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Optus and Bell Shakespeare bring theatre to students with 21st Century technology
21 Apr 2006

Bell Shakespeare's Actors At Work team will be performing in Darwin on 21 April at the Northern Territory's Open Education Centre, thanks to its Principal Education + Youth partner Optus and the NT Department of Employment, Education and Training.

The Company will broadcast a special performance of extracts from Shakespeare plays to isolated families and remote schools from the Interactive Distance Learning (IDL) studio in Darwin, while local students will enjoy the performance live at the Open Education Centre.

Theatre and technology converge, connecting rural and city student audiences through the live transmission of the Bell Shakespeare performance over IDL. The technology allows students to experience the difference in viewing a performance on stage as opposed to on screen, and after the performance, students will have the opportunity for continued discussions.

The Open Education Centre uses IDL to work with remote locations across the Northern Territory. These include small schools, homesteads and isolated communities. Students are given real-time interaction with educators and enjoy greater participation than previous school of the air activities. Bell Shakespeare's 2004 Actors At Work performance was the first performing arts broadcast on IDL.

Actors At Work is Bell Shakespeare's main education activity, presenting programmes for students that focus on themes and issues from a number of Shakespeare's plays. The programme tours to all states and territories each year.

Optus plays an integral part in the programme providing IDL infrastructure to small communities and homesteads in Alice Springs, Darwin, the North Coast of NSW, Murray-Darling and Dubbo.

Bell Shakespeare will travel to Dubbo for an IDL broadcast later this year.

The performance on Friday 21 April is at 11.00am and community schools from Numbulwar CEC, Yulara and Ramingining to Timber Creek, Jilkminggan, Bullman and Ngunmarriyanga will be reached by the IDL technology. The media are invited to attend the performance for footage, photographs and interviews.

Date: Friday 21 April 2006
Start time: 11.00am
Venue: Northern Territory Open Education Centre Conference Room
21 Chrisp St, Rapid Creek Darwin

For more information:

Tatia Sloley
Bell Shakespeare Publicist
Phone: +61 3 9419 8837
Mobile: 0403 305 395

Cindy Beukes
Optus Corporate Affairs
Phone: +61 2 9342 8138