‘Learn to know [them] now’: Interviews with the Learning Team

Hello there! As promised in my last post, this post is all about getting to know the Learning and Participation team. Unfortunately, I did not have the time or opportunity to interview everyone in the department, so I opted for the people that future Education interns will likely be working with. These people are Nick, Anjna, Lisa, and Darren, and they oversee lectures for secondary education, higher education, and adult learners here at the Trust (on top of doing all sorts of other things—as mentioned previously, the amount they do is astounding). Though their positions and responsibilities vary slightly, they are all incredibly brilliant, dedicated individuals who work hard to spread knowledge about Shakespeare. Hopefully these interviews will give you a taste of who they are.

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Darren, Anjna, and Lisa. Nick is a bit more difficult to pin down for a photo.

Darren Freebury-Jones

From: Cardiff, Wales

Darren is the newest lecturer on the team (today is actually his 3 month anniversary of starting here) and he currently shares his office with the internship desk, so future interns will likely get to know him well. He did his PhD in English with specialties in authorship attribution studies, corpus linguistics, and Early Modern intertextuality. Darren was hired on at the Trust as the American liaison (ask him to do an American accent—you won’t be disappointed), but just like everyone else he has a hand in all sorts of projects. When asked what his favorite Shakespeare play is, he went with the unusual answer of Titus Andronicus, though he admits it does not usually merit the title of best play. However, he enjoys the horror element of it, and it was also one of the first he analyzed for interpretive collaboration and he has fond memories of the experience. When asked what he would like future Education interns to know, he said that, as a new person at the Trust, it’s a wonderful, friendly atmosphere that will gladly welcome helpful interns. He also hopes that they will feel part of the SBT family as a whole and the Learning department in particular.

Lisa Peter

From: Saarland, Germany

Lisa is a Senior Lecturer who focuses on international education and manages European collaboration projects for the Trust, and she has been a valued part of the Learning team for the last four and a half years. She did her masters in English and German studies, with an emphasis in contemporary writing. Around the office, Lisa is known as the go-to person for figuring things out; whether it be an administrative, educational, or technical problem, Lisa generally knows how to fix it or where to find the answer. Her favorite play is Richard III, which she said she enjoys because it’s a mafia play and has all the elements of a thriller. As for what she wants future interns to know, she said that it is important to understand day-to-day life in Learning department is a lot more than just teaching lectures. For every hour spent lecturing, there is a great deal of time spent on resource creation, project management, research, and other duties around the office.

Anjna Chouhan

From: Birmingham, England 

Anjna is a Senior Lecturer with an incredible fashion sense who has been working hard in her job at the Trust for six years now. She has a masters in Victorian studies and a PhD in Shakespeare (specifically, in the intersection between Shakespeare and the church in the literature/theatre of the second half of 19th century). She originally fell in love with Shakespeare when she was 12 years old and her aunt gave her a beautifully illustrated copy of Twelfth Night. Though she claims she didn’t understand the story at that point, she loved the language and could tell there was something there. When asked about her favorite Shakespeare play, Anjna said that it changes from day to day, but that it is currently King Lear. Her reasoning is that Lear has moments of real heartbreak, but it is not as bleak as people tend to think, and it is the hope that she admires. As for what she wants future interns to know, she said it is important all interns realize that everyone is really busy, but the ultimate goal is to tell the world about Shakespeare, and as long as they are on board with that mission, they’ll do just fine.

Name: Nick Walton

From: Pedmore, Stourbridge, England

Nick is the Shakespeare Course Development Manager and the most experienced member of the team, having worked at the Trust for 14 years. He did his PhD in Shakespeare, focusing specifically on the play Timon of Athens and investigating questions of authorship, placement in chronology, and post-WWII audience appeal. Like Anjna, Nick said his favorite Shakespeare play also changes on a daily basis, but he loves to teach King Lear, Hamlet, and Measure for Measure. One of the reasons he steers away from choosing a consistent favorite is that he is very aware of how certain lines or moments in the plays have a greater resonance depending on where you are in life and what you’re experiencing. When asked what he wants future Education interns to know, Nick talked about how he loves learning from the interns because he believes learning is a two-way street—he can learn from their experiences, and they can learn from him. He also said that there is always something new and interesting happening here because we get to experience cutting-edge Shakespeare research at the Trust, and because of that environment, whatever skills the interns bring to the table will be put to good use.

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I couldn’t find Nick to take a picture, so here’s an old one from the Trust’s website.

That’s the team! And if these short bios haven’t made it clear enough, I can say from experience that all of them are incredible people. They work hard and invest a lot to their jobs, but more than that they are kind, caring individuals who treat interns with respect and consideration. I feel especially grateful to have worked with them this summer, and any future interns will be lucky to know them.

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