Shakespeare Week 2014 – Help spread the word
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (SBT), launched Shakespeare Week, a new national, annual celebration of Shakespeare into Britain’s primary schools in April.
The Trust would like to enlist your assistance in spreading the word about this project, through your MDO’s, Networks and colleagues in the museum and heritage sector, encouraging them to take part.
Shakespeare Week is a cross-curricular scheme that promotes the importance of arts and heritage experiences within learning. The aims of the project are simple. The SBT want to give every child in Britain the opportunity for a great first encounter with Shakespeare – through his stories, language and heritage – and we want to inspire children to explore their cultural heritage and develop their own (life-long) interests.
- The first Shakespeare Week will be celebrated from 17 to 23 March 2014, marking the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth. Schools, theatres, galleries, museums, cinemas and heritage organisations will be united in a shared cultural celebration for children and families, sowing the seeds for future cultural engagement and learning.
- The SBT will provide schools with a digital toolkit to enable teachers to run a range of activities during Shakespeare Week in and out of the classroom. The toolkit will be hosted on the dedicated website – www.shakespeareweek.org.uk – which will also feature an events listing, marketing support for cultural organisations and a platform for schools and cultural organisations to share best practice.
- Every child who participates will be given a Passport to Shakespeare – an ongoing attainment record that rewards holders with incentives and discounts to attend productions, exhibitions and events run by participating organisations, thus encouraging an evolving relationship with Shakespeare and cultural heritage.
When the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust launched Shakespeare Week in April they had a target of recruiting 500 schools from across the country to the celebration in the first year, with the aim of reaching 3.5 million children by 2018. As of today, not quite five months since the launch, 1006 schools have registered to participate. With such a large number of schools already joining the celebration it is crucial that to ensure there are sufficient local opportunities for arts and heritage experiences for the thousands of children that will be taking part.
There are up to three ways in which a cultural organisation can be part of the celebration:
- Providing activity in Shakespeare Week for schools and or families at a venue or as outreach to schools
- Offering incentives to children that hold the Passport to Shakespeare
- Providing access to relevant resources for teachers via the Shakespeare Week website – either as downloads or links
Museums and Museum Services that have already given their backing include:
Basing House, Bosworth Battlefield, Craven Museum and Art Gallery, Bath and N E Somerset Heritage Services, the Mary Rose Museum, Selly Manor, The British Museum, Weald and Downland Open Air Museum (who will be working in partnership with Chichester Festival Theatre) and the Wordsworth Trust in Cumbria.
Finally, listed below are some of the ideas for workshops and activities being proposed by our museum colleagues around the country so far:
- a participatory workshop on miniatures, a popular Tudor form of portraiture which children can easily recreate
- looking at famous Romans and how they were portrayed by Shakespeare
- sessions exploring the value of money then and now
- writing with a quill pen, children can make their own quills and create their own hand written ‘old’ documents / creative writing inspired by old manuscripts
- Tudor medicine – fun with leeches, frogs in the throat and amputations!
- using Tudor maps to look at the exploration of the world
- the use of machinery in Tudor times (building and printing in particular)
- Actors performing extracts from the plays in which Shakespeare featured war and reflected on the human cost of conflict
- Drama workshops in historic settings.
How do I find out more or get involved?
If you would like to find out more about Shakespeare Week, please visit www.shakespeareweek.org.uk or contact Jacqueline Green, Head of Learning and Participation at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or ShakespeareWeek@shakespeare.org.uk or calling 01789 201 824 or 07899 053 533.