Staging Shakespeare

Reflect TIE delivers an exciting and inspiring introduction to Shakespeare for children.  Shakespeare is widely associated with academic study and most children’s first experience of his work is during their English GCSE.

Highly experienced directors work with Primary School classes, or whole year groups, studying, rehearsing and directing a selected Shakespeare play, ready for performance at the end of the project. By introducing Shakespeare, at primary level, we help children to experience Shakespeare’s charm at an early age.  This means that, when they begin to study a Shakespeare text as part of the national curriculum, students have already been introduced to the bard correctly and positively.

We have a series of Shakespeare’s greatest stories which have been adapted to run under at an hour – making it less daunting and more manageable.  These plays still maintain Shakespeare’s language but have been reduced and tailored to make them more accessible to the primary age-bracket – in their simplicity, they are adapted to work for kids, without losing any of the beauty or power of the original play.

Children work with professional directors, from the auditions, right through to a fully-staged performance, with lights, sound, costume and props.  All practitioners have plenty of experience in directing children’s theatre and every child has a speaking part. Throughout the staging shakespeare process, each student involved learns valuable lessons about team-work, concentration and commitment as well as gaining great comprehension of the play in question and a sense of self-confidence and achievement.

Staging Shakespeare, as with all Reflect TIE’s projects, is extremely inclusive and can include children with special learning/care requirements.

Why Shakespeare?

  • Shakespeare is responsible for adding over 2000 words and phrases to the English language.
  • His plays provide a comprehensive and thoughtful look at the human condition and examine both the virtues and the vices of humankind.
  • As children study his plays, they are also able to study humanity and, in turn, learn to understand themselves better
  • His inspiration came from historical events, mythological tales, Biblical passages and folk tales – all of which are valuable sources and an important part of our history.
  • His plays often address difficult issues of morality, sin and mercy.  As such they encourage children to ask questions and provide great material to provoke meaningful discussions.
  • His plays have intricate plots with many twists and turns, providing an excellent exercise in logic.
  • The plays are thoroughly entertaining and stimulate children’s imagination.  Also, many of his plots and stories form the basis of modern films and plays.

Format

1: Shakespeare for children: The Auditions – directors run a ‘professional’ audition process.   Each child meets the directors, has the chance to talk about what involvement they would like to have in the play and is asked to read a short excerpt.

2: Casting and Read-through – with input from teachers, if required, directors will cast the play, ensuring that each child has a role which is appropriate, yet challenging.  We will meet together, as a cast, to familiarise ourselves with the play and the characters involved.  We will carry out a read-through and then extra work on the plot and themes of the piece.

3 : Rehearsals – Reflect Directors will run once-weekly/twice-weekly rehearsal sessions.  All of the children will be called in to rehearse in groups of different sizes, as the play is ‘blocked’ and staged.  During the rehearsal process, children will receive constant feedback as well as being encouraged to self-evaluate. As the process reaches its mid-point, any extra rehearsal sessions will be bookable through directors.

4:  Feedback  – Prior to performance, each child will receive a personalised hand-written card, reminding them of what they need to focus upon during performance and reminding them of their journey throughout the project.

5: Staging Shakespeare for kids: the Performance – The process will culminate in a fully staged performance/performances, with lights, sound, costumes and props

6: Report – The school will be provided with individual reports for each child at end of performances and an overall project summary

Plays we Offer

  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • Macbeth
  • Twelfth Night
  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • As You Like It
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • The Merchant of Venice
  • The Tempest
  • Julius Caesar
  • Henry V

What Teacher's Say

  • I have been working with Reflect Productions for the past 3 years. Reflect have brought a whole new energy to performing arts at St Paul’s CE Primary school. Many of our pupils come from disadvantaged backgrounds and have been given the opportunity to develop their confidence, shine in front of an audience and feel a great sense of achievement thanks to the outstanding work by Reflect. Kirsty and her team have inspired many of the young minds of St Pauls to continue in the world of performing arts. Reflect truly have been the most committed and professional external company that I have ever had the pleasure of working alongside in my nine years of teaching experience.

    Sophie Morfoot
    Assistant Headteacher
  • Magical! Reflect Productions simply has children at the heart of its work; the impact on confidence, self-control and enjoyment of the arts makes Reflect a must-have resource for any school! Well done for all you do. You guys rock!

    Headteacher
    Hammersmith

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