Teachers dress up as Shakespearean actors on 400th anniversary of playwright’s death

Teacher Gary Wootton as the famous character from A Midsummer Nights Dream during Shakespeare Day at St Hilds CofE School, Hartlepool.
Teacher Gary Wootton as the famous character from A Midsummer Nights Dream during Shakespeare Day at St Hilds CofE School, Hartlepool.
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Schoolchildren were given a taste of the 16th Century as teachers dressed up as Shakespearean actors.

The special day was put on by the English department of St Hild’s CE School, based on King Oswy Drive, Hartlepool, to mark 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare, which was on April 23, 1616.

The children and staff all enjoyed it, and it was a great way to bring the work to life and to introduce Shakespeare

Claire Madden

Pupils in Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 were involved, and they had to guess which characters their teachers were dressed up as.

There was a carousel of three 20-minute activities for the children within their normal English lessons.

The carousel included the Insult Rooms – where pupils created authentic insults and ‘battled’ in teams – and the Performance Rooms, in which various drama activities took place.

Finally, the Calligraphy Rooms gave the children the opportunity to copy famous Shakespearean quotes or insults onto bookmarks using authentic feather quills and ink, leaving them with a permanent reminder of the day.

English teacher Claire Madden said: “The day went brilliantly well.

“The children and staff all enjoyed it, and it was a great way to bring the work to life and to introduce Shakespeare, which is part of the curriculum.

“There was a lot of team building as well, so hopefully this will have benefitted them in many ways.”

The English department at the school is now planning a similar event to celebrate the work of Roald Dahl in September.

On the Shakespeare day, each child was given a ‘Bingo’ card, on which they were asked to identify the character each teacher was dressed up in.

Correct answers then went into a draw, with a prize awarded to the winner in each year group.

For the teachers, it was also an enjoyable day.

Mrs Madden added: “Rather than make it a full-school activity, it was restricted to English lessons so it didn’t disrupt the rest of the day. That meant each group were able to have three 20-minute sessions and a little taster of everything.

“Everyone in the English department dressed up, which the children found hilarious, and we really enjoyed it as well.

“It was a great opportunity to meet all of the other pupils who you might not have taught before, or you may have taught them in a previous year. Events like this always prove very popular, and we’d like to do something like this every term to celebrate something to do with English.”