Theatre Performance Video Collection: K-12 Schools | Alexander Street
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Theatre Performance Video Collection: K-12 Schools

Available for K-12 schools,* Theatre Performance Video Collection raises the curtain for students to experience world-class theatrical video performances of plays and literary works courtesy of the U.K.’s National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). From the classics of Shakespeare, Arthur Miller, Jane Austen and Mary Shelley to contemporary plays and interpretations, this collection showcases a variety of performances from exemplary actors and directors such as Helen McCrory, Adetomiwa Edun, Simon Russell Beale, and Maggie Smith. This essential theatre video collection features the most-studied plays and literary works to spark engaging discussions and projects for students and is a must-have for schools with theatre, drama, performing arts, and literature classes.

*This collection is only available for primary and secondary schools globally. It is not available for state-funded UK schools. 

Available for K-12 schools, Theatre Performance Video Collection features contemporary interpretations of the classics including Paapa Essiedu’s performance as the first Black actor to play Hamlet at the RSC as well as National Theatre’s modern-day setting of Twelfth Night. Supplementary materials offer insight and context to the performances such as costume designs and scripts from the National Theatre, teacher packs from the Royal Shakespeare Company, and videos from the BBC where actors and directors discuss their craft. 

Content Highlights

Bring texts to life through unlimited simultaneous use of streaming video to aid the analysis of performances, play texts, and literary works. This collection features:

  • Commonly studied plays and literary works in high school English and Theatre classes:
    • Over 35 Shakespearean productions such as Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, and The Tempest featuring actors at the top of their craft.
    • Literary classics including David Copperfield, Frankenstein, Great Expectations, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, Jane Eyre, Oliver Twist, and Pride and Prejudice.
    • Recent productions from the National Theatre including Small Island, Consent, and Translations with themes to prompt discussion on social issues.
  • Supplementary documents that support teaching and learning:
    • Exclusive archival materials from the National Theatre Archive that provides valuable insight into the creative, technical, and administrative process that goes into every performance.
    • Rehearsal Insights from the National Theatre introduce the process of creating, rehearsing, and staging a play. 
    • Teaching Packs and production stills from the Royal Shakespeare Company offer an in-depth look at the making of the production, guide instructors through each story, and provide activities that encourage active learning.  

*This collection is only available for primary and secondary schools globally. It is not available for state-funded UK schools.

National Theatre Collection, Volume I

National Theatre Collection, Volume I brings the stage to life through access to 30 high definition streaming videos and unique archival material. Drawing on 10 years of National Theatre Live broadcasts as well as recordings never previously seen outside of the National Theatre’s archive, the video content includes 30 video performances. As a supplement to the filmed productions, exclusive digitized archival materials such as prompt scripts, costume bibles, and costume designs, are available to provide behind-the-scenes background and contextual information. 

“Nothing can replace the experience of seeing work live – but sharing these recordings of so many important NT Live productions will give schools an amazing insight into the world of contemporary production. It isn’t possible for everyone to travel to see work – but watching recordings can encourage and facilitate conversation and share the work nationwide. You can take your time; watch in short sections and share thoughts in the moment. These recordings will create a unique and rich teaching tool – and in a world where funding and support for teaching Drama in schools is being constantly undermined – creating ways for teachers and pupils alike to access this work is more vital than ever.”--Paule ConstableLighting Designer 


The Royal Shakespeare Company Collection

The Royal Shakespeare Company Collection offers 25 high-definition recordings of The Bard’s dramatic canon, featuring the world’s best Shakespearean actors and directors, along with supplemental teaching materials to help students engage more deeply with the material and enhance the overall learning experience. 

High-quality Shakespeare productions are always in demand. With TheRoyal Shakespeare Company Collection, your library can offer high-definition, surround-sound recordings of modern productions featuring the world’s best Shakespearean actors, like David Tennant, Sir Antony Sher, Paapa Essiedu, and Simon Russell Beale, and directors like Robin Lough and Dewi Humphrey. Recordings are accompanied by production images, teacher packs, and study notes to enhance student understanding of these important plays. 

We are delighted to announce this ambitious collaboration. The RSC is committed to giving as many people as possible the chance to see and experience our work. This new streaming partnership provides a cost-effective way for schools and universities to access high-quality cultural experiences.--Jacqui O’HanlonDirector of RSC Education 


BBC Literary Adaptations in Video

BBC Literary Adaptations in Video contains nearly 200 hours of video that feature a treasure trove of BBC productions of more than 50 famous literary works, many that were buried in the BBC archive for the past few decades. From Dickens to Shakespeare, from Chekhov to Arthur Miller, from Jane Austen to Mary Shelley, a great breadth of works is included. Talent like Mark Rylance, Yoko Ono, John Gielgud, Sir Ian McKellen, Colin Firth, and more make this product a must-have for theatre, drama, performing arts, and literature courses. In addition to actual performances, the product includes titles like Face to Face and Performance where actors and directors discuss their craft. Ideal for use in Drama, Performing Arts departments to analyze their craft or specific performances, and English/Literature departments to support the teaching of literary works. 

Teaching and Learning

This collection aids the teaching and learning of theatre and drama in schools with a variety of content and tools. Here are a few ideas on how to use the collection in instruction: 

  • Bookmark specific scenes, monologues, and staging examples and embed in learning management systems to aid in distance learning.
  • Have students compare multiple productions of plays to demonstrate to students the effect of actors and directors on the performance, stagecraft, costume design and other aspects of theatrical production.
  • Showcase BBC interviews with performers alongside excerpts of live performances to deepen understanding of the craft of directing.
  • Have students view Rehearsal Insights from the National Theatre to aid their analysis of a play and to inform their own insights.

Images courtesy of the U.K.'s National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, and BBC Studios