One of the world’s most historic ships, proudly docked in the European capital of graffiti, will form a stunning backdrop for a special performance of Shakespeare’s famous plays marking the launch of Shakespeare Week – the annual national celebration of Shakespeare in primary schools.
Children from two Bristol primary schools will be showcasing their Shakespearian learning with a performance of The Tempest and Romeo and Juliet at Brunel’s SS Great Britain. Organised by independent charity the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, this year’s Shakespeare Week carries the theme of Art and Design.
Pupils from Bannerman Road Community Academy and May Park Primary School have been taking part in a series of drama and grafitti workshops delivered by Bristol-based artists Graft and Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory (STF). The initiative is part of the new Shakespeare Hub Schools project, working with creative practitioners to provide children with a great first introduction of Shakespeare, via the arts. The scheme is delivered free to schools by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and supported by Arts Council England.
Jacqueline Green, head of learning and participation at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, said, “In the seven years that Shakespeare Week has been running we’ve demonstrated that making Shakespeare fun and accessible to young children has a positive impact in the development of their creativity, critical thinking and social skills. It’s clear that providing a culturally enriching first encounter of Shakespeare is benefiting children right across the country. By working with schools and cultural partners, we are supporting teachers to enthuse children with a passion for Shakespeare’s stories, language and heritage, inspiring curiosity and a desire to make discoveries of their own. All great preparation for the secondary curriculum, and their future lives.”
Families too can celebrate Shakespeare. Throughout the week, there will be a number of events in libraries and cultural organisations across the country, and of course in Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon. On Saturday 21 March, Shakespeare’s Birthplace will play host to a free family fun day, with activities such as an illustration workshop with Horrible Histories illustrator, Martin Brown, an animation station hosted by Ricky Martin from CBBC’s Art Ninja, and Shakespeare-inspired crafts with children’s author and illustrator, Marcia Williams.
Other highlights happening throughout Shakespeare Week include:
Shakespeare-themed activities in libraries across the country, including Shakespeare LEGO clubs and illustration workshops
The Big Shakespeare Book Hunt in 154 communities across the country, supported by Walker Books and the National Literacy Trust
Kids Zone online challenges for children to complete in school or at home including drawing comic strips, writing poetry or enjoying retellings of Shakespeare’s plays
Over 150 free resources for teachers, home educators and families covering subjects across the curriculum, including new step-by-step video tutorials from popular children’s illustrators on creating portraits of Shakespeare. There are also fun activity resources for educators to develop creative skills in the classroom
For more information see www.shakespeareweek.org.uk.