Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Sport - Theatre in the Round: Resources

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Sport - Theatre in the Round: Resources

Article excerpt

A ball game brings home the passion of Romeo and Juliet.

"Why do we have to study Shakespeare?" is a familiar refrain, and one I heard repeatedly in the summer of 2009. My 13- and 14-year-old students had spent a week finding out about Shakespeare's life and times and the plight of Romeo and Juliet, but they clearly did not share my passion.

So I decided to introduce an element of competition and swap the classroom for the playing field. We would play a game that I felt would revolutionise the way students discovered the Bard: Shakespearean rounders.

For preparation, I taught only a few Shakespearean facts and quotes, instead directing students towards conducting their own research. I borrowed the bats, balls and helmets we needed from the PE department. I split the class into two teams, giving the role of "team captain" to gifted and talented students.

As we marched towards the field, the students were buzzing with anticipation and the captains began topping up their teams' knowledge of Shakespearean quotes. Meanwhile, the team members were devising a plan worthy of the sly Tybalt to work out who should bat first and last.

The rules were basically the same as rounders. But the student who was about to bat had to answer a question before the bowler could pitch. If the batter answered incorrectly, they would be "out". If they got the answer right, they could play on.

"What does 'star-crossed lovers' mean?" I called from across the pitch.

"A doomed relationship," the batsman shouted back. …

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