Shakespeare In and Beyond the Ghetto

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The Creative Workshops

The Creative Workshops 'translate' the Ghetto and Shakespeare into multiple media for multiple audiences. Established artists and scholars conduct workshops with emerging artists recruited across Europe and with diverse audiences. The aim is to train professionals and create original works inspired by the Ghetto and The Merchant of Venice.

Masks of Shylock Casting Workshop
Venice, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, 14-18 November 2016 Targoviste, Tony Bulandra Theatre, 17-26 January 2017

Masks of Shylock Casting Workshop

This workshop, taught by actor and director Michele Modesto Casarin, focuses on the mask as an expressive tool, analyzing and exploring its movement in space as part of the crucial task of improvisation, and its ability to speak across languages. Topics include movement, stylization, and mask-use in Commedia dell’arte’s standard plots (canovacci). Parallels are drawn between stories and characters of Commedia dell’arte and Shakespearean drama, with particular focus on The Merchant of Venice. Commedia dell’arte’s techniques releases the performers’ expressive force and transmits the basic “tools” for effective improvisation. The specific goal is to work with nationally, culturally, and linguistically mixed actors. The workshops were held in Venice (Shylock after Shylock – Shakespeare’s Masks) and traditions.



Shakespeare for Children and Young Adults
Warwick, 10-11 February 2017

Hard Words for Children - Shakespeare workshop WarwickThe Merchant of Venice broaches complex issues such as interfaith marriage, ethnicity, parent/child relations and racism, as well as “extreme” feelings like jealousy, envy, and greed. Can a children's version be created without oversimplifying or neutralizing its disturbing implications? Can it be put on its feet in the classroom? How can teachers develop practical work that honours Shakespeare while exploring this play's 'hard words'? What part might translation play? These questions were addressed in a workshop particularly relevant to primary and secondary teachers of English and Drama and connected to the symposium “Hard Words for Children: Shakespeare, Translation, and The Merchant of Venice. We consider 'translation' in its broadest meanings: language to language, medium to medium, text into performance, play into graphic novel, early modern 'Shakespeare' into post-modern demotic.

Discover more about the workshop by visiting Warwick's website here. 

Digital Shakespeare 
Venice, March 2017

Digital Shakespeare WorkshopCa'Foscari expert Monica Banzato led a workshop on Shakespeare and Digital Storytelling. This educational method allows both significant promulgation of digital literacy and development of strategic skills for modern training. Innovative learning experiences are supported and extended by the application of user-contributed content Web 2.0 technologies, empowering teachers to communicate and integrate technologies into the curriculum. The output is a short video containing music, pictures, drawings and a voice track, made available as an Open Educational Resource.

Shakespeare in Multicultural Education
Venice, March 2017

Shakespeare in Multicultural Education

Ca'Foscari expert Monica Banzato will lead a workshop on Digital Storytelling, addressed to primary schools with more than 50% international migrants pupils with differing language and cultural traditions. The workshop aims to share European cultural heritage with inclusive linguistic and digital materials. The project provides a preparatory stage: a) a DS instructional design of The Merchant of Venice adapted for primary schools; b) preparation of materials and equipment for the construction of theatre and characters, and for the DS video to be devised in the school. The phases of production to be carried out in the school are: a) theatrical representation designed by the students with the guidance of experts; b) video-photographic digital workshop in collaboration with teachers; c) the implementation of the DS product. The students’ videos will be shared online.

Rewriting Shakespeare 
Munich, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, 20 May 2017

Rewriting Shakespeare

Award-winning British author Howard Jacobson leads a creative workshop centred on rewriting The Merchant of Venice for contemporary audiences, discussing with students and teachers 21st-century legacies of Shakespeare’s Shylock. Jacobson’s novel Shylock is My Name masterfully adapts Shakespeare's plot to present-day England. Drawing on his past experience in the Ghetto of Venice he reflects on his work and the contemporary relevance of the play.

Discover more about the workshop here.

The Music of the Merchant
Venice, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, 24-30 July 2017

This workshop by Ensemble Lucidarium explores the mosaic of repertoires that would have made up the ‘soundscape’ of 17th-century Venice, inside the Ghetto and beyond its gates: Mascherate and dances linked to the Commedia dell’arte and carnival; Jewish songs in Yiddish, Hebrew, Italian and Spanish from 16th century sources; traditional, orally transmitted Italian Jewish liturgy, paraliturgy and piyyutim (sung Hebrew poems).

It offers a unique opportunity to perform Venetian music while living in the city itself, experiencing first-hand the places and spaces that shaped the Serenissima’s musical culture. Participants will work intensively to put together a programme of music that people would have enjoyed at home or while celebrating, with special emphasis on the music of the Ghetto. The course is aimed at singers and instrumentalists interested in Renaissance and/or Jewish music.

Additional information can be found on the Fondazione Giorgio Cini website, here. 

Or visit the Ensemble Lucidarium website here. 

Mask-Making Workshop 
Targoviste, Tony Bulandra Theatre, October 2017 

This workshop draws on the history of Commedia dell’arte and the distinctive features of the character’s human and animal morphology. Participants will utlise the skills, tools and techniques of working with wood and leather. The workshop will develop into a performance at the Tony Bulandra Theatre season. The idea is to modernize Shakespeare, updating the language, the set design and the costumes, crossing linguistic and cultural barriers through the complex word of Masks.


Puppetry Workshop
London, Queen Mary University of London, November 2017

Puppetry WorkshopPuppeteer and artist Bruno Mastan (Bruno Joseph d’Alfonce de St. Omer) and the visual artist Lena Vieru-Conta facilitate a creative puppet workshop based on the historical dialogue between the documented truth of the Venetian Ghetto and our present perceptions. With the technical assistance of Calin Sabac, the project combines video projections, paintings, collages and animation theatre performances to explore collective memory.




Shakespeare at the Opera
Venice, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, April 2018

Shakespeare at the Opera WorkshopFondazione Giorgio Cini offers a creative workshop on Shakespeare and Melodrama.  Directors, musicologists, and playwrights will analyze the relationship and contexts of Shakespeare and Opera, including The Merchant of Venice, Othello, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and other titles that have inspired librettists and musicians from early 18th century to the present. The workshop will focus on the meeting of Shakespeare’s plays and Opera, and how these once very popular phenomena, turned elite, can be made accessible to new and diverse audiences again.




Managing Theatre across Borders
Venice, Ca'Foscari University, April 2018

Managing TheatreAcross BordersEach partner has a strong presence in the organization of cultural and theatrical events. Under the supervision of Ca'Foscari, representatives from partner institutions will engage students and theatre professionals on the challenges of managing cultural and theatrical activities in the partner countries, from a trans-national, European perspective. The workshop is focussed on the present project and its preliminary achievements, and also extends to the various experiences of the participants.

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