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With the increase in Shakespeare to be taught in schools in the UK, an innovation thanks to Michael Gove, the minister for Education in the last government, it is interesting to note that there are different ways to approach the plays of Britain’s best-known playwright.

 

The Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford upon Avon has been very vocal about approaches to the teaching of Shakespeare in school. In fact it has a three-part approach:

Do Shakespeare on their feet – explore the plays actively as actors do
See It Live – participate as members of a live audience
Start It Earlier – work on the plays from a younger age

Ed Bancroft a teacher of thirty years has taken on the idea of Active Learning in authentic dramatic methodology and having worked with the University of Warwick to complete an advanced diploma in the teaching of Shakespeare he has formed company to follow this idea. Working with young people to do Shakespeare on their feet. The idea is to travel to different schools and work with teachers and young people to put Shakespeare at the centre, by acting out and developing an understanding of the language by speaking it out loud as actors do in preparation for a performance. Ed has worked in a variety of schools in England and appreciates the complexities of how young people learn. Children can be very engaged in Shakespeare if they can grasp the meanings of the poetry and the rhythm of the work, but are often lost in desk bound work. Shakespeare can present a barrier to some children as on the page it is difficult and confusing, but using physical theatre they can begin to disentangle the meanings and form a deeper connection to the world of Shakespeare. This line of study can be applied to other texts too; Ed has explored this with children in key stage three and with Advanced level English students very successfully.

Ages:

KS1 Age 5-7, KS2 Age 7-11, KS3 Age 11-13, KS4 Age 14-16, KS5 Age 16-18

Locations:

Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, North Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire

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