Tuesday 26th February, pupils aged 7- 9 discovered the wonders and humour of A Midsummer Night’s Dream when they attended a Shakespearean workshop. Led by professional actors from London’s Royal Central School of Speech and Drama – Beatrice Lawrence and Eoin McAndrew, throughout the morning pupils took part in physical theatre, Elizabethan dance and Shakespeare’s text.
The morning started with pupils being split into groups. Each group was then given a few lines from a scene in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The groups then had to recreate these scenes in such a way that a visitor could guess what the scene was. The scenes included the famous wall Pyramus and Thisbe whisper through, the lion that rips up Thisbe’s clothes, the Man in the Moon and the death of Pyramus.
Later in the workshop they learnt what an epilogue was. Evie Schmidt-Martin read the epilogue from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which Puck, the fairy normally delivers to the audience. The pupils learnt that its purpose is to thank the audience for their attendance, whilst reassuring them that the play is make-believe and not intended to offend; just entertain.
Evie said, “I loved the whole day, especially reading the epilogue. I love the way Shakespeare writes. It makes me imagine scenes really clearly and keeps me guessing as to the actual meaning. I am now really excited to perform in the Junior Forms’ play; Shakespeare on Trial.
The workshop ended with pupils learning the all-important extravagant Shakespearean bow, they even had a competition to see whose was the most elaborate.
Lynne Lawrence, Director of Drama said, “The children were focused and totally engaged throughout the series of exciting workshops led by classically trained professional Shakespearean actors. They embraced Shakespeare’s language and texts, creating wonderful scenes through imaginative physical theatre, which was a great deal of fun. This was invaluable preparation for their production of ‘Shakespeare on Trial’ later in the term, which features extracts from a number of The Bard’s plays.”