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Shakespeare Schools Festival at Lighthouse

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The Shakespeare Schools Festival – the UK’s largest youth drama project – will be holding its tenth anniversary festival at Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts on October 5th. Since 2000 the charity has been using the genius of Shakespeare to bridge the attainment gap, training teachers as directors and giving young people of every background and ability the opportunity to perform plays in their local professional theatres. Over the autumn 650 schools from Scotland to the Channel Islands will perform half hour adaptations of some of the world’s best literature in 80 professional theatres.

Since the Millennium the Shakespeare Schools Festival has transformed the lives of thousands of young people who have learnt articulacy, built self-confidence and team work and gained knowledge to take back to their academic studies. The Lighthouse is to host performances from numerous schools from across the region.

SSF is partnered by the National Theatre and National Youth Theatre who run workshops for the teachers and young people involved and each school will give Shakespeare’s plays their own particular twist.

There’s a football-themed Othello with a ‘Wayne Bridges-John Terry’ situation; Romeo and Juliet set against the backdrop of Sectarianism in Glasgow; a girls’ school exploring a contemporary reversal of The Taming of the Shrew with the ladies chasing and 'taming' the lads, governed by an over protective mother; the Scottish play with Macbeth and others vying to be head DJ at a night club and the final battle as a dance off; and A Midsummer Night’s Dream adapted to Halloween.

Commenting on the 2010 season, Festival Director Chris Grace, said: “I look forward immensely to seeing what the students and their directors have dreamt up for us this year. As report after report paints this country as a difficult place to grow up in and engage positively with society, our charity offers a creative solution; through this country’s greatest literature we harness and channel our young people’s natural aptitude for imagination and team-work. Through workshops and performance they build communities within their school, as well as between local schools, and develop a sense of self-worth for themselves. Grades improve and horizons shift and expand. Experiencing Shakespeare helps makes sense of the world.”


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