Short Courses for Adults

Mastering Shakespeare

Key Information
  • Suitable for

    Intermediate, ages 18+

  • Dates

    Mon 15 – Fri 19 July 2024

  • Tuition

    Full-time, 09:30 – 17:00

  • Location

    Downside Road, Bristol

  • Cost



Booking has now closed for this course for 2024. To be the first to find out about future short courses, please join our mailing list.

On the Mastering Shakespeare course, you will enhance your mastery over the nuances of classical text. The five days of the course will take you through the principal elements of performing Shakespeare’s text, including language, vocal techniques, character psychology, physicality and movement. You will also engage in hands-on scene work, applying the techniques learned to present individual monologues as well as ensemble scenes. The course culminates in a final showcase to demonstrate your skills.

Bristol Old Vic Theatre School offers a fun and nurturing environment in which to pursue your creative ambitions. The support and feedback available from your tutor will help you develop your natural talents and confidence in performance.

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ⓘ Book and save! Many of our short course students choose to book consecutive week-long courses to design their own unique summer programme. Book two acting courses for a 5% discount, three acting courses for a 10% discount, or all four acting courses for a 15% discount (saving £345). Find out more about Acting for Contemporary Theatre, Acting for Camera, and Acting for Motion Capture. Discounts are applied automatically at the checkout.

Key highlights

Day 1: Text analysis (Ali de Souza)

  • Explore Shakespeare’s language nuances, including metre and linguistic subtleties.
  • Dissect classical texts, examining language, structure, and themes.
  • Master textual patterns through practical exercises.
  • Develop techniques for authentic and compelling performances.

Day 2: Voice work for classical text (Carol Fairlamb)

  • Refine vocal techniques for classical text, focusing on resonance, projection, and clarity.
  • Explore voice’s role in conveying character depth and emotional nuances.
  • Practice tailored vocal exercises to enhance classical text delivery.

Day 3: Scene study (Carol Fairlamb and Ali de Souza)

  • Engage in intensive scene study, focusing on character dynamics and themes.
  • Receive guidance from course leaders on character development and interpretation.
  • Rehearse scenes with feedback, refining performances with peers.

Day 4: Scene refinement (Carol Fairlamb)

  • Continue scene work, refining characterizations and emotional depth.
  • Fine-tune vocal delivery to convey classical text subtleties.
  • Address challenges and incorporate directorial feedback.
  • Prepare scenes for the showcase, integrating discoveries and feedback.

Day 5: Showcase preparation and performance (Carol Fairlamb)

  • Final scene rehearsals.
  • Directorial feedback and guidance.
  • Showcase performance to peers, family and friends.
Headshot of Head of Voice

Your tutors

Carol Fairlamb

Carol trained at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and has taught at several drama schools including Central, Drama Centre, LAMDA, ALRA, Italia Conti, Oxford School of Speech and Drama and ArtsEd. Carol was the Head of Voice at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School between 2012 and 2023.

In 2007, she spent a year as Resident Voice Coach for Sydney Theatre Company working with Robyn Nevin and Cate Blanchett. She has worked on productions in London including Riflemind directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman and a season at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre with Tim Sheader.

Smiling headshot of Ali de Souza wearing glasses and a white shirt.

Ali de Souza

Ali joined Bristol Old Vic Theatre School as Director of Drama in spring 2023. He studied for an MA in Psychology at the University of Dundee before training as an actor at BOVTS, graduating in 1993. He also gained an MFA in Screen Practice and Directing at Queen Margaret University.

Ali has worked extensively as an actor and director in theatre and film for over thirty years with many companies including theatre babel, Brunton Theatre, Byre Theatre, Dundee Rep, Manchester Library, Perth Rep, TAG, Traverse and Visible Fictions.

He has a particular passion for Shakespeare, comedy, the Greeks, and acting for screen and radio. Prior to joining BOVTS, he was Associate Head of Acting at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Embrace your individuality. The School is looking for each artist’s nuances and seeks to nurture and strengthen them when you study here. Éloïse Richmond, MA Screen Acting Student