Two Weeks to Shakespeare Week
The stage is set for Shakespeare Week - two weeks to go until classrooms across the UK bring the Bard to life.
05 March 2014
Digital Theatre has opened up its entire back catalogue of filmed Shakespeare performances free of charge to primary schools during the first Shakespeare Week, 17-23 March 2014. The online resource will give children across the UK a virtual seat in the front row of some of the UK’s leading theatres, with productions featuring stars including Catherine Tate, David Tenant and David Morrissey.
This is just one of more than 20 special offers and activities that are available to the 2000+ schools that have signed up to the new annual campaign led by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, to bring the playwright vividly to life for an estimated half a million primary school children across the UK.
Creative Producer of Digital Theatre Plus Fiona Lindsay says, “We’re thrilled to be part of Shakespeare Week. Our ambition is to offer the best possible access to our rich cultural heritage – wherever you are, whoever you are. We’re delighted to be helping teachers to bring these world-class performances to life at the touch of a button”.
Teachers in their thousands are downloading more than 100 free resources created by the Trust and other arts and heritage organisations to help children as young as 7 to take their first steps with Shakespeare across the curriculum from fashion, film-making and finger puppets to making a Tudor banquet and learning about the plague flea. Currently the most popular resources are Going Tudor Shopping, Idioms and active sessions inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
The campaign is also offering digital content to help teachers engage youngsters, enlisting the help of education games media specialists, Game Gurus to bring to life an animated William Shakespeare who has fun in some of the classroom subjects on offer through Shakespeare Week.
Children taking part in Shakespeare Week at school will be able to continue their Shakespearian adventure outside the classroom and with their families, with an individual Passport to Shakespeare that gives them exclusive discounts and access to special events, exhibitions and productions taking place at the theatres, museums, libraries, galleries and historic sites taking part UK-wide.
Schools which missed the deadline for ordering hard copies of the Passports can download digital copies for their pupils by visiting the Classroom Resources page at www.shakespeareweek.org.uk
“The response from schools has been phenomenal. We launched Shakespeare Week with the ambition of involving three million primary school children over the next five years. We are starting the first Week with the prospect of giving half a million children a great first encounter with Shakespeare, well beyond our initial estimates. We have worked closely with practicing teachers to shape Shakespeare Week to provide free, flexible resources for use not just in the subjects of English and drama but across the entire curriculum” says Jacqueline Green, Head of Learning and Participation at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. “We are hearing some fantastic reports about how teachers are introducing the bard to our young generation, which demonstrates that Shakespeare still has a very relevant part to play in the education of our children”.
Baroness Floella Benjamin is an ambassador for the campaign. In her Queen’s Debate speech on education in the House of Lords, she called for Shakespeare Week to become a permanent fixture in our schools calendar. She said “I’m particularly proud to be involved with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s new national schools and cultural campaign to open up Shakespeare’s legacy to every child in Britain. I have seen at first hand how joyfully and enthusiastically young people react when they are exposed to Shakespeare. Shakespeare Week is a bold and original approach to cultural learning and I hope we can make it a permanent annual celebration that will give our children the chance to feel that they are part of something great”.
Shakespeare Week is supportedusing public funding by Arts Council England (ACE). The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust was awarded £150,000 from the ACE Renaissance Strategic Fund to support the first two Shakespeare Weeks in 2014 and 2015.
A taster of the special offers and discounts available to primary school children taking part in Shakespeare Week are:
- Win a Horrible Histories Magazine full of foul facts and putrid quizzes
- Discounts on DVD animations of Shakespeare’s plays from Shakespeare Schools Festival
- 20% off at Paperchase for everything budding crafters and little artists need
- £5 off the newly launched Wallbook of Shakespeare from What on Earth Publishing
For more information visit www.shakespeareweek.org.uk
Contact: Nancy Collantine or Rose Allerston at Fido PR:
About the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust:
- The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is the independent charity that cares for the world’s greatest Shakespeare heritage sites in Stratford-upon-Avon, and promotes the enjoyment and understanding of Shakespeare’s works, life and times all over the world.
- The charity runs formal and informal educational programmes for people of all ages.
- It holds the world’s largest Shakespeare-related museum and archives open free to the public, a collection which is designated as being of international importance.
- The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust receives no regular direct revenue funding; it depends on income generated through the support of visitors, donors, grant funders, volunteers and Friends.
- For further information visit www.shakespeare.org.uk
Digital Theatre Plus
Digital Theatre Plus is a celebrated online resource of some of the best productions of plays that have been staged in British theatres in recent years.
During Shakespeare Week, Digital Theatre Plus will offer all participating schools free access to its rich library of Shakespeare productions and related resources. All participating schools will also be eligible to a discount on a full 12-month sub.