Primary Shakespeare Festival 2019

April 2019


Last term, King James hosted the annual two-day Primary Shakespeare Festival as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company's Associate Schools Project. Here, Year 12 student Kyle Blood reports on the event.

Each year a cluster of primary schools from the local area come together at King James to perform one of Shakespeare's famous plays. This year's play was one of the greatest romantic tragedies of all time, Romeo and Juliet.

Over two days in our Main Hall, eleven schools, including King James, performed a given scene from the tragic tale for an appreciative audience of parents, members of the Royal Shakespeare Company and a representative from the Theatre Royale in Newcastle.

The show also introduced parents to the "Shakespeare Ambassadors' from several schools; these are children who have expressed a passion for Shakespeare and his work and put themselves forward to represent their schools in Shakespeare-related activities such as this annual festival. They also work hard to promote learning about Shakespeare within their schools.

Georgia White, a member of the RSC who works closely with the Shakespeare Ambassadors, said, "All youngsters will study a Shakespeare text at school at some point, so it is important that they are fully engaged and able to access his work in an enjoyable way. Students realise that they can relate to the characters and themes of Shakespeare's work and this gives them a much greater understanding."

Fiona Clayton, the Programme Developer for the Associate Schools Project, attended on behalf of the RSC. She said, "We have learned a lot from working with schools and developed new ways to bring Shakespeare to life for the next generation. The project helps children get more involved with the RSC, especially those who may want to pursue a career in acting or backstage work, as each year we invite selected students to work with us in Stratford-upon-Avon. This helps with youth talent development."

The project has had fantastic feedback from both children and parents. Not only does it show young people that Shakespeare is worthy of their appreciation, but it also brings his work to the community.