Student Wellbeing: New and Established Services Update

group of people supporting each other
Even if we are physically isolated, we can still be there for each other. #WeAreYSJ

We’ve had an update from the Wellbeing team about the support available for you

The Wellbeing team have created a new service which allows them to meet with students on Teams, over the phone and via chats. Students can contact the Wellbeing Service via the wellbeing email wellbeing@yorksj.ac.uk or by filling in a simple form on the web.   

We have also introduced the UniWellBeing App which provides students with self help and advice.  

A 24/7 service, CareFirst is also available to students which is a confidential service providing information, advice and support on both emotional and practical issues. Counsellors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If students are in isolation, students can get support and there is a Moodle site dedicated to supporting students in isolation: https://moodle.yorksj.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=24189  

Please share this information widely among our YSJ student community.

See our previous post on wellbeing and welfare services here for further information about established services.

The Show Must Go ONLINE: An Interview with Rob Myles on Modern Day Theatre’s Perseverance Through a Global Pandemic, by Emma Brimelow

We went into the first lockdown the week that our Shakespeare: Perspectives students were due to go on their trip to see The Taming of the Shrew, and, as happened in Shakespeare’s times, the theatres closed, and many people found their livelihoods in jeopardy. Emma Brimelow reflects on the resilience of the theatre community during this pandemic, interviewing Robert Myles, who set the standard for Zoom Shakespeare with his The Show Must Go Online project. As her blog post reveals, innovation and creativity did not come to an end, and she got to review a unique production after all.

Emma Brimelow 

What a lot of people hoped would be ‘the best year of their lives’ has slowly turned into one for the books, and sadly not in the way we had hoped. Covid-19 arrived in late January for the UK, and no later than two months after this around a third of the world has been put into some form of lockdown, Great Britain being no exception. On the 23rd of March, Boris Johnson announced everyone who isn’t an essential worker must stay inside and isolate, and many businesses are currently suffering due to forced closure, the theatre being one of them. In the past I’ve enjoyed watching numerous productions, my last being Dick Whittington and His Cat at Romiley Forum, and so I found myself missing the theatre experience. Luckily, Robert Myles has a solution for those of us who are missing out!

Created in less than a week in response to covid-19, ‘The Show Must Go Online’ was thefirst platform to produce Shakespeare for an online audience using online actors. Created on zoom and streamed on YouTube, TSMGO has been named “the most prolific creator of online theatre” by various academics (Medium, 2020), and after watching their production of The Taming of The Shrew it’s clear to see why. The shows stay true to theZoom shakespeare nature of theatre, including adding intervals, pre- and post-show discussions and adding virtual applause to the Zoom productions on YouTube. The quick response to the pandemic amazed me, with the first show airing the first week of the official lockdown, however I was lucky enough to get in contact with Rob Myles, who shared an exclusive insight into the process of creating TSMGO so fast.

Rob stated that the idea came to him pre-lockdown and was simply an idea until his initial tweet about creating the platform blew up.  The first show The Two Gentlemen of Verona aired just six days after that tweet was made, and since then to this day eight more shows have been broadcasted. Rob stated, “We were able to move so quickly because myself and my producing partner Sarah Peachey both work in innovation when we’re not working in the arts, where fast deadlines and online conferencing are both commonplace,” meaning that he was surrounded by a strong support network to get TSMGO going as quick as possible. However, he also told me that “it would have been nothing without the response from actors and theatre makers” which he claims are still reaching out to him today about appearing in future productions. Rob has helped over 150 currently unemployed actors from all over the world, allowing countries to come together and rejoice in such difficult times.

Before I saw any of the live shows, I admit I was sceptical.  I’ve seen a couple of Shakespeare productions, including more recently Macbeth at The Royal Exchange Theatre, and wondered how a play would function without the scenery and the costumes, and even more important…the interaction between characters. After watching TSMGO’s rendition of The Taming of the Shrew, I was surprised to see just how well the production flowed. The core of the success of the plays are the actors, who week by week learn a new script off by heart in less than six days, yet still manage to perform with such fluency and enthusiasm!

In the productions, the actors try their hardest to DIY costumes and props, some even including their dogs in the readings! In the reading of The Taming of The Shrew, I particularly enjoyed the couple of stunt doubles (who were isolating together) performing the fight between Katherina and Petruchio. It was staged extremely well and brought an aspect of humour to the reading. To put it simply, Rob Myles and his cast are doing all they can to make the best out of a bad situation.

The first production, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, brought in nearly 35,000 views (Ludmon, 2020) and Rob tells me that “thankfully the interest remains just as strong.” They are currently working through every Shakespeare play in chronological order and anticipate that they should make it through every one of his works by late November. You can support Rob and his team of actors through their patreon, which I have linked below and become a theatre patron yourself:

https://www.patreon.com/TheShowMustGoOnline

Update: The Show Must Go Online are still going strong! Check out their latest production Cymbeline. All their productions are available online on YouTube.

Check out The Taming of The Shrew for yourself here:

And Estella Green’s review for us here.

Works cited:

Broadribb, Ben. Shakespearean Parody In Lockdown: The Show Must Go Online Presents William Shakespeare’s Star Wars. Medium.  

Ludmon, Mark. The Show Must Go Online- Shakespeare’s Plays Read Live Online. British Theate.com. 30th March 2020.  

Myles, Rob. Personal Correspondence via Email. 9th May 2020. Used with permission.

Myles, Robert. “THE SHOW MUST GO ONLINE” 2020

Wellbeing at YSJ

Students walking on campusWe sometimes hear of ‘wellness’ or ‘wellbeing’ spoken of as some kind of new-fangled concept, but actually, the idea of being mindful of our mental and emotional well-being, as well as our physical health, goes right back to the sixteenth century, and was first used in the English language by Thomas Hoby in his translation of Castiglione’s The Courtier. And in these new and unusual times we find ourselves in, it is more important than ever to look out for and to look after ourselves and our peers. 

I’m really happy to have been asked to lead on promoting wellbeing in our department, initially through a series of blog posts. Over the years, I’ve personally benefitted from the input and support of wellbeing professionals, and the best advice I can think of to give to you is not to wait until a crisis to seek guidance. Of course, if you are already in crisis, it is not too late, either.

So in this first post, I will do two things. I will point you in the direction of York St John University’s own wellbeing and welfare services and opportunities, and I am also asking you to email me with your well-being tips, your queries, the resources you have found helpful, or even your pitches for your own well-being blog posts. These can all cover a range of topics, from Covid 19, to LGBT, Disability, or BAME experiences, to mental health in general, and I hope to get more suggestions from you yourselves. This blog is your space, reflecting your community and your experiences. Email: s.vickerswalkling@yorksj.ac.uk and put Wellbeing in the subject line.

Our lovely wellbeing and welfare team have been working hard all summer to ensure that one to one chatthey can continue to support you safely during this pandemic. Check out their welcome video here. You can also book to have 1 – 1 online wellbeing chats or welfare chats. A wellbeing chat gives you a chance to talk about any mental wellbeing concerns you have. A welfare chat is an opportunity for you to talk about challenges you are facing.

Crisis information is highlighted at the top of the webpage, but if you scroll down you will find further information about Mindfulness sessions, about the YSJ well-being app, and about Together All, our 24/7 online support community, including professional support.

So as you can see, we’ve got lots to offer you. There is also chaplaincy support available. The chaplaincy team are there for people of all faiths and none.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you with your ideas.

Wishing you all the very best this semester, Saffron.

Dr Saffron Vickers Walkling, Senior Lecturer in English Literature. 

Departmental role: Wellbeing.

 

Pride Month Sapphic Media Recommendations by Lucy Pettigrew

We kick off Pride Month with a great reading list with recommendations by Lucy Pettigrew. Do you have a Pride Month list you would like to share with us? If so, send it in.

In a world where sapphics (women who love women, named after the Ancient Greek poet Sappho) are still brushed under the carpet, I always find it difficult to find new media that discusses wlw relationships and feelings. So, I thought I’d compile my own short list of sapphic books, poetry, films and songs to encourage the consumption of more wlw media. Continue reading “Pride Month Sapphic Media Recommendations by Lucy Pettigrew”

Literature in Lockdown: Zooming Through The Taming of the Shrew (Estela Green)

Literature in Lockdown is a special blog series in which our students share what they’re doing whilst face-to-face teaching is suspended at YSJU. In our latest post, Shakespeare: Perspectives student Estela Green shares her review of The Show Must Go Online’s Zoom production of The Taming of the Shrew. She watched this in lieu of our cancelled trip due to the closure of theatres back in March. There are silver linings after all. 

(The Show Must Go Online Taming of the Shrew is available for free on YouTube here. Donations also welcome.)

Screenshot from: “The Show Must Go Online: The Taming Of The Shrew.” YouTube, streamed live by Rob Myles, 26 Mar. 2020

Continue reading “Literature in Lockdown: Zooming Through The Taming of the Shrew (Estela Green)”

Autism Awareness at YSJU creative writing event TONIGHT

Today, on Thursday the 12th at 6.00 in HG 101 there will be a creative writing evening themed around Autism Awareness to help generate ideas for the next Autism Awareness Day on the 4th of April, 2020 – please come along and get involved.

The following week on Thursday the 19th at 6.00 in HG 101 there will be a more general evening for queries and questions about the event and any ideas people want to discuss for it.

People can submit their work to autismsuccesspathway@yorksj.ac.uk. 

When the booklet is made they will receive a electronic copy.

Could people only submit either pdfs or word documents. 

Thank you!

 Eleanor Worthington Prize: DISABILITY PRIDE. HIDDEN DISABILITY

The opening of the  Eleanor Worthington Prize exhibition, is to be held at the South Quad Art Foyer of YSJ on 4 March 2020 at 17:00 to 20:00

It is the third year that YSJ hosts this exhibition, on the theme of art and disability, showing the works submitted for the Anglo-Italian Eleanor Worthington Prize of 2019, on the specific theme: DISABILITY PRIDE. HIDDEN DISABILITY

Please find attached the flyer announcing the exhibition, and a detail of the work by Monica Marshall, the YSJ winner of the Mark Bailey special prize.

You can find out more about Monica Marshall’s work here in Benjamin Longbone’s review of last year’s exhibition.

The Civic Party will also be attending. 

There will be a sign language interpreter at the event.

(Free wine too!)

Spoken Word – All About Respect

Here at All About Respect we are hosting a spoken word event to shine a light on sexual, abuse, violence and harm.

The event will be held on the 18th March at Spark, door open at 6.30pm and starts from 7-9pm.

We are looking for people to come a read their pieces of work produced and created around sexual abuse, violence and harm.

We are calling any creative writers, poets, drama, music students or anyone willing to take part.

Please email: molly.catterall@yorksj.ac.uk if you would like to participate.

If you would like to find out more about All About Respect, head to the Report and Support Website for information on campaigns, support materials, anonymous and direct reporting, training, and more.

LGBTQI+ History Month Display from our Library and Learning Services at York St John University

By Katherine Hughes, with contributions from Clare McCluskey-Dean and Thomas Peach (Academic Liaison Librarians at YSJ)

LGBTQI+ History Month Book Display 2020

Library & Learning Services are holding a book display in Fountains Learning Centre during Week 4 (17th-21st February) to celebrate LGBTQI+ History Month. There is also a display throughout the month of February of LGBTQI+ children’s books in our Schools Library on the First Floor. Continue reading “LGBTQI+ History Month Display from our Library and Learning Services at York St John University”

All About Respect Paid Internship Opportunity

We have two exciting, paid student intern opportunities for students to work as part of the All About Respect team.

You can find out more about these opportunities and apply here: www.yorksj.ac.uk/internships

Closing date is midnight on Thursday 17th October.#

Get some great work experience to boost your CV and kickstart a potential future career by applying for an exclusive YSJ Student Internship.

You can find out more about the All About Respect project here

Shakespeare Trip 2019 from a non-Shakespeare Student, by Amy Langton

Amy brings to life the Shakespeare: Perspectives Trip to Stratford-upon-Avon from earlier in the year, and talks about how it inspired her to find out more about Shakespeare. Read here her response to the Royal Shakespeare Company performance of As You Like It, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust post-performance talks, visiting the house Shakespeare was was born in, and going backstage at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

This year, I went on the Shakespeare Perspectives trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon. Although I didn’t do the module itself, places opened up, and Revolution and Response students were asked if they wanted to go. Having studied Shakespeare both on this module, and in previous modules, I was really interested in going on this trip so booked as soon as possible. On the trip, we did many things packed into the short amount of space of two days, meaning it got very busy and tiring, but yet being surrounded by lovely individuals who I share my course with the two days were great. 

We went to the Royal Shakespeare Company to watch one of Shakespeare’s comedies, As You Like It. I knew nothing of the play beforehand other than the title, having not studied it or even picked it up in a shop and yet, I was excited. I was excited to delve into the world of something new and ready to have a good time. 

The company clearly used meta-theatre which was the great choice, as those who know the play well or even those like me who didn’t knew the most famous quote ‘All the world’s a stage’. Through this use, the intimacy level was upped, as the actors engaged with the audience throughout, even at one point bringing members up to the stage themselves which added greatly to the comedic effect. 

In our post-performance discussion at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust with Dr Nick Walton, many members of our group mentioned the roles of Rosalind/Ganymede and Celia in a lively discussion. While some felt Celia overpowered Rosalind, which is contradictory to what her role is supposed to do, I personally felt that Rosalind was the true star. Lucy Phelps, who portrayed her, gave the character an energy that made her easy to love and easy to sympathise with. Her humour was perfect: her character made me laugh the most because of the way that she presented this lovable person, this lovable woman.

The play defied all expectations, the characters were likeable, the actors even more so. It felt like an evening with a family rather than a crowd of strangers.

Another thing we did on the trip was visit Shakespeare’s Birthplace which was an amazing experience as the house in which he was born had so much history behind it. I could see this in the way it was presented and the ways in which the staff interacted with tourists and members of the public, giving them extra information, and really immersing them into the world and time in which this iconic playwright lived. We also got to watch amateur actors performing certain scenes from different Shakespeare plays outside in the garden. This was an amazing experience as it was brilliant to see other ways in which Shakespeare could be performed. The two actors were incredibly talented and gave off just the right emotion and power to once again immerse you into the plays.

Probably one of the most exciting things we did on the trip was get a backstage tour of the theatre. This was incredibly insightful as the way the plays are done is so incredibly clever. We saw things such as costumes, lighting and all sorts of accessories used such as fake blood! This was so amazing as you really saw how much work is put in to performing Shakespeare in a modern-day setting. In Shakespeare’s time, you can imagine the way in which it was performed is much different to how it is today, so to see the way in which time has developed is brilliant in being able to immerse yourself fully into the plays.

The trip was brilliant also in the social aspect of things as I got to be with a lot of my friends that I didn’t do modules with but that were on my course. I also met and got to talk to new people which I found really incredible. I also met Saffron properly, who I’ve never met and haven’t been taught by but it was amazing meeting her and to be inspired by her love of Shakespeare. Julie’s tremendous love of Shakespeare also inspired me and having these two incredible dedicated women leading us on this true Shakespearean journey was an incredible experience.

If anything, the trip mostly made me wish I had done the Shakespeare module and has inspired me to go on to try read other Shakespeare texts with my specific interest now being Hamlet and a Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, which I have already purchased and am ready to read!

In conclusion, thank you to Saffron, Julie and York St John University for giving me the chance to go on this insightful, brilliant trip and also the chance to write for this blog. This trip really helped me expand my love for Literature even more!

All images (c) Amy Langton apart from the final performance image (c) RSC

“All The World’s A Stage”. Mollie Pigott reflects on the RSC’s production of As You Like It (Shakespeare: Perspectives Trip 2019)

“All The World’s A Stage”

Director Kimberley Sykes combines pantomime, audience interaction, puppetry and musical elements to create a fantastical, almost Brechtian approach to the Royal Shakespeare Company’s current production of As You Like It.

A photo from the RSC’s current production of As You Like It. Photo from: https://www.rsc.org.uk/as-you-like-it/production-photos

For the past eleven weeks, I’ve constantly been reminded in lectures and seminars that Shakespeare’s plays are texts that were written with the intention to be performed on a stage, not to be read in a classroom. My Shakespeare: Perspectives module’s two-day trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon proved that there’s more to the Bard’s plays than just text to be analysed. Shakespeare’s plays offer escapism, a chance to get away from reality with friends or family and I was lucky enough to escape to the Forest of Arden in the most recent production of As You Like ItContinue reading ““All The World’s A Stage”. Mollie Pigott reflects on the RSC’s production of As You Like It (Shakespeare: Perspectives Trip 2019)”

Changing the Story: FEAST review by Charlotte Crawshaw #YorkInternationalShakespeareFestival

Charlotte Crawshaw reviews FEAST, the first play by London-based Romanian theatre maker Olivia Negrean, making its York debut after being performed across Europe. Directed by Philip Parr of Parrabola.

“And as the show came to a close, the players dished out the meal for the audience to enjoy – a really unique  innovation on a play, something I personally had never seen before.”

Continue reading “Changing the Story: FEAST review by Charlotte Crawshaw #YorkInternationalShakespeareFestival”