Celebrate Shakespeare in your school with an interactive drama-based workshop from as creatives! available to schools throughout the UK and beyond. Teacher CPD workshops also available!
William Shakespeare is now firmly back on the national curriculum – but he’s never actually been away. Everyone knows his face and the names of a play or two – and we’re all aware of his association with Stratford-Upon-Avon.
Our highly interactive Shakespeare workshops for Schools (suitable for EYFS - KS4), all delivered by professional theatre practitioners, actively build on prior knowledge to support pupils in understanding Shakespeare's stories and characters – and we certainly don’t shy away from the verse!
What better time to celebrate Shakespeare than during Shakespeare Week! Taking place from the 18th - 24th March 2019 your school can book one of our exciting, engaging and experiential workshops - informative for both pupils and staff alike! All of the workshops can be differentiated for age and require a minimum of 60 minutes (although we prefer longer) – preferably in a large space. And we’ll leave you with a whole host of suggestions for follow-up writing activities!
Spotlight On Shakespeare
Over four hundred years since his death, Shakespeare’s poetry is still being read, performed and listened to all over the world – which says something for its power and beauty! This experiential and highly active workshop sees pupils being introduced to a number of drama activities and approaches as we take them right through the play, exploring the backstory, meeting the main characters and bringing key moments to life. Our Shakespeare programmes are all planned and delivered by professional theatre practitioners, and so give pupils a uniquely “actor’s eye view” of the text. We certainly don’t shy away from the verse - and our approaches work with any of the plays!
Exploring (depending on time): the importance of backstories, narrative structure, characterisation, cause and effect, simple stagecraft, the role of verse.
Duration: 1 hour – 1 day, depending on the number of classes.
"The workshop was absolutely excellent and surpassed my expectations. I loved the way the children really got into the text, which was my aim. The thing that surprised was the breadth of Jo's experience which resulted in such a rich experience for the children. The children loved it and were very focused throughout." (Rebecca Thompson, Speech and Drama Teacher, Silverhill School)
"I would like to thank you for the excellent Shakespeare day you delivered before Easter. The children adored it and have regularly spoken about it since - many saying it was their favourite day of Year 6! (Teacher, Hasland Junior School)
Shaking Up Shakespeare
Nick Bottom, one of the amateur actors at the heart of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, is convinced he can do anything – play any role, sing, dance and direct! This sideways look at the play relocates the action to a television studio, where performers, judges, presenters and the audience are readying themselves for a recording of “Athens’ Got Talent”. Mixing structured improvisation with lines from Shakespeare’s text, children will explore some of the major characters (including the lovers, the fairies, the mechanicals and the Athenian court) – and ways that their interactions change and develop as the story goes on. And in longer workshops you’ll be left with an innovative piece of theatre that can be shown to parents, other pupils or the wider community!
Exploring (depending on time): the power of metaphor, characterisation, cause and effect, simple stagecraft, narrative structure, the role of verse.
Duration: 1½ hours – 2½ hours, depending on the number of classes.
"I just wanted to say how much we all enjoyed the Shakespeare workshops delivered by Jackson this week. I received only positive feedback from staff and I was very impressed with the level of engagement from all the pupils in the workshops I took part in. Thank you! (Marion Tunstall, Alderton Juniors)
Stage Your Own Shakespeare!
One of our professional theatre practitioners will bring our specially abridged "Forty Five Minute Macbeth" and spend a day directing your pupils as they rehearse it. By the end of the day they'll have explored all the characters, mastered the verse and learnt the moves - and we'll also provide you with a list of cheap and/or easy to make costume and prop suggestions. All you'll have to do then is continue rehearsing them (making sure they learn their lines!) until you have a performance fit for an audience!
Exploring: character and characterisation, narrative structure, Shakespearean verse and prose, performance skills, staging.
Suitable for: KS2 (Years 5/6) - KS4, up to four classes over the course of a single day.
"The workshop was absolutely fantastic. The students were all engaged and entertained. The workshop was suitable for all abilities which was wonderful. Students gained a joyful and interesting introduction to Shakespeare. They also improved confidence as they took part in readings and interactive activities. I was surprised by how engaging Jo was, all of the students loved her.Thank you to as creatives for a wonderful day." (Sarah Preece Library Co-ordinator, Thornleigh School)
Snippets of Shakespeare
It’s unlikely that any of Shakespeare’s actors ever saw full copies of the plays they appeared in, instead using “cue cards” for rehearsals. And this challenging workshop builds on that theatre history. After taking part in drama exercises designed to explore the principal characters of “Romeo and Juliet” (and unlock the power of verse), this unique workshop sees pupils separating into small groups, each given all the information they need (and armed with examples of verse and/or prose), to plan, prepare and perform specified elements of the overall play. The workshop culminates in all the scenes being performed in sequence – with each being peer reviewed by its audience.
This approach can be used to explore any of Shakespeare’s plays – and for primary schools we would also particularly recommend “Macbeth”, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “The Tempest”.
Exploring (depending on time): theatre history, narrative structure, characterisation, cause and effect, simple stagecraft, the role of verse.
Duration: 1 hour – 2½ hours, depending on the number of classes.
"You helped us understand the play in an unusual but fun way. You really inspired me to read Macbeth and your energy made me want to do something similar to what you are doing in future. I really hope you can visit our school again.” (Pupil, Pedmore Technology College)
Shakespeare's Seven Ages – All the World’s a Stage
After working as a whole group to explore and dramatise Jacques’ famous speech from “As You Like It”, children are introduced to a simple technique for making Padded Puppets. They then collaborate in smaller groups, each creating seven puppets, one for each Stage of Man – before staging their puppet shows for each other. With younger children we’ll work with simplified versions of Shakespeare’s text – but, whatever their ages, they’ll all be introduced to iambic pentameter in workshops that can (depending on the time available) explore Shakespeare’s life and times, narrative structure, fine motor skills, characterisation and simple puppetry.
"We were SO impressed with the workshops this year - both Year 8 and Year 9 loved them and really learnt a lot from them." (Head of Faculty for English, MFL and Drama, Fairfield High School)
Shakespeare for GCSE and A Level
Give your students an insider’s perspective of the play they’re studying, and a chance to shine in their exams, by exploring key scenes and/or themes and/or characters in dramatic detail. Tied to the relevant syllabus, these workshops will be informed by your needs - and the more time you can give us wit your cohort the better!
The Poetry of Shakespeare
Shakespeare’s greatest characters change as the plays they inhabit progress. So Macbeth moves from acting as his country’s brave and loyal servant to betraying it in a sea of blood. Juliet changes from a spoilt and truculent teenager to a tragic heroine – and Prospero undergoes a complete sea change from vengeful sorcerer to paragon of forgiveness. This experiential workshop uses drama techniques to introduce students to characters from a play of your choice, then introduces them to Clerihews – four line, descriptive, rhyming poems.
Exploring depending on age, focus and time): backstories, narrative structure, characterisation, cause and effect, simple stagecraft, the roles of verse and prose, iambic pentameter, the power of metaphor, theatre history, “hidden stage directions”, Shakespearean conventions.
Duration: 1 lesson – 1 day, depending on focus and number of classes
"I’d like to say a huge thank you to Jackson for his delivery of our Shakespeare poetry workshop…the students have really enjoyed learning about Shakespeare in a very active way. All members of staff were very impressed with Jackson and have all commented on how they cannot wait to use some of the techniques to inform their future practice. I’m sure we will be looking to work with you again in the future.” (Creative Curriculum Leader, Guardian Angels Catholic Primary School)
Ways into Shakespeare (Teacher CPD workshop / INSET Day)
Supporting you in rising to the challenges of the new curriculum, this highly engaging and experiential workshop, which can be booked as a twilight or half-day or whole-day INSET, explores ways of using Shakespeare to develop pupils’ understanding of text through speculating, hypothesising and exploring ideas. In addition, of course, it will equip you with a range of approaches that can be transferred to any Shakespeare play!
“Lots of great ideas that I can apply to my GCSE teaching – and loads of accessible and fun ways of introducing Shakespeare to lower school classes too!” (English Teacher, Fazakerley High)
Shakespeare Workshops for Schools - Learning Outcomes
- Familiarisation with characters and narrative
- Understanding of text
- Awareness of Shakespeare’s "hidden stage directions"
- Shakespearean conventions
English, Drama, History, Art, Science
For full details of our Shakespeare Workshops for Schools please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0151 708 8886.
Download the Shakespeare leaflet
Shakespeare Week - 18 - 24th March 2019
Shakespeare Week is a national annual celebration giving primary school children a great first encounter with Shakespeare. Find out more by visiting http://shakespeareweek.org.uk/