Meet Sarah Fisher, our Primary and Informal Learning Partnerships Officer
What is your job title?
Primary and Informal Learning Partnerships Officer
What kind of things does your job typically entail?
My job is varied and no two days are the same. I go from planning a programme of activities for Shakespeare Week in Stratford, to recruiting and liaising with partners in the Shakespeare Hubs, to testing out weird and wonderful activities for our family programme. When your kitchen table is filled with flower crowns, pomanders and resources for a ‘Make a staff for Prospero’ activity …you know you’re an Education Officer! Throughout all of this work the aim is the same, to find innovative, creative ways to engage young people with Shakespeare.
Why do you think learning about Shakespeare and his work is important to us today?
Because Shakespeare is a cultural icon and arguably the world’s greatest storyteller! I find it incredible that plays written over 400 years ago still resonate so strongly with modern audiences due to their universal themes, complex characters and timeless plots. The children we work with are amazed by the fact that Shakespeare coined many common expressions still in use today. Having been translated into over 100 different languages, Shakespeare gives us the opportunity to connect with people from across the globe.
What is your favourite Shakespeare related experience- at SBT or elsewhere?
Having been at SBT for 9 years, I’ve clocked up quite a few WOW moments! From three year olds being caught up in the magic of Dream, excitedly clutching imaginary, magical flowers to show their parents; to young people performing or exhibiting their work in aspirational venues alongside professional artists. A recent stand out moment was during a workshop with refugees and migrants The participants were able to share their experiences of the plays in their home countries and establish a genuine connection through Shakespeare, wherever in the world they were from.
What are the challenges, do you think, in bringing Shakespeare to life for contemporary audiences?
Shakespeare can be seen as elitist and some feel that the language barrier is too difficult to overcome. Many of the teachers and parents of the children we work with have had awful experiences of being taught Shakespeare in school, where they were asked to read round the text in class with very little effort being made to unpick meaning and zero opportunity for practical work! Luckily, there is lots we can do to help with this and we feel starting young is key.
Finally- what is your favourite joke? Doesn’t have to be Shakespearean…
This morning was plays. Next it’s poetry.
Things are going from Bard to Verse!