Following the National Theatre’s release of Twelfth Night, the Drama Department hosted a zoom webinar with director Simon Godwin in the US, and fifty plus Drama & Theatre students from years 10-13 from Dulwich and JAGS. Dr Spence, Peter Jolly and Kathryn Norton-Smith steered discussion leaving plenty of time for well-curated questions from students. Currently Artistic Director of the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington DC, Godwin provided brilliant insight into the NT production, approaches to staging and playing Shakespeare and indeed other classical texts, the challenges of lockdown and potential scope for remote artistic opportunity, along with tips for embarking on a career in the industry.
Most potently he argued for Shakespeare as a populist playwright and the importance of reflecting the mass appeal of his work in playing to diverse contemporary audiences. He has made innovative decisions such as setting Hamlet in Africa in the recent RSC production currently available digitally in BBCiPlayer, and famously casting Tamsin Greig as Malvolia in his Twelfth Night. He believes staging Shakespeare’s plays must reflect all backgrounds, all colours and all genders which gives unlimited scope for new voices and new energies in his plays. He left us all invigorated and unified, not just by a shared sense of community but with optimism and hope that we would all soon be back in the rehearsal room with renewed invention and creativity.