Alas! Poor Yorick…. I made him myself, Horatio…

Hello, my name is Isabelle, and in case you’re wondering who I am……..I am a summer co-op student contributing my creativity, artistic skill, and passion to this year’s summer camp.

That’s right, folks! Just like the foils, Hamlet’s crown, and Old Hamlet’s armor, Yorick was handmade by a crafty, creative, and artistic member of the Hamlet summer camp production team. Of course Yorick couldn’t have been made without the inspiration from the outstanding actors of the show, and the supportive SIA staff. Just in case anybody here is curious, here is the process on how Yorick was made.

First off, like all handmade projects from scratch, Yorick started off as nothing but a roll of wire. The wire is to be bent, shaped, and put together into a frame to give the skull its shape. It was a painful process for the hands, as it is required to precisely bend the hard, thick, and pointy wire into the desired shape. Furthermore, the wire is also slippery and hard to tie in place. However, with the help of masking tape and some strands of thin wire, the wire is easily held together to keep its shape. This is an important process, as the wire frame needs to be as accurate as possible for canvas cloth to lay over it smoothly. The details such as the skull’s eyes and nose holes also need to be clearly marked out, so it would show up clearly when the cloth gets draped over it.


Isabelle & Yorick, phase 1 - wire

Isabelle & Yorick, phase 1 – wire


Next off, as most of you may have already guessed….it’s time to give Yorick some “flesh” (well….the wire acts as his bones…). A sheet of artists’ canvas is to be draped over the frame to make it look like a skull. Although this may sound easy….it really isn’t…. Since the artists’ canvas is hard and stiff, it is hard to get it to lie smoothly over the frame, therefore it must be accurately cut into the shapes of each gap to follow the shape of the frame. Afterwards, the pieces cut out are then to be hot glued onto the frame to cover up all the holes (except for the eyes and nose, of course!)


Isabelle & Yorick, phase 2 - canvas

Isabelle & Yorick, phase 2 – canvas


Now that Yorick has the shape and appearance of a realistic skull….he is ready to star in the famous graveyard scene. No wait! A skull that has been buried in the dirt for several years, obviously doesn’t look that clean and perfect. It’s a little too perfect… it’s time to destroy it a bit……….well…not actually destroying the hard work put in to it, but to define it. So some acrylic paint is used to paint on the skull to give it a dirty and aged look like it has truly been living in the dirt for many years. Last but not least, Yorick needs teeth, so we took beads from a necklace that looks like teeth, painted them, and glued them to his mouth. A fun fact about this is that we have debated on whether Yorick should have teeth or not, because hygiene was poor during Shakespeare times. Laboni jokingly suggested that Yorick must have had dentures, but Michael said that there were no dentures during that time. Then I suggested that Yorick must have starved to death after he lost all his teeth. So, I went with a little bit of both ideas. I decided to give Yorick some teeth, but with a few missing to show his aging.


Isabelle & Yorick, phase 3 - paint...and teeth!

Isabelle & Yorick, phase 3 – paint…and teeth!


And…..finally……Yorick is done and ready to star in the famous graveyard scene along with the talented actors of the teen camp.

Shakespeare Summer Camp for Kids- Sword Making With Michael!

Check out some footage of Artistic Director Michael Kelly leading a sword-making workshop with the campers at our Shakespeare Summer Camp for Kids! Along with prop making, campers will learn to act, sing, improvise, construct costumes, and design sets. Summer Camp runs from June 29- July 10, 2015, Monday-Friday at our headquarters in Toronto.

Have a teen that is looking to step into the spotlight this summer too? Visit our Young Company for Teens page to find out more about our Summer training Program in stage and film performance!

Shakespeare for Kids Summer Camp- Sword Making With Michael

Check out a video of our Artistic Director, Michael Kelly giving our kid campers a lesson on how to make their very own prop swords!

For more information on Shakespeare in Action’s summer programming, visit the Shakespeare for Kids Summer Camp or Young Company for Teens training program pages!
Remember- The deadline to register for both camps is June 25, 2014!

Shakespeare for Kids Summer Camp- Create Your Own Show!

Campers at the Shakespeare for Kids Summer Camp and Young Company for Teens training program will learn to create props, costumes and a set for their very own Shakespeare production!
Check out the video below to see the great work done by our campers!

Kids’ Camp – Can you guess what they’re making?

The cast of The Tempest hit the design studio yesterday afternoon!

Take a look at the video below – can you guess what they’re making?

Put your answers in the comment section.

Check back for another video and the answer at 4:30pm EST!


bLOG – Shakespeare Challenge 2013

L to R: Ferdinand (Trevor Ketcheson) and Miranda (Lindsay Baxter) fight over The Log (as itself) in The Tempest, Shakespeare Challenge 2013

Want your own log to fight over? You’re in luck! I created the log here in our rehearsal room (under the supervision of Pat, our wonderful set and costume designer), and I’m going to tell you how to make one of your very own!

Here’s what you’ll need: chicken wire, cardboard, scissors, string, newspaper, white glue, water, masking tape, brown paper, paper towels, matte medium, sand paper, and brown or black markers or crayons.

Step 1: Create the shape. Roll the chicken wire into the shape you’d like for your log (don’t worry if it’s not perfect; it will look more realistic that way). “Sew” the long edges together with string.

Step 2: Add the ends. Trace the ends of your log onto pieces of cardboard. Cut these pieces out and tape them to the ends of your log.

Step 3: Time to get messy! Mix up a papier-mâché paste (we used just glue and water; make sure it’s thick enough that the newspaper won’t slide off the chicken wire). Add about 3 layers of papier-mâché with strips of newspaper, letting the log dry between each layer.

Step 4: Create texture. We used rolled-up pieces of newspaper and tape to give our log its texture. On the ends, we added circles of rolled-up tape to imitate the rings of the tree.

Step 5: Add bark. Use long strips of brown paper for the final layers of papier-mâché (we recycled some old packing paper; using more than one shade/texture of paper gave our tree its interesting appearance). You can use brown paper towel on the ends of the log and any other tricky spots.

Step 6: Finishing touches. Sand off any rough edges. Use a brown or black marker or crayon to add colour and definition to the ends of your log (and anywhere else you think it is needed).

Step 7: Protect your log. We used several layers of matte medium to keep the log in good condition through final rehearsals and the show.

Thus ends my bLOG. Good luck!

– Written by Lisa