July 01, 2014
Making Shakespeare FUN!
Hi, I’m Naomi, and I wanted to write a post on Shakespeare.
When I was younger Shakespeare did not interest me in the slightest. Hours spent in stuffy classrooms analysing every word of a language so far removed from modern life was not my idea of fun. I certainly wasn’t the only child who felt this way!
However I was pretty fortunate, because my parents took me to see Shakespeare at the theatre. After experiencing A Midsummer Night’s Dream the way it was intended – on the stage – I began to think maybe I had written Shakespeare off too quickly. Maybe his plays weren’t as ‘pointless and boring’ as I had first thought.
I went on to study Shakespeare as part of my Performance degree at Northumbria University and I now have an appreciation of Shakespeare plays that reading them in my Year 9 English class couldn’t provide me with. I was one of the lucky ones who was exposed to Shakespeare outside the traditional classroom setting. However for many, this is the only place they will experience the bard’s great plays.
Award-winning actor, Adrian Lester, currently playing the lead role in Othello at the National Theatre, has called for a rethink in the way Shakespeare is taught in schools. He claims teachers have a tendency to ‘insist on an appreciation of iambic pentameter and poetry’ rather than getting students to connect to with the drama of the stories. ‘As soon as you scratch beneath the surface of the iambic pentameter and the five beat rhythm, as soon as students get the keys to unlock the text and go past that and really look at what the characters are saying – that’s when the play starts to open up to them.’
I completely agree with Lester. I believe if we want students to engage with Shakespearean plays we need to find ways they can connect to the story and the characters. We need to find a way of making Shakespeare exciting and relevant to this generation.
That is where we can help! We offer multiple workshops which serve to introduce your pupils to Shakespeare through drama and theatre. Delve into Shakespeare’s work in general through A Shakespearean Story, explore a classic like Romeo & Juliet or Macbeth in greater details, or dust off your acting boots and work on your very own Shakespeare performance!
One Day Creative Education provides dynamic, energetic workshops that engage your pupils with the subject matter. Our workshops are suitable for pupils whatever their academic ability and provide the perfect stimulus for further development to take back into your classroom.
Instead of alienating children from one of the greatest ever writers, let One Day help make Shakespeare fun and exciting for children of all ages!