Shakespeare for Schools
A public performance of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing by actors and a production team from St Peter’s Junior School has won glowing praise.
Respected performer, theatre maker and producer Lisa Ors has now issued her appraisal of the interpretation of the comedy by Year 5 and 6 children at the Gulbenkian Arts Centre, Canterbury, as part of the Shakespeare for Schools Festival.
Congratulating them on a “fantastic reimagining” of the work, she highlighted the “wonderful dance sequences that you creatively threaded the narrative through.”
She explained: “You really embodied the spirit of our ‘Season of Reimagining’, creating an inner dialogue for the disgraced Hero as she tried to prove her innocence to those around her. The robotic, hypnotised moves of the ensemble really showed us the different attitudes of the time and moved us all to feel the shock and sadness of this scene.
“The physicality of your characters was great, making it clear who your characters were, their individual intentions and their status within the society of Messina. I also liked your use of choral speaking and vocal responses that helped to emphasise moments in the story.
“Your production was colourful, with some lovely costumes and a variety of props. Together, you worked as a team and were well organised on stage and off. Your joy of storytelling was infectious and drew the audience into the world of your play.
“Congratulations on a marvellous and energetic production by a positive and focused company.”
Head Teacher Tim Whitehouse is full of praise for everyone who took the show from classroom to the festival stage. He said: “It was a wonderful opportunity to perform on a professional stage and the group enjoyed a brilliant time working with the theatre professionals including a backstage team where our pupils learned about how lighting and sound effects are added to a show.
“We are so proud of them all – they were so professional, confident and enthusiastic throughout the festival. Their commitment, team work and brilliant creativity was a credit to our school.”
Shakespeare for Schools Festival: Each year thousands of young people from primary, secondary and SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) schools across the country unite in the world’s largest youth drama festival.
The cultural education project supports young people to perform abridged Shakespeare plays on professional theatre stages to provide a vital cultural experience.
Over approximately eight months, they are supported to prepare their production with workshops led by professional actors and directors, and a range of award-winning resources. The Shakespeare scripts have been abridged by acclaimed writers including Sir Tom Stoppard and Jamila Gavin, and the festival’s dedicated programme coordinators are on hand to support teachers through each step of the process. Find out more online at www.shakespeareschools.org.
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