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Shakespeare at the Castle (18+)

Residential Summer School for Adults


Shakespeare at the Castle is a two week long residential course for actors who wish to explore Shakespeare on film whilst staying in the beautiful surroundings of a Scottish Castle.

Actors and filmmakers will collaborate to film scenes from Shakespeare’s Macbeth that will be cut into a new contemporary retelling of the play shot in the atmospheric setting of Dean Castle.

This two week intensive will equip actors with an expansive toolkit of skills through a fast-paced collaborative filmmaking process.

In week one, the actors will take part in skills-based sessions that will prepare them for working with Shakespearean text and acting for camera. During this week they will select scenes from Macbeth and begin the rehearsal process. As well as working with our experienced Shakespeare director Alasdair Hunter, they will work with a voice coach, dramatic combat instructor and movement specialist to bring their characters to life and craft them especially for screen.

In week two, they collaborate with students from the Filmmaking Summer School, and work to film their selected scenes on location in and around Dean Castle.

Throughout the course you will:

  • become acquainted with the essentials of textual analysis using a Shakespeare play
  • learn how to perform heightened text specifically for camera
  • explore techniques which can enhance character development and story-telling, through the analysis and rehearsal of monologues and scenes
  • experience collaboration between film crew and actors in a collaborative environment to gain deeper understanding of both crafts
  • discover the opportunities and challenges of filming on location

The course day runs from 10am – 5pm, however the schedule may change in week two to accommodate evening shoots. 

Please note that this course is for students aged 18+. We cannot under any circumstances accept students below this age on to the course. 

If you have any questions in advance of booking, please contact us at

The important details



5 - 16 August 2024

Monday - Friday, 10am - 5pm

Dean Castle and Country Park, Residential Centre, Dean Road, Kilmarnock, KA3 1XB

Course Information

Booking is by application only. Please complete this additional booking form that needs to be completed upon submission of your application.

Please be advised, if we have any queries about your application, we may request a zoom meeting.

Students should come to the course expecting to work hard, be challenged and enjoy contributing to the creative process.

Alasdair Hunter is a Scottish theatre director. He directs classic plays and plays by writers who are very much alive. He is Founding Artistic Director of – a global Shakespeare company rooted in Scotland. He is also a member of The Shakespeare Ensemble ( and an Associate Member of the Shakespeare Theatre Association. He is a Connections Director for the National Theatre (London), and also regularly teaches at UK drama schools.

Alasdair is a graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the University of Glasgow, and also trained at Shakespeare’s Globe. His work has been seen in UK theatres including the Tron Theatre, Traverse Theatre, Hampstead Theatre, and Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, as well as across the Midwest USA including Chicago and St Louis.

Alasdair was President of Glasgow’s Queen Margaret Union in 2008/09 and a board member of Macrobert Arts Centre from 2009 to 2012. He made classical work, often of a guerilla nature, under the Wilderness of Tigers label between 2007 and 2017.

The Dean Castle sits within the stunning 200 acre grounds of Dean Castle Country Park. The recently renovated 14th century castle is situated in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire. The castle was the home of the Boyd family for over 400 years. It was inherited by the 8th Lord Howard de Walden in 1899 who restored the buildings which had lain in ruins since a fire in 1735. The Keep, dating to around 1350, houses outstanding displays that tell the story of the Boyd family and medieval life. From the exquisite craftsmanship and rarity of the musical instrument collection to the Viking sword that fires the imagination, the Dean Castle and the collections represent over 1000 years of the history of Ayrshire, its people and the story of Scotland.

Dean Castle is situated within Dean Castle Country Park which is home to wildlife, ponds, and forest walks. The park also has a residential accommodation block, public café, and Rural Life centre.

If you’re a fan of the hit show Outlander, Dean Castle was used as Beaufort Castle in Series 2.

Your course fee includes the following:

  • Accommodation
  • Food (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner)
  • Evening Activities

This Summer School will be taking place in Dean Castle Country Park. There is a residential accommodation block on site, and all students taking part in the Summer School will be required to stay on location. Dean Castle Country Park is around 40 minutes from Glasgow City Centre. There are limited options in the immediate vicinity, so we recommend bringing everything you need to site.

The accommodation at Dean Castle Country Park consists of dorms for four students, with two bunk beds in each. There is also a shower and toilet block at either end of the corridor, and a door in the corridor separating the male and female identifying dorms and showers.

We are committed to our Safe Space policy and will be inclusive in our accommodation assignments. We ask that all students read through the Safe Space policy and email if you have any concerns.

Within Dean Castle Country Park, you will find the residential accommodation block attached to a public café. Then a short walk through the grounds, you’ll find the castle, woodlands, forest walks and Rural Life centre. The public will have access to the castle from 11am to 4pm, and you’ll be working in rooms within and around the castle, and rehearsal spaces on the grounds.

All meals will be served within the residential space by caterers. As part of the additional booking form you can detail any dietary requirements.

As part of the Summer School, there will be some planned activities both on and off site. These could include bowling, movie night, ceilidh, outdoor activities.

We recommend students bring:

  • warm and comfortable clothing
  • waterproof shoes or boots
  • some clothes they don’t mind getting dirty/wet
  • waterproof jackets (for the Scottish summers)
  • warm layers, as you’ll be working in and around a drafty, old castle.

A full list of what to bring will be sent out with your welcome pack.

Further Information

We want to ensure as many children, young people and adult learners as possible can access the performing and production arts education that is offered through Short Courses at RCS. Financial support options available for Short Courses include:

Agnes Allan Bursary

Agnes Allan was a teacher, passionate about inclusion, and this bursary scheme exists to offer support to students to participate in the performing or production arts.

The Agnes Allan Bursary provides some support to students who may require financial assistance to take part in a short course in dance, drama, music, production or screen.

Anyone who wishes to take part in our Short Courses and faces a financial barrier can apply for bursary support to help meet the cost of tuition fees.

James McAvoy Drama Scholarships

BAFTA-winning and Golden Globe nominated actor James McAvoy is committed to nurturing the creative potential of young Scots who experience barriers to access and participate in drama at RCS Short Courses.

James is a graduate of the BA Acting programme at RCS and Patron of the Junior Conservatoire of Drama. The Glasgow-born actor has funded the new James McAvoy Drama Scholarships to enable young people to experience the world-class drama training at RCS as he did.

The scholarship aims to support applicants who would otherwise find meeting the cost of tuition fees at RCS a barrier to accessing pre-Higher Education drama training at the Royal Conservatoire.

You can find more information about these funds on our Financial Support page.

We run various promotional offers for our Short Courses and Summer Schools. You can view our current offers on our Promotional Offers page.

You should contact us at to request your discount code before booking a course.

Please note, only one promotional offer can be applied per course and should be used at the time of booking as we are unable to apply a discounts retrospectively.

Please see our Short Course FAQs for more information about all aspects of choosing, booking and attending your course.

Please see our Short Courses – Terms and Conditions for more information about your contract with Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and Cancellation and Refund policies.

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