If I had a pound for every person who has said to me “I hate Shakespeare, it’s so boring” then I would be a very wealthy woman. However it’s often the case that their only experience of the Bard’s work was many years ago in a classroom at school. So it is fantastic to see that Shakespeare is being brought to life for the school children of today, by the efforts of the RSC, local theatres and schools.
The latest play to be given the 21st Century treatment is one of my favourites, The Tempest, a story of treachery, injustice, revenge, magic and love. The Royal Shakespeare Company continues its commitment to creating living theatre for young audiences with its First Encounters With Shakespeare production of The Tempest this March when it visits Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Primary School on 28th February and Blackpool Grand Theatre on 2 to 4 March. Working with the RSC and The Grand, Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Primary School is part of the Associate Schools Programme, the aim of which is to bring about significant changes in the ways in which young people experience, engage with and take ownership of the work of Shakespeare.
The Tempest tells the story of the exiled Duke, Prospero, who lives on a crazy island, along with his daughter, Miranda. They have survived in the wilderness for so long in the wilderness thanks to Prospero’s knowledge of magic. After a shipwreck introduces his beloved daughter to a stranger from their homeland, she falls in love. Miranda begins to rebel against her father’s power and Prospero faces an impossible dilemma: risk forgiving his enemies or losing his daughter.
This gripping story of love and reconciliation overcoming fear and control is an ideal first introduction to Shakespeare for anyone aged 8 and above. Using Shakespeare’s original language, this edited version lasts for 90 minutes and includes an interactive introduction to the world of the play.
Jackie O’Hanlon, Education Director of the RSC said “Many of us have our first encounter with Shakespeare at school, an experience which can define our attitude to live theatre and to Shakespeare for all of our lives. This tour of the schools will bring the excitement and wonder of Shakespeare’s work right into the heart of our schools, regional theatres and local communities. Our First Encounters With Shakespeare tour is testament to the profound impact that partnerships with schools and theatres can have on the life chances of students – partnerships forged out of a shared vision for education in which access to the arts plays a central part.”
This is a fantastic opportunity for local youngsters to get to grips with the work of our greatest playwright. For those who are still averse to a bit of Shakespeare, the 21st century production is the ideal vehicle to change your mind. Go with an open mind and, I promise, you’ll love it!
Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Primary School: Tuesday 28 February 1.30pm (schools performance) and 7.00pm (public performance)
Grand Theatre Blackpool: Thursday 2 March 10.15am and 2.00pm & Friday 3 March 2pm and 7pm
For tickets or further information please contact Blackpool Grand Theatre 01253 290190 www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk
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