This year the director, Claire Cullum, had a clear aim: for all children to get to grips with the sound and feel of Shakespeare’s wonderful language and to be part of a group enterprise where all participate equally.
The scene was set down on the field by the haranguing Capulet and Montague boys. Performers then collected the audience by inviting them to follow the drummers and performers to the space- the transformed Drama/Music courtyard.
The whole company performed a potted version of Romeo and Juliet, taken from the Prologue and first scene of the play, portrayed through a series of choral speaking techniques, drama tableaux and a stage fight (mostly choreographed by the children themselves).
Speeches/scenes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Henry V and Hamlet were performed by 3 separate ensembles after they had presented a summary of the story about to be shown.
The whole company came together again to perform the final piece, the witches’ spell from Macbeth. Wearing vivid red and black masks, veiled in black voile and surrounding or intermingling with the audience, supported by whispered recordings of their own voices, pupils contrived to evoke an atmosphere of mystery and wickedness that impacted strongly.
Congratulations to all of those involved in the experience – it proved to be a truly memorable experience for the performers and audience alike.