Our Shakespeare Drama Festival Buzzing The corridors and classes of Emmer Green have been filled with excited chatter about star-crossed lovers, mischievous fairies and wicked witches as our Shakespeare Festival started on Monday 6th July. Thanks to a generous contribution by the PTFA, we were able to invite the Young Shakespeare Company in for a week long residency. They have been working with Years 2-5, bringing them into the magical world of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
day afternoon. Our youngest pupils have not missed out on professional input either as the ‘Shakespeare4kidz’ group visited Foundation and Year 1 on Monday 16th July. The classes were treated to an interactive retelling of A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, told in simpler but no less effective way.
Years Two, Three and Four have been taking part in two hour workshops in which the intricate story is explored through storytelling, prediction, mime, improvisation and song.
Although the original language of Shakespeare is challenging, the stories that he told are still appealing and engaging for children and, if told in an accessible way, can be enjoyed by even the youngest of audiences. From the naughty fairies and tragic Juliet, to the tortured Hamlet and sword slashing Macbeth, the plots of the plays certainly give modern cinema blockbusters a run for their money!
“When the Shakespeare festival was first planned, I had reservations as this is a difficult topic. However, in terms of language, understanding and sheer enthusiasm, the children have far exceeded my expectations. The whole festival has been a real success!” enthused Mrs Crossman. Hopefully, Emmer Green Primary will see more of the Bard in years to come...
Meanwhile, Year 5 have worked more intensively with the actors and their dramatic effort was showcased in a brilliant performance to their parents on Thurs-
W H Y S T U D Y S H A K E S P E A R E I N P R I M A R Y ?
The whole Shakespeare experience has been richly rewarding for pupils and teachers alike and the high quality of artwork and literacy inspired by his plays has been amazing.
A r t Miss Rogers set a challenge for our Art competition this year as pupils were asked to create either a picture or a 3D model of Shakespeare or one of his characters. The entries were beautifully varied and have been on display in the entrance hall. Well done to all of the entrants!
C o m p e t i t i o n The lucky winners were: Foundation: Ye Shan Infants: Joseph (1EW) Juniors: Tara (3LB) Special Prize: Sophia A
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F o u n d a t i o n Age is no barrier to learning Shakespeare’s stories, as our littlest ones have joined in the fun too! Over in the three Foundation classrooms, the children have been making wedding invitations for the characters and writing potions. They even had a go and making some potions, using glitter, food colouring and all sorts! Exploring the complex subplots of A Midsummer
Night’s Dream has been made easier by the purchase of software from the Early Shakespeare company. The story has been animated and is clearly narrated by a cartoon of Shakespeare, with selected lines of the original script. Have a look yourself at wwwearlyshakespeare.com
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“A huge thanks to Mrs Cooke for making the gorgeous costumes that have been on display in the entrance hall and which were used by Year 4 for their Romeo and Juliet drama”
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Year 4 report that they’ve had fantastic time learning about Shakespeare. The children were initially nervous, especially when they looked at the plays in original language. However, after some explanation and study of the language, the children picked up the vocabulary quickly and had a go at paraphrasing some Shakespearean language, including the infamous insults!
Shrinking Potion One pinch of shrinking powder. Some Sharks tooth. A creepy crawly One eyebrow. If you drink it you will become tinier than a crumb. By Edward FSR
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Year 4 were very lucky to have the input of Elaine Mountford, a professional thespian (and EG mum!), who came in to run a drama workshop. The children were split into small groups and after playing some great drama games, they really got into the spirit of Shakespeare by performing a few acts from Romeo and Juliet. They then had the opportunity to perform to another year group later on in the week, wearing the beautiful Shakespearian costumes which Mrs Cooke had kindly created.
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The result was superb acting and they really looked the part! Mrs Chauhan-Wall and Miss Mitchell would like to say a really big thank you to everyone who helped to bring Shakespeare alive for Year 4.
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Double, double, toil and trouble...our Year 2 have been casting their own spells as they have explored the tragedy of Macbeth this week.
Our ever eager Year 2s have also been studying the stories of Hamlet, Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet and Julius Caesar and have enjoyed comparing and contrasting the themes of the plays. Some even wrote a letter to Mr Shakespeare to tell him of their preferences!
The children wrote their own witches scenes, coming up with their rhyming gruesome ingredients to add to their cauldrons. We had delights such as “eye of a screeching crocodile, a smelly dinner that’s been left out for
Over in Year 1, the children have been inspired by the story of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and have been exploring the ideas of dreams and wishes more closely. What else could happen in the magic wood? What would you wish for if you met a fairy?
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Both classes made beautiful wishing trees as result.
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pictures based in the characters!
Some of the Year 1 pupils were so inspired by their new knowledge of Shakespeare that they have formed a ‘Shakespeare Club’ in their playtime to play out versions of his stories and to make
P o e t r y
Lounging around in my heart you are like a graceful swan.
Oceans of love sweep around me as I glimpse your elegant beauty.
Violets of love floats through my heart whilst I your sweet voice.
Excitement flows with me , meanwhile your love sweeps towards me.
I will always worship you Softly I transport for my love to you.
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a while” as the children acted out the witches scene in costume, using their scariest voices. These were then filmed- look out for some on the school website!
Having already enjoyed the lighter side of Shakespeare’s magical woods , Year 2 turned their attention to the darker tale of Macbeth and the three witches who prophesize Macbeth’s rise and downfall.
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By Amy and Benedict 3LB
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After learning the story of Shakespeare’s tragic Romeo and Juliet, Year 3 have been getting into the romantic mood and started the week by writing acrostic love poems. As you can see, they really got into character! They have also been learning and reciting parts of Shakespeare’s most famous sonnet and, like other year groups, tried their hand at writing with a quill. Other fun activities have included making a puppet show to retell the story of Romeo and Juliet,
which was then performed to the class. Asked for a their thoughts on the Shakespeare festival, Matthew (3LB) said, “I’d give it ten out of ten because I really wanted to know about Shakespeare and now I do. His stories were very good.” Miko (3LB) added, “ I found the pronunciation of some of the words in the sonnets hard at first but I enjoyed it. I have a book about Shakespeare and now I know all the stories”
YEAR 5 Our Year 5 children had the benefit of four days of professional dramatic input as two actors from the Young Shakespeare Company directed them in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The children were divided into small groups and each group performed a scene using their singing and acting skills. The children were amazingly keen and rehearsed hard in order to put on a spectacular performance to their parents on Thursday afternoon. Olive Botting and Alex Eibisch (5SPJ) said of the experience, “ It was really fun. The Young Shakespeare actors were really talented people who knew what they were doing. The perform-
ance went really well and James and Sheldon were just hilarious. Our parents said they thought we were all very talented”. Mrs Slaughter, teaching assistant in Year 5, commented: “I thought the children totally excelled themselves. The children who are naturally more reserved particularly seemed to blossom and found the confidence to perform.” As well as their acting extravaganza, Year 5 have been busy brushing up on their artistic skills. They have been drawing pictures of William Shakespeare himself and making papier maiche busts of him, using balloons!
Y e a r As well as rehearsing for their own brilliant production ‘Spotlight’, Year 6 have been busy getting to grips with Shakespeare too. On Monday 16th July, they visited Highdown School and spent a whole day in the drama studio with Mr Lindsay and some of his Year 12 drama students.
After some lively drama warm-ups, the children watched a performance of “The Shakespeare Show” which had been specially created for them. Including raps, comedy, singing and much original Shakespeare script, it told the life and works of the Bard. Following this treat, Year 6 then brushed up on their own acting skills and had great fun hurling Shakespearean insults at each other:
“Madam, thou weedy toad-spotted barnacle!” “Sir, thou craven common kissing clotpole.” After hearing more of Shakespeare’s work in “Sliced Ham..let” and “Macbeth and the Witches”, the children then had a go at putting together their own “Shakespeare Stew” in small groups. Alongside the Year 12 drama coaches, they came up with their stories, based on the ingredients of Shakespeare’s plays, and finished the day by performing to each other. The whole experience was a rewarding introduction to drama at secondary school level and had the children buzzing. As well as learning about the great playwright and his works, the children also learned what it takes to be a convincing actor and to see firsthand what the talented Year 12 pupils were capable of.
A huge thanks goes to Mr Lindsay and his drama students for putting in so much work this term to make it an unforgettable experience.