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Shakespeare, Rap and AAC

Education Stream
  • Helen Dunman (Chailey Heritage Foundation)

Our drama group, entered the National Shakespeare Festival. The students all had complex learning needs and physical disabilities, some used AAC. We were not allowed to use any microphones or amplifiers on stage; only one multi-track CD could be used. How were the AAC users going to be heard on stage in a large, mainstream theatre? My aim is to describe our journey in getting our AAC performers to be heard.


We made our own Rap CD with recordings of all our students sounds, with help from a leading Rap band. Our AAC users chose to record Shakespearean insults, onto the Rap piece, using AAC. We choreographed a movement piece to go with it and this formed the main part of our contemporary interpretation of 'Romeo and Juliet'.


We performed as part of the festival, achieving excellent feedback from the audience and festival organisers. Special mention was given to the creativity of the Rap piece. Our AAC performers had been heard and felt very proud.


It was such a positive experience for everyone that I'm entering this festival for the third time, with a different group of students. I look forward to pushing the boundaries of AAC with performers.

Level of Session 
Age Group 
Special school
Further/Higher Ed.