Last week our auditorium was taken over by more than 200 school children.
Their appearance on our stage was the culmination of three years of work, by them, their teachers, our learning and participation staff, and no less august a body than the Royal Shakespeare Company.
The children – from nine local schools – have been working with the RSC as part of their Learning and Performance Network, on a project called The Dream: Met By Moonlight. Designed to link to the RSC’s tour of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (with us next month – more info here), each school performed a scene from the play, using the original text but making their own creative choices. Students also worked on the set design, props and stage management of the show.
One of those who did just that was 14 year-old Aaron Taylor. He said: “It was a great opportunity, getting to work with the RSC, a professional designer and contributing to the design of something that would be on the main stage of The Marlowe Theatre.
“I loved coming up with the prop ideas so that the audience could follow each character throughout the play, even though they were played by different pupils from different schools.”
One of the players, 13 year-old Bethany Wallace, who played Titania in The Canterbury High School scene, said: “I have had lessons on Shakespeare in English, but I didn’t realise how much I knew and what I have picked up from working on this project. When I was on stage, it felt like the theatre is my home. I feel like I can be whatever I want to be now.”
The Marlowe Theatre’s Head Of Creative Projects, Andy Dawson, praised the “passion and dedication” shown by all the students, teachers and staff involved: “Their work throughout the LPN has been exceptional and Monday was fitting evidence of their tireless creativity.”
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