583 School Children Join The RSC For A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play For The Nation

14 January 2016

583 children (aged between 6-12) from 28 schools throughout the UK will take to the stage in theatres in their areas as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s forthcoming production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation.

Between February – July 2016, and as part of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, the RSC is staging one of Shakespeare’s best loved comedies in a production that will visit theatres in all 12 nations and regions of the UK.  In each area local school children will play the roles of Titania’s fairy train. In most areas, 30 children will be split into 3 teams of 10, appearing at alternating performances.

Directed by RSC Deputy Artistic Director, Erica Whyman, A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation will feature 18 professional actors, who will be joined in each area by one of 14 different local amateur theatre companies who will play the six Mechanicals.  Ayesha Dharker will take on the celebrated role of Titania, Queen of the Fairies, performing with the local schoolchildren and opposite the 14 amateur Bottoms cast from across the country.

Prior to the performances, members of the RSC Education and creative teams will visit the schools involved, rehearsing with the children.  During the rehearsals the children will create their own very special fairy worlds, learn a fairy song and a specially devised dance routine, and explore the lines of text that they will perform in the show.

A number of the schools involved are part of the RSC’s Learning and Performance Network (LPN), the RSC’s long term partnership programme with schools, communities and theatres across the country.  In areas where the RSC does not have an existing network of schools, the Company has worked with the local theatre to choose schools with which they already have a relationship.

Jacqui O’Hanlon, RSC Director of Education, said: "2016 is a very special year as we celebrate the legacy of a man whose work, 400 years on, is still studied and performed the world over. There are so many ways that schools can join in our celebrations throughout 2016 – big and small – but we are thrilled that for the first time schoolchildren from all over the UK will get the chance to appear alongside RSC actors as part of our 2016 touring production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. This anniversary year is about celebrating the legacy of our national poet, and the best way to do that is by opening Shakespeare up to everyone. Our Dream tour and the other initiatives we're announcing in 2016 will help us to do just that by giving as many children and young people as possible the best introduction to Shakespeare's work regardless of their background, where they live in the country, or what school they go to."

Ruth Eastwood, Grand Theatre Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to give local children the opportunity to perform on the Grand’s stage with the added excitement of performing again in Stratford-upon-Avon at the home of the Royal Shakespeare Company.  This truly is a one-off and I know it will stay in their memories forever.”

Catherine Watts, Year 5W & KS2 Leader at Larkholme Primary School, said: “Larkholme Primary School is delighted to be involved with the RSC learning performance network and the Grand Theatre in Blackpool. We are a one and a half form primary school situated in Fleetwood. Our Larkholme fairy train consists of 30 impish sprites from years three, four and five. They are all very excited about this opportunity to perform at The Grand. In school, we have been busy using active approaches to bring Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream into the classrooms so that every child in the school will experience the magic.”

Larkholme Primary School Children Involved at The Grand:
Adam, Adriyan, Alfie, Amelia C, Amelia P, Amelia V, Bethan, Charlie, Clayton, Ellie, Harlie, Hayley, Hollie, Jack C, Jack G, James, Jaydan, Joel, Kaci, Keira, Lewis, Liam, Lily, Lily-Jayne, Melody, Mia, Millie, Olivia, Sam D, Sam H

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