This is part of an ongoing series of regional Shakespeare coverage. This is Hannah Brewer here this week with the latest in Shakespeare news from The Isle Of Wight.
National Shakespeare Week, a pioneering initiative coordinated by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, seeks to bring primary educated children closer to the Bard. Schools, organisations and parents across the country took part in the event, taking advantage of the insightful and child-friendly resources. Schools and libraries across the Isle of Wight also took part by staging workshops, cinema screenings and leading specialised lessons.
I went along to Sandown Library in order to watch a collaboration workshop alongside the Isle of Wight Shakespeare Company (IWSC). The hour-long workshop briefly, but concisely, introduced children and their families to Shakespeare’s legacy and why he is such an importance influence in literature in modern teaching.
The company provided children with a playful activity pack that followed the workshop’s content, offering enough visual stimulation to compliment the information given. Children were also treated to a small performance of scenes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The company focused on the comedy of the text and implemented physical comedy as a way of communicating the language to its young audience.
The actors were careful to involve the audience as much as possible with asides, allowing further understanding of the progression of scenes. Having watched the scene, its audience were then quizzed on specifics and, quite remarkably, the captivated young scholars showed an incredible understanding of the text they had witnessed.
The company managed to maintain the attention of its class for the entirety of the workshop with a well balanced pace, combining both literary and theatrical elements in their teaching. What I took from this experience, and what I believe to be of great importance, was the children’s willingness and indeed desire to learn. Perhaps those who seek to remove Shakespeare from our curriculum should take note.
National Shakespeare Week happens annually throughout March, while schools, organisations and families are encouraged to take part.
For more information on National Shakespeare Week, visit their website.