Thespians get 'rocket-booster' from reading Shakespeare
READING Shakespeare acts like a 'rocket-booster' to the brain.
Tewantin's U3A's Reading Shakespeare Group already knows this. They meet every Wednesday morning and read Shakespeare, aloud.
On our visit it was Romeo and Juliet and the 15 or so people in the group took to the readings with enthusiasm playing the roles of everyone from Capulet to Juliet.
Robin Mouat leads the group and to share his enthusiasm for Shakespeare's works makes the brain come a tad more alive before anyone even starts reading.
Apparently, research has shown reading Shakespeare (and Wordsworth) are better than reading self-help books and give that 'rocket boost' to the brain.
According to academics It's the challenging prose that sets off electrical activity in the brain. They were able to study the brain activity using scanners, while readers responded to each word. They noticed how the brain lit up as the readers encountered unusual words, surprising phrases or difficult sentence structure.
That's very academic but the people in the U3A group were more interested in being together and reading out loud. They were having a very good time reading words written four centuries ago.
Group leader Robin asked the students how they first met Shakespeare:
Caroline: He was forced on me in school. Then he came alive at Uni and now here (at U3A). It is not compulsory to come here, or do any homework (unlike Uni) and I love it
Jill: We did Richard II at school. I fell in love with him.
Anna: Discovered him when I was just eight, a Midsummer Night Dream. I remember making a diorama of the scene. Reading Shakespeare is such a simple activity here but gives us great pleasure.
Randall: Met him in eighth grade at school. We read Julius Caesar, and then had to stand up at assembly and give a talk.
Kathy: I went to an English country school. We had a (Shakespeare) festival. Everyone had to perform.
Gill: Studied Shakespeare in secondary school and then Uni. My mother was a great reader and when she cooked she would quote Shakespeare, especially when she mashed the potatoes.
Mia: Met Shakespeare at high school. Had an English teacher who made us get up on stage and take our place.
It seems it doesn't matter how you met and fell in love with Shakespeare, there is always going to be that passion for his works...and you'll see it in full flight at Tewantin's U3A, among its many other varied classes.
For more, go to u3anoosa.com.