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Bigger and better – celebrating the Bard in 2015

Date Posted: 19/12/2014

As part of Shakespeare Week Warwickshire schools will be invited to take part in a new Key Stage 2 workshop introducing Shakespeare called ‘Getting to know Will’. The workshop will include a guided tours of Shakespeare’s Birthplace to learn all about the Bard, from cradle to grave, through Drama and living History.

Following the success of the inaugural Shakespeare Week, the education team has also announced the introduction of a wider outreach programme for schools in Birmingham and Coventry.

As part of a series of events, children will be able to explore the many parts Shakespeare played in his own lifetime.

The sessions aim to capture children’s imaginations as they learn about William the boy, the actor, the townsman and the playwright, through interactive activities based on the trust’s collections.

What’s happening at the Shakespeare sites in Stratford? 

During the opening event in Stratford-upon-Avon, local schools will be invited to plant wild flowers mentioned in Shakespearean plays at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage.

Children will also be given the opportunity to learn more about A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the main focus of next year’s week, in Drama workshops held by established actors. 

Following this, pupils will have the opportunity to work with a visual artist to create three storyboards of The Dream.

These boards will then form the backdrop for the Shakespeare Week’s final celebrations on 21st March, when puppeteers will perform a children’s version of the play, which everyone participating in the Stratford activities during the week will be invited to watch.

Schools visiting Stratford-upon-Avon during the event will be able to join representatives from the trust’s education team at each of the Shakespeare Houses to make puppets, props, masks and scenery relating to the play.

Everyone participating in the activities will be invited to the puppet show at the end of the week.

Glove-making workshops will take place at Shakespeare’s Birthplace including the opportunity for pupils to make their own glove puppets based around A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

At Hall’s Croft there will be classes in making fairy folk masks inspired by The Dream, such as Puck, Peasblossom, Mustardseed or Titania.

Inspire pupils with the woodland walk at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and then help to create the trust’s very own Forest of Arden. Using a variety of materials, children will make flowers mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays and decorate branches. A fun challenge will be to see if your students can match the flowers to their Tudor names, like pauncies, dafadowndillies and dazies.

At Mary Arden’s Farm students can make animal puppets from A Midsummer Night’s Dream and have a go at acting scenes from the play-within-the-play and get ready to perform at Theseus's and Hippolyta's wedding.

Shakespeare Week across the UK

Venues across the UK are celebrating the Bard alongside Stratford-upon-Avon. Here are three activities for schools to choose from. Teachers should keep checking the official Shakespeare Week website for details of further events, which will be announced in due course.

Date: 16th to 20th March
Activity: Shakespeare's World and Works
Venue: Weald & Downland Open Air Museum, Chichester

Join the team at Weald to find out more about everyday life in Shakespeare's England and take part in active drama sessions to explore a play. At the end of the day each group will present the element they have prepared for each other so the plot of the full play is shared.

Date: 17th to 22nd March
Activity: Shakespeare Family Trail
Venue: The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Discover paintings of people who lived in Shakespeare's time, and the kinds of objects that were used by characters in his plays, with a specially designed trail around the Fitzwilliam Museum. 

Date: 22nd March
Activity: Meet the Tudors
Venue: Compton Verney, Warwickshire

Drop-in workshops, themed around the Tudor portraits in Compton Verney’s art collection will be available. Children can see the portraits, learn more about the historical characters and the times they lived in, and dress up in replica costumes.

Compton Verney also runs an ongoing schools programme, ‘Face to Face’, based on its Tudor portraits. 

For more information visit www.shakespeareweek.org.uk.

School Travel Organiser's Guide