Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

A Fine Romance; Kids Take Their Version of Romeo and Juliet to Home of Shakespeare

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

A Fine Romance; Kids Take Their Version of Romeo and Juliet to Home of Shakespeare

Article excerpt

Byline: JOANNA DESIRA

ROMEO and Juliet is no stranger to the stage in Stratford upon Avon.

But a performance of the Shakespeare play by a group of Teesside school pupils will be extra special.

At the ages of only 10 and 11, the Norton Primary School pupils proved that it's not just secondary-age students who can tackle the difficult Shakespearian language.

And the youngsters have been rewarded for their success by being one of only 11 schools invited to perform at the Royal Shakespeare Company's Courtyard Theatre during a festival in Stratford next week..

Shakespeare campaign to show age is not a barrier to learning Shakespeare.

Year 6 teacher Kate Willmore, who runs the drama club, said Romeo and Juliet was a popular choice because the children already knew about the story thanks to Leonardo Di Caprio' s film.

They have received tips from RSC practitioners who visited the school.

She said: "The Shakespearian language was something new to them and they picked it up well.

"We did it in drama club so we had time to look at the meaning of the text and the change in language, and work out the meaning behind it, because it is very different to how we speak today.

"A lot of them have seen the up-to-date version in the film with Clare Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio, so they were already familiar with the story.

"The RSC offered support when we needed it." But despite the success of the pupils in learning the Shakespeare play, Ms Willmore believes secondary school is when Shakespeare should be studied.

"They've got more time at secondary school to be learning language that is as difficult as Shakespeare," she said.

"I think the only reason the pupils found Romeo and Juliet manageable is because it is one of the most famous Shakespeare plays and some of the children had already heard of it and knew it from the film - so it was easier to do than other Shakespeare plays might have been. …

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