Article about the Shakespeare workshop with William Sutton

On 18th October 2019, our 2CA joined the 1CA at LAML to participate in a Shakespeare workshop animated by William Sutton, a well-known British actor, comedian, and most importantly, Shakespeare expert.

About William Sutton

William Sutton is mostly known for having memorized all 154 sonnets written by Shakespeare, which he is able to recite in original Shakespearean pronunciation.

He was born of Scottish parents and his family immigrated to Canada. He now lives in Europe in the city he loves best, Amsterdam.

Sutton mixes Dutch, German and French, as well as multiple English accents and is also learning Spanish. He has a Graduate Diploma in Shakespeare Studies.

He started his acting career in 1988 in the Netherlands, and is best known as a comedian. He now has to his credit over 400 shows.

About the workshop

William Sutton first introduced the students to Shakespeare’s work, and then proceeded to go through the whole play Macbeth with them. This hardly seemed possible with the limited amount of time allocated to the workshop, but William Sutton had cleverly summarized each act to its bare minimum without losing any of its meaningfulness.

He started by explaining the story and showed more modern “versions” of this major work, for example a rap video about it. This loosened the atmosphere and made students listen up with interest. He then allocated parts to each student, and they had to stand up when their character appeared in the scene. During the reading, William Sutton also explained the scenes in his humorous way, adding many a historical anecdote, and thus made the workshop a very enjoyable experience that certainly erased all fears of Shakespeare being an inaccessible writer for foreign students. He presented the different characters and their roles and how they evolve in the play. Lady Macbeth, for example, falls into madness after the murder of the King and finally dies at the end of the play. As a workshop leader, William Sutton “gave life” to the play with his explanations and the student’s participation will ensure that they will remember Macbeth vividly.

At the end of the workshop, some students could read their character’s words out loud which made them identify with their parts and adjust their intonation and expression accordingly. In fact, the reading turned into acting.

To wrap up, William Sutton gave the students two booklets of Shakespeare’s sonnets, and they could ask him whichever sonnet they chose to recite. He did this flawlessly and the workshop ended with a round of applause.

Hereby our class would like to thank William Sutton for the very instructive, entertaining and enjoyable workshop and our headmaster Mr Hemmer for supporting this literary fieldtrip.

Oriane Briolotti