Year 6 pupils at Northmead Junior School flexed their thespian muscles during a workshop led by Guildford Shakespeare Company. The children took part with energy and enthusiasm in many exercises that explored the language of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.
The school’s annual production was a version of this comedy and the Guildford Shakespeare Company were invited into school to help the children with speaking roles to develop their performances and to inspire a love of Shakespeare. The children thoroughly enjoyed the two-hour workshop and were delivering lines of poetry with great confidence and flair. Every pupil at Northmead had been busy learning songs and dances in preparation for their school play, when 120 fairies, dancing horses and a giant cobweb took to the stage!
Specialising in Shakespeare, and using non-theatre venues for their performances, GSC's fresh and inventive approach places the audience right at the heart of the action. From open-air performances to school workshops, from one-off events to Saturday drama clubs, GSC aspires to re-ignite the passion for live theatre, re-telling these wonderful, world-famous stories with relish, verve and an infectious sense of fun…and never dumbing down.
Once young people are given the opportunity to make Shakespeare their own, their confidence with the language grows, empowering them to develop their understanding and appreciation of the plays; which done properly, is an appreciation that can stay with them for life. All GSC's schools workshops are bespoke, practical and fun, designed to explore the text as a script written for performance, and complement the specifications for the main exam boards.
Matt Pinches, Producer from GSC, commented: "It is always so rewarding working with younger school pupils because they don't yet have any of the prejudices or misconceptions that Shakespeare can be tough. The children at Northmead were fantastic, showing no fears of getting to grips with the language and being physical with it too. The best way to tackle Shakespeare is to simply play with it - let the words and their rhythms do the work for you without worrying what it all means - and that's exactly what the pupils at Northmead did! It's a really great age to start introducing them to the magic of live Shakespeare.
Guildford Shakespeare Company’s next major production is Richard III, 10-12 February, Holy Trinity Church! www.guildford-shakespeare-company.co.uk