Shakespeare with Year 4 at Bleak Hill Primary

In the summer term of 2015, Kate & the children at Bleak Hill Primary spent some time learning about Shakespeare.  The aim of the project was to develop understanding of Shakespeare, encouraging pupils, teachers and parents to forget their preconceptions of the Bard and engage afresh in his brilliant stories, characters and plots.  The project was part of a wider Curious Minds programme (find out more here) which is designed to support teachers to become cultural leaders and champions across education.

Kate worked with the school’s year 4 classes, with each class taking a text and bringing it to the stage in just 6 weeks. 4M relished the chance to perform a grizzly Macbeth while 4H threw aside any inhibitions and recreated the romance and violence of Romeo and Juliet. The class teachers, Miss McDermott and Mrs Hughes, played an active role in the project and helped to create a real buzz in school about the work.

The project saw Kate rewrite aspects of the text into modern scenes and narration, while large chunks of Shakespeare’s original text were also included. A particular highlight was Max’s delivery of the ‘Out brief candle’ speech in Macbeth! Kate also used lots of music and physical movement to represent the action of the scenes, including some epic fight sequences (all carefully choreographed!) and a moving section of Romeo and Juliet in which the lovers lost their lives – there wasn’t a dry eye in the house!

The children performed to parents and their class mates and everyone was stunned at the level of accomplishment in their work. The children were so excited to work on their performances each week, as the feedback below suggests, they finished the project feeling excited about Shakespeare and keen to know more!

“This has been an excellent project for our class. I know all the staff and children will miss Kate and her enthusiasm to learn new skills and just have a go! The children are more willing and happy to engage in class drama. 10/10.” Andrea Hughes, Class Teacher, Bleak Hill Primary, St Helens
“Fantastic project – very rewarding both for the children and staff involved! I have learned so much, I have also gained confidence in delivering drama, on my own. The children have been able to explore so much – feelings/emotions, characters, language, stage presence, voice projection, eye contact etc. 10/10 – excellent!” Hannah McDermott, Class Teacher, Bleak Hill Primary, St Helens

We love delivering Shakespeare projects and our director Kate is passionate about making sure children (and teachers) are not scared of Shakespeare’s language but embrace it as part of the history and culture of our country. If you’re interested in exploring Shakespeare in your school then give us a call for a chat.