Shakespeare Week is the nationwide annual celebration organised by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to give Primary school children a great first encounter with the famous playwright.
Shakespeare Week 2016 will shine a spotlight on the writer around the UK in the year that celebrates 400 years of his legacy.
Get your class involved with one or more of these celebratory events – perfect opportunities to take pupils outside of the classroom, especially for History, English and Drama excursions.
What: Westminster Workshops
Where: Westminster Abbey, London
When: 15th-17th March
Westminster Abbey is celebrating Shakespeare Week with special interactive workshops for schools. Led by a professional actor, the workshops will challenge pupils to deliver Henry V’s St. Crispin’s Day speech to inspire their troops (taken from the history play Henry V).
They will also be treated to a Tudor-themed tour of the abbey, and will see the final resting places of many of Shakespeare’s Kings.
What: Witches or Wise Women? The trial of Macbeth’s Weird Sisters
Where: Galleries of Justice Museum, Nottingham
When: Throughout the year
Pupils can experience a Macbeth-themed mock trial in a real courtroom at the iconic Galleries of Justice Museum, which is ideal to engage children with group work and problem solving.
Aimed at Year 5 and 6 students, this one-hour interactive educational workshop will provide an introduction to the history of James I’s anti-witchcraft laws.
During Macbeth‘s Weird Sisters on Trial: Witches or Wise Women, the school group will decide if they were wise women or something more sinister and powerful.
Pre-visit activities will be available to support the session.
What: Shakespeare Week
Where: Warwick Castle, Warwick
When: 14th-20th March
Warwick Castle will celebrate Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary by running a series of school events, including workshops and a trail.
Shakespeare Workshops, costing £2 per pupil, allow children to learn about how Shakespeare portrayed real life individuals as characters in his plays, and are very suitable for Drama students.
Follow a workshop with a trail, led by members of the history and acting teams at Warwick. Students can enjoy performances by characters such as Richard III, Warwick the Kingmaker, and Anne Neville.
Alternatively, opt for a quiz trail about Shakespeare around the castle. These are available for both Primary and Secondary schools to take part in.
What: Stratford Open Day for Warwickshire Schools
Where: The Shakespeare Centre, Stratford-upon-Avon
When: 15th March, 10am-3pm
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and Holy Trinity Church are staging a free open day for Warwickshire Primary Schools.
The open day will be packed full of hands-on Shakespeare inspired activities, such as a history-themed trail around Stratford-upon-Avon town, following in the playwright’s footsteps.
Schools will also have the chance to visit Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Harvard House and Hall’s Croft and step behind the scenes to meet the experts.
At the RSC, pupils are invited to work with Voice and Music experts and take part in workshops on A Midsummer Night’s Dream or Othello.
Follow up with a visit to Holy Trinity Church that will enable children to see where Shakespeare was baptized, where he worshipped and where he is buried.
What: The Bard is Back in Town
When: Dates throughout March
Make the capital a point of interest during your Shakespeare celebrations and take your class to explore iconic landmarks and the streets of London using a newly created map featuring Shakespeare quotes and their sources.
The map provides an interactive way to introduce pupils to over 100 famous lines from Shakespeare plays as well information about the plays themselves.
Students will also discover some of London’s past and present locations which have direct links to Shakespeare and some his works.
What: West End Shakespeare Workshops
When: Throughout the year
Taking a class to a bespoke workshop in a West End studio is ideal as part of a Drama or English trip, and will see Shakespeare’s language brought to life.
Workshops are led by professional actors, directors and theatre practitioners working in the industry today. Sessions include drama games, voice and speech techniques, learning how to create characters, and understanding the Shakespearean language.
All workshops are participatory, teaching practical techniques to understand Shakespeare from an actor’s perspective.
Workshops last two or three hours and are available for groups of 25 or more.