Hartlepool youngsters get to grips with Shakespeare

Pupils at Barnard Grove Primary School, Hartlepool, taking part in a version of Midsummer Nights Dream as part of Shakespeare Week with Play in a Day.
Pupils at Barnard Grove Primary School, Hartlepool, taking part in a version of Midsummer Nights Dream as part of Shakespeare Week with Play in a Day.

Hartlepool pupils were able to get to grips with Shakespeare when they took part in an innovative ‘Play in a Day’ experience.

As part of national Shakespeare Week, youngsters at Barnard Grove Primary School took part in a workshop with Konflux Theatre in Education.

Laura Rea of Play in a Day helping pupils at Barnard Grove Primary School, Hartlepool, with a version of Midsummer Nights Dream as part of Shakespeare Week.

Laura Rea of Play in a Day helping pupils at Barnard Grove Primary School, Hartlepool, with a version of Midsummer Nights Dream as part of Shakespeare Week.

The day-long session saw the key stage two children learn about Shakespeare’s play ‘A Midsummers Night’s Dream’ and then perform their own version of it that same day.

The visit from the Play in a Day team aimed to provide the children with an opportunity to engage with Shakespeare in a unique way.

The play was specially adapted by Duncan Campbell into a Konflux Theatre in Education ‘Play in a Day’ in order to provide an engaging accompaniment to the study of the text in the classroom.

During the day pupils studied the play, which depicts the adventures of four young lovers, a group of amateur actors in a moonlit forest and their interactions with the fairies who inhabit it.

Pupils at Barnard Grove Primary School, Hartlepool, taking part in a version of Midsummer Nights Dream as part of Shakespeare Week with Play in a Day.

Pupils at Barnard Grove Primary School, Hartlepool, taking part in a version of Midsummer Nights Dream as part of Shakespeare Week with Play in a Day.

They then worked with professional facilitator from Konflux Theatre in Education to create a 15 minute performance which they acted out in front of peers and parents.

At the end of the session it is hoped that all the children have an increased subject knowledge of A Midsummers Night’s Dream, an understanding of teamwork, and an experience of public speaking to help with their self-expression and confidence.

Deputy headteacher and English co-ordinator, Janine Thompson, said she was proud of the way pupils embraced the experience.

She said: “We have been taking part in the Play in a Day Workshops across the school over the last ten years.

Pupils at Barnard Grove Primary School, Hartlepool, taking part in a version of Midsummer Nights Dream as part of Shakespeare Week with Play in a Day

Pupils at Barnard Grove Primary School, Hartlepool, taking part in a version of Midsummer Nights Dream as part of Shakespeare Week with Play in a Day

“They are a great way of helping the children to cement the story that they are learning in class.
“This time we had a class of 28 Year 4 pupils taking part in the workshop, which saw them adapt the text into a play they then performed.

“They did a really good job and everyone had a speaking part, which really helped to improve their confidence.”