The British Council is lending its support to The Tempest, a pilot project in Spain for children with autism from the Centro de Educación Especial Princesa Sofía and led by the British theatre company Flute Theatre, in association with La Joven-Compañía Nacional de Teatro Clásico and the Comunidad de Madrid.
The initiative will take place in the context of the Clásicos en Alcalá theatre festival (an innitiative run by the Comunidad de Madrid and the Alcalá de Henares City Council) and the Shakespeare Lives programme of activities through which we’re commemorating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.
The Tempest also forms part of our programmes to encourage child protection and to promote the inclusion of disabled people in the arts through projects such as the festival Capacitas run by the Performing Arts Observatory in Catalonia or the festival Una Mirada diferente in Madrid organised by the Centro Dramático Nacional.
What is The Tempest?
The Tempest will give actors and professionals from La Joven-Compañía Nacional de Teatro Clásico the chance to learn about Shakespeare's heartbeat, a methodology created by the Flute Theatre. Thanks to it, Kelly Hunter, its Artistic Director, develops works sessions for children with autism based on two principles:
1. The blank verse, included in Shakespeare’s works, has the same rhythm as the heart beat and allows the children to communicate their feelings while reinforcing their self-confidence.
2. The interaction amongst children and actors give those children who cannot express themselves in other ways the opportunity of exploring new imaginative worlds.
This pioneering methodology, which is currently being researched by the Ohio State University, received its first performance in 2014 in a co-production with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon (Shakespeare’s birthplace). It was featured a year later in the 2015 edition of the Bloomsbury Festival.