Just before the Easter holidays, a group of students were lucky enough to take part in a field trip to see Julius Caesar - performed at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Before the performance, students had a guided tour of Stratford; visiting many of the statues dedicated to Shakespeare, his birthplace, family home and school building (which is now King Edward VI School’s library) and his grave in Holy Trinity Church. Inside the church, students were able to touch the medieval font where Shakespeare was baptized, spend time at his grave in the church chancel - complete with Elizabethan curse to ward of potential grave robbers - and saw the memorial bust that is said to be a good likeness of him as it was completed within a few years of his death and approved by his wife and daughter.
Upon arrival at the theatre, there was an air of excited anticipation from students and staff alike. The performance itself was quite contemporary in its nature with dance and symbolism adding to the Shakespearean language, many females playing male characters (unlike during Shakespeare’s lifetime) and even a character communicating using British Sign Language. All students were enthralled by the atmosphere and the storyline exploring betrayal, murder, regret and guilt.
Feedback from the students was overwhelmingly positive:
What was your favourite part of the trip? “The death scenes in the play.”
“I’d like to see more plays by Shakespeare and to go to other sites associated with infamous writers.”
“Can we see Macbeth? I beg you!”
“Love you all (in English). Thank you for everything.”
“More Shakespeare plays, please.”
“Can we do something Shakespeare at the end of every lesson?”
So, a very positive experience for all involved and from a staff perspective, it was fabulous to see students of all ages mixing and they certainly represented the college well. Bring on Macbeth in the Autumn term!