Performing Shakespeare

Suitable For: Year 4 to Year 6
Learning Focus: To explore the meaning of language in a play script by acting it out.

Performing Shakespeare can be seen as a hardship, torturous even but there are many ways to make it accessible. Here are two examples…

a)    Use a child friendly, abridged version. They’re mainly written as stories but they’re not too hard to change into a play script. You can even work together as a class to write it. The pupils will certainly get the idea of the stories, even if they don’t get to use much of the language. You can of course slip in well-known words and phrases from the original plays to add challenge.

b)    Select a passage or two, or a whole scene. In this way you don’t have reams of work which can put them off. You keep it short and can drop in different ‘actors’ to give all a go at the big parts. Read it together, work out what it’s all about to inform the pupils of the way they should say their lines.

You can even run it as a talent competition. ‘Who’s the Macbest?’ or ‘Wherefore art thou best Romeo?’ In this case, put the pupils into pairs or small groups and ask them to work on a passage, practising its performance and deciding on the style of the presentation. Do it for an assembly or as a performance to parents.

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