Shakespeare Week, the annual national celebration of Shakespeare in primary schools, is back for another year of Shakespearian fun.
This year children across the nation are invited to ‘Boogie with the Bard’ in an exciting programme of Shakespeare-inspired activities, challenges and events to be enjoyed in school, at home and at the Shakespeare Family Homes in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Organised by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Shakespeare Week 2022 runs from 21 – 27 March and carries the theme of movement and dance, using sport, dance and leisure in Shakespeare’s time as inspiration for an exploration of our physical wellbeing. Shakespeare mentions nearly 50 different sports and games in his plays, including archery, fencing and even football and tennis.
In line with the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, this year’s programme offers plenty of Shakespeare-themed activities and events for children to get active, including dance and circus skills performance based on The Tempest at the Birmingham Children’s Library, a Shakespeare-inspired workout led by CBeebies presenter Ben Cajee and the Shakespeare’s Eleven fantasy football-themed literacy resources developed by children’s author Matt Oldfield.
Sally Gray, education officer at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, said: “Building on the success of last year’s programme of wellbeing activities we want children to make the links between their physical and emotional wellbeing, something Shakespeare understood and wrote about over 400 years ago. For Shakespeare Week this year we will be encouraging children to take part in active learning experiences inspired by Shakespeare’s words and the stories he tells.
“As well as creative storytelling through dance and movement children will have the opportunity to learn about sport, dance and leisure in Shakespeare’s time through an online exhibition that showcases some of the treasures in our collection. As always, Shakespeare Week 2022 will make the nation’s favourite playwright exciting and accessible to a whole new generation.”
Shakespeare’s own story and his timeless works are amongst the most powerful and profound avenues for understanding ourselves and our experience in the world. This year’s theme is designed to offer teachers, home educators and parents with valuable cross-curricular resources and activities, using Shakespeare’s works and his language to inspire children to enjoy Shakespeare in fun and meaningful ways. All of the resources are available free of charge at www.shakespeareweek.org.uk.
Highlights for Shakespeare Week 2022
Launching Shakespeare Week on 21 March is a special BBC Teach Live Lesson broadcast for 7-11 year olds from Shakespeare’s Birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon. Watch children become history detectives, examining real historical sources to learn about Shakespeare’s life story and the times in which he lived. PLUS – tune in to inspiring broadcasts hosted by celebrity guests including a draw-along workshop with Horrible Histories illustrator Martin Brown and meet our Will Shakespeare puppet in Will’s Workout Warriors, hosted by CBeebies presenters Ben Cajee and Joanna Adeyinka Burford and puppeteer, Warrick Brownlow-Pike.
How do you ‘…still your beating mind’? (The Tempest, Act 4 Scene 1) Children age 4-11 are invited to take part in an exciting competition to explore Shakespeare’s words and think about how physical activity can support their emotional wellbeing. From football to yoga we want to hear how children calm their minds. Supporting the competition are CBeebies presenter Ben Cajee and children’s author Marcia Williams, who have prepared their own responses for inspiration. It could be a song, a video, piece of creative writing, poem, poster or artwork. Full details are available at www.shakespeareweek.org.uk/competition.
Stratford Celebrations – 26 & 27 March
At the heart of the celebration is a weekend of family fun at the Shakespeare Family Homes in Stratford-upon-Avon, with a lively, action-packed programme of events paying homage to Shakespeare’s life, works and times. Pick up a sword and hone your stage-combat skills at Shakespeare’s Birthplace. Explore the magical world of A Midsummer Night’s Dream through dance, and play your part in an interactive re-telling of The Tempest at Shakespeare’s New Place. Join the circus at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, testing your balance and co-ordination and learn how to juggle, diablo and plate-spin. All activities are free of charge and included in admission. Advance ticket booking is encouraged to avoid disappointment www.shakespeare.org.uk.
Other activities happening throughout the week include:
Walk the Shakespeare Mile – on Friday 25 March schools across the UK will be striding out with Shakespeare in a challenge to walk a mile dressed as Shakespeare characters. Can you stomp like Caliban, or flit like Titania? We can’t wait to see your photos – tag us on Twitter #ShakespeareWeek
Time to Play – an online exhibition inspired by sport and leisure in Shakespeare’s time curated by author Marcia Williams
Shakespeare Week in libraries – a number of libraries will be hosting their own Shakespeare Week activities based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Look out for details at your local library.
Shakespeare Week is developed by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s award-winning learning team, and supported by Arts Council England. Each year over 2 million children enjoy Shakespeare Week, which provides teachers, home educators and families with free tools to take Shakespeare into their classrooms or homeschooling, across every subject in the curriculum.
For more information see www.shakespeareweek.org.uk and @ShakespeareWeek.