Shakespeare in Yemen [Archives:1997/52/Culture]

December 29 1997

Nadwa Younis, Yemen Times
During the 4-16 December 97, the British Council’s Teaching Center organized a workshop on Shakespeare. It was organized by Mr. Brendan Mc. Sharry who helped make the workshop a success by making many facilities available in terms of place and money, and by Katherine Potter, who is responsible for the cultural activities of the British Council. The arrangements for the workshop were undertook by Rebecca Adlard and Tom Ottway who came, for the first time, from the United Kingdom representing the Intransit Theater Company. Their presentations centered on the relevance and methodology of teaching Shakespeare to non-native speakers of English. “We want to bring Shakespeare off the stage so people could really understand him,” said Tom. Twenty 4th year students from the department of English Literature at Sana’a University as well as 5 students from Sana’a International School were there on behalf of their classmates to participate in the workshop. At the first day of the workshop, Tom and Rebecca represented the life and works of William Shakespeare with a very simple acting performance so that the students could find themselves in the Shakespearean world. They had the students all indulged in some acting performance. The second day was about Shakespeare’s comedies, especially his drama “As you like it.” There were serious discussions about Shakespeare’s philosophizing of life through his dramas, and students now show a good sense of understanding Shakespeare. The third and last day was an outlook over Shakespeare’s tragedy of “Macbeth.” The students had a great opportunity to practice acting. They tried to present real scenes and embody actual characters, and even the whole drama, with simple acting performances through symbols, sounds and movements. Katherine Potter said, “I am keen to work and organize projects which explore British and Yemeni cultures in regards to links between the two countries.” “Since we’ve been here, we found a big response to everything we’ve done, a really good response. Indeed, being in Yemen is where we could experience a lot of new things; a different culture and a different way of life,” Said Rebecca Adlard. About their interest in coming back to Yemen, said Tom “It will be definitely very interesting to come back. Things can be done here and the workshops we are doing will be a lovely experience to come and do.” On the other hand, students of Sana’a University found that it is a chance to deliver a special thanks to Dr. Abdulrahman Abd-Rabu who encouraged them to participate in the workshop which they liked and enjoyed. In addition, the British Council organized an exhibition on Shakespeare during the period between 7-23 of December 1997 and the Intransit Theater Company will also hold another workshop for students at the English Department of Aden University.