Year 8 students began a new Shakespeare unit in English, with a ‘Whoosh’ drama activity to introduce the plot and characters.
Whoosh is an engaging and interactive storytelling technique enabling any kind of story, simple or complex, to be brought to life, even without prior knowledge of the characters or plot.
As well as being the storyteller, Mrs Taylor had a guiding role similar to that of an orchestral conductor, with the girls sitting in a circle and then standing to play several characters, places and events at Mrs Taylor’s prompt. At any non-specific moment existing participants sat down immediately with other girls taking over their roles on Mrs Taylor’s command of “Whoosh”. Girls inter-changed roles at speed throughout the exercise whenever Mrs Taylor “Whooshed”.
It was the first time the class had attempted this activity, with the exercise helping the girls engage with Shakespeare. It allowed them to overcome any barriers or anxiety about tackling a challenging new task. Acting out Shakespearean text in modern English first helps students to go on and make Shakespeare accessible, relatable and fun; exactly as Shakespeare had intended for his original audiences.
The girls quickly engaged in the drama and clearly had a lot of fun, whilst getting a fundamental understanding of the text in no time at all.