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Shakespeare comes with a lot of baggage. Elitism. Middle-aged people going to matinees in otherwise unremarkable rural towns. Academia. An actor's dream role. In chatting with performers, Scott and I hear about women of colour being told they shouldn't bother auditioning for Shakespearean plays, because they will never get cast as the lead. At the same time, people love to talk about how Shakespeare's work is universal. Shakespeare's friend Ben Jonson, eulogising him in the First Folio (1623) said that "He was not of an age, but for all time." It's certain that stories of betrayal, corruption, and love are universal, but it seems like that universality applies more strongly to one group than others. When Shakespeare wrote, there may not have been words for homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, racism, ableism and the rest of the ways society creates and maintains oppression, but those things were very much built into the stories he told. We can't keep
Riotous Youth Shakespeare, like all good things, began as an accident. Scott Emerson Moyle had a decade of stage combat and other theatre experience on his resume before his brother unceremoniously dumped him in front of 20 fifteen-year-olds at the International School of Brussels. Scott found himself teaching an impromptu Shakespeare workshop that would become Riotous Youth Shakespeare. Six years later, we have big dreams of radically inclusive Shakespeare practice, bringing arts-workers into schools and students into the arts. Riotous Youth Shakespeare is a brand new theatrical organisation that seeks to provide active, inclusive and engaging lessons in Shakespeare where all students can find a place to thrive within in a cultural hallmark so steeped in elitism and centuries of casual oppression. I’m Coco, and in part I’ll be joining Riotous Youth Shakespeare, as its origins go way back. On the other hand, I’ll be building from scratch , with my partner Scott Emerson Moyl
We recently had the pleasure of visiting The Linden School, Toronto's premier independent feminist school. For more information about our days at Linden, check out our article Shaking Up Shakespeare , in their website newsletter, the Linden Voice. Grade 8s get to feel the heartbeat rhythm of iambic pentameter with a little bit of physical activity. No actors were harmed in the making of this photo!