BRINGING the Bard to life are three Essex schools who are taking part in a national Shakespeare Festival next week.
Beginning rehearsals back in the summer, the students have worked hard breathing new life into centuries' old scripts and putting a new twist on well-loved classics.
The fruits of their labours will be on show on Tuesday, November 5, when the casts from Chelmer Valley High, Chelmsford County High School for Girls and New Rickstones Academy perform the plays at the Civic Theatre in Chelmsford.
The trio are among 100 schools nationally who have signed up to the festival this year. Each school chooses from a selection of about 20 Shakespeare classics and receives a specially adapted half- hour script which incorporates the key points of the play. After that it is up to them how they interpret the Bard's work.
To get them started the students were invited to the Civic in September for a workshop organised by the Shakespeare Schools Festival and led by professional actors. At Chelmer Valley High School, drama teacher Gemma Peacock and her cast have taken The Taming of the Shrew and set it in a 1950s diner, complete with a 1950s soundtrack to accompany it.
She said: We chose to set it in this time period as we wanted to use an era that highlighted women and their changing role in society. This allowed us to show major character Katherine as a headstrong woman and how her attitudes and beliefs could be changed by a man.
Setting the piece in the 1950s also meant we could wear colourful costumes and comical fancy dress.
Motivating Starring 25 students aged 13 and 14, Chelmsford County High School for Girls will perform Much Ado About Nothing.
Set in the traditional Elizabethan era, the production is co- directed by Acting Subject Leader for Drama and Theatre Studies Jo Broughton and sixth former Laura Broadway, 17.
Laura said: Although I've performed in many shows, this is the first time I've helped direct a play and I have enjoyed the responsibility and motivating the students, trying to inspire them with my enthusiasm.
Miss Broughton added: The school did take part before, about six or seven years ago but never had the chance to perform at the theatre as it was cancelled due to heavy snowfall. This is my first time of being involved as teacher-director, but I would very much like it to become a regular event. I chose Much Ado about Nothing because it's a Shakespearean rom-com where the protagonists bicker all the time and seem to hate each other, but you know they will eventually fall in love and end up together.
One teacher loves the Shakespeare Festival so much he has been a part of it for more than a decade.
It is Edward Hake's third year leading the Rickstones Academy, in Witham, through rehearsals and this time he has chosen As You Like It.
He said: I love the festival as it's an opportunity to show people what your students are doing and see what other schools are up to in terms of drama.
It's great to compare and contrast different schools' adaptations of classic Shakespeare plays. We always get schools coming up to us after our performance saying they like what we are doing, which is really nice.
I always try and choose plays that people do not always expect. We call our theatre group Twist because we like to take a play and add a twist so it does not coincidence with people's expectations.
A service of YellowBrix, Inc.
Most Popular Stories
- Adam Levine Wins Big as 'The Voice' Crowns Champ
- Target Security Breach May Affect 40 Million Cardholders
- Archer Daniels Midland Moving HQ to Chicago
- Tyson Foods Charged With Civil Rights Violation
- 'Beyonce' Tops the U.S. Album Chart
- Bernanke Lets Congress Have It in Final Press Conference
- Texting With Vodka: Booze and Social Media Can Mix After All
- Wall Street Falls a Day After Surge
- How to Protect Yourself After Target Data Breach
- Hispanic PR Firm Launches Chicago Chapter