Prep stars shine at Shakespeare Schools’ Festival
‘Life was not for sadness made.’ The Year 6 production of Much Ado About Nothing for the 2017 Shakespeare Schools’ Festival illustrated this important message of the play.
The children performed an abridged version, employing Shakespearean language, and brilliantly captured the spirit of the original. A feisty Beatrice matched Benedick’s witty repartee and convincing swagger in an entertaining and comic battle of wit. Hero’s innocent goodness illuminated the production and provided a dramatic contrast to the evil scheming of Don John.
This is the fourth year that the Prep has participated in the Shakespeare Schools’ Festival and performed at the Mumford Theatre. Past productions included A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest and Twelfth Night. The festival is an invaluable way of bringing Shakespeare’s plays to life and making them accessible for school children.
The modern day production, directed by Assistant Head Tobias Bown and Head of Art and DT Dan Wansell, employed simple costumes and props to great effect. The cast created an impression of an orchard by simply holding a piece of foliage in front of their faces. Uma, one of the technical crew, enthused about the effective simplicity of “the twigs and leaves that we picked up from the school grounds”.
Another highlight of the performance was the amount of classical music used to complement the dancing. Esme enjoyed “dramatising the masked ball and helping to choreograph the dance moves”.
Mr Bown said: “There is nothing like the thrill of performing on a professional theatre stage and it’s wonderful to see the children engaging so passionately with Shakespeare’s words, his fascinating characters and such an entertaining story.”