Shakespeare's Heartbeat: drama workshops for children with autism - for children accompanied by adults

Kelly Hunter and Patricia Gannon

Kelly Hunter
Kelly Hunter is an award-winning actor, director, and educator. As a performer she has worked for over thirty years, notably with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the highly-acclaimed Vesturport.

In 2001 she created her own company - Touchstone Shakespeare Theatre - to bring Shakespeare to children with little or no access to the arts. She ran the company for four years, during which time she directed Dreams and Voices, a film which documents her work with autistic children and is available on the Routledge Performance Archive.

In 2014 she directed a production of The Tempest for children with autism, which performed in Stratford upon Avon and Columbus Ohio. The show was a co-production between the Royal Shakespeare Company and Ohio State University, where her work forms the basis of a longitudinal research study. This research engages the question of whether drama – particularly Shakespeare - can break through the communicative blocks of autism and in particular whether these sensory drama games, known collectively as the Hunter Heartbeat Method can produce long term benefits for children with ASD.

Patricia Gannon
Patricia Gannon has been an actress for over twenty years. She has worked in film, radio, theatre and television. Her theatre work has included The Royal National Theatre and The Royal Shakespeare Company, among others. Her education work has included directing/devising with Coventry Belgrade, numerous projects with the Creative Partnerships Programme and devising and delivering workshops with The Shakespeare Schools Festival. In recent years she has trained as a drama and movement therapist and has a particular interest in working with young people on the autistic spectrum. She works in several mainstream and special schools and is part of Roundabout Dramatherapy, a registered charity. She is also a member of Flute Theatre company and has performed the Tempest at the Bloomsbury Theatre, the Southbank Centre and will be performing at the Orange Tree Theatre Richmond this Autumn.


R11 » Drama workshop (14:40 - Friday, 16th September, Harris 1)