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All the world’s a stage when international development meets Shakespeare

28 October 2019

Photograph of children at Shakespeare's Globe workshop in China

The Open University’s Development Policy and Practice (DPP) group has contributed to a project led by Shakespeare’s Globe theatre to provide teacher development in China.

Shakespeare’s Globe has worked intensively with primary and middle schools in the city of Zhengzhou, Henan Province, to explore how creative approaches to teaching Shakespeare can enhance both teachers’ practice, and the intellectual skills and emotional development of their students.

The programme culminated in an ensemble public performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in March, and one-day conferences in Zhengzhou and in Beijing in July for teachers, academics and policy makers. 

The project, carried out in partnership with Henan Futures Research Foundation, was evaluated by Dr Li Yuxia, Associate Professor of English Language and Culture, on behalf of the Peking University Institute of World Theatre and Film.

Katelin Teller, a PhD researcher in organisational learning in social movements and Professor David Wield, both in DPP, were then asked by Georghia Ellinas, Head of Learning at Shakespeare’s Globe, to produce a report on the evaluation. 

Their report Shakespeare’s Globe Zhengzhou Programme: Connecting Cultures, Hearts and Minds - Evaluating the Evaluation provided an assessment and overview of the evaluation of the programme, and situated the programme and its evaluation within the broader context of Shakespeare’s Globe’s work in China.  

Katelin has extensive working experience in the arts and cultural sectors, where she has managed international programmes of activity for the British Council in China and the Middle East, and worked as Head International Projects at the Royal Opera House in London.

She said: “Dr. Li’s programme evaluation and our report are good examples of collaborations between a UK arts organisation and Chinese and British academia.

“There is so much interesting work being done by UK arts organisations and individual artists in an international development context, and there is a growing need for more serious evaluations of it.”

She added: “We can also see from this project that the context in China is changing. They are thinking differently about the curriculum in schools and becoming more focused on bringing out the creativity of individual students.  

"The Chinese ministries of education and culture are taking an interest in this kind of arts-related activity and the evaluation of that work.”

Photo: Shakespeare's Globe student workshop in Zhengzhou, China, October 2018

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