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Friday, 26 July, 2002, 15:14 GMT 16:14 UK
Big Brother helps with Shakespeare
Big Brother
Big Brother is showing the way for Shakespeare
Big Brother can help children to understand the plays of William Shakespeare, says an education lecturer.

Eric Hadley, who lectures student teachers at the University of Wales Institute, has used the television show as a way of exploring Twelfth Night.

Mr Hadley has been running Shakespeare workshops for 11-year-olds - and has used Big Brother as a way of making the ideas of Twelfth Night more accessible.

Twelfth Night
Twelfth Night, like Big Brother, is about intrigue and plotting

The pompous Malvolio, humiliated in the course of the play, becomes the "Nasty Nick" character from an earlier version of Big Brother.

And he says that Twelfth Night, like Big Brother, is all about people in a house arguing and coupling and conniving.

"Few of the children taking part will have been inside a theatre," he says.

"But they are very adept at understanding the theatrical conventions that they see on television."

Villains and heroes

"People often overlook the theatricality of a programme like Big Brother."

And he wants to use this fluency in understanding television to help children find a way into Shakespeare.

"What's the difference between a soliloquy and stand-up? They both have someone addressing the audience directly."

And he thinks that the household's larger than life personalities - whether it is villains or comic heroines - help people understand the idea of character.

He is also keen to encourage a sense of participation, which is part of the popularity of Big Brother.

When Shakespeare's plays were originally performed, he says that there would have been a much greater sense of audience involvement.

"Shakespeare was very much part of the popular arts of his time," says Mr Hadley.

And he has previously used the idea of the Jerry Springer Show as a way of presenting the Tempest.

See also:

18 Jun 02 | Entertainment
24 May 02 | Entertainment
24 May 02 | Entertainment
18 Jun 02 | Education
26 Jul 02 | Entertainment
19 Jun 02 | Education
Links to more Education stories are at the foot of the page.


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