Hartlepool pupils given chance at stardom as the Royal Shakespeare Company’s tour of Romeo and Juliet comes to town

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Pupils in Hartlepool have been given the opportunity to perform alongside professional actors as one of William Shakespeare’s most famous plays is brought to life.

The Royal Shakespeare Company is performing a 90-minute adaptation of Romeo and Juliet in school halls and theatres across the country this year.

The show is coming to St Cuthbert’s Catholic Primary School, in Stratford Road, on March 11, and English Martyrs School, in Catcote Road, on March 12.

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The First Encounters with Shakespeare production is aimed at new and younger audiences and children from the Royal Shakespeare Company associate schools, including St Cuthbert’s Catholic Primary School, have been given the opportunity to get involved.

First Encounters with Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet.First Encounters with Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet.
First Encounters with Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet.

Ten pupils from these schools will be able to perform as members of the Prince’s counsel alongside the show’s professional actors.

Others will be invited to attend a two-day workshop in Stratford-upon-Avon shadowing technical and production teams as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Next Generation Backstage talent development initiative.

Commenting on the production, director Philip J Morris, said: “As relevant today as it was 400 years ago, the play’s enduring appeal lies in its subject matter; from the intoxication of first love to the tension between misguided allegiances and rebellion.

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"The impulse of youth and pressure to choose sides leads to a loss of life that is a familiar narrative today with youth violence on the rise and record numbers of young people seeking support for their mental health.

"These are some of the most challenging but persistent issues of our time and we hope that our production can help shine a light on the need to engage in difficult but urgent conversations.”