Fool, Sylvester McCoy.

This is why I love working with the RSC. Everything is saturated in theatrical magic. You can feel it.

The workshop participants loved being able to handle the props and produced some great writing.

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