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