Stewards Academy meets Shakespeare!
Stewards Academy took to the stage as part of the Shakespeare Schools Festival last week. This is the 11th year that Stewards has been involved and, due to the high demand from our pupils, we continued with our tradition of performing two plays.
This year audiences were treated to two of Shakespeare’s comedies: ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and ‘Twelfth Night’. Great joy was evident from both casts throughout the day as they prepared and in their final performances. As always our pupils’ behaviour was exemplary and SSF staff commented on the professionalism of both casts within the theatre, both on and off-stage.
Both casts started their journeys in the summer term when the pieces were auditioned: ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ as a GCSE class production and ‘Twelfth Night’ as an after-school enrichment activity. The GCSE class came up with the concept for their performance and have taken on all positions of responsibility including student director, technical assistant, marketing assistant and costume/prop design. ‘Twelfth Night’ also had a student assistant director and technical assistant.
In October the casts participated in a half-day workshop led by two theatre professionals. They were able to explore the performance space, showcase their language and character skills and perform an extract of their play. All of the pupils fully enjoyed the experience and felt it helped to prepare them for the final performance.
One of the cast members said: “I am so proud of my achievement tonight. It is the first time I have performed on stage and I really enjoyed it.
Another cast member said: “I took part in SSF last year, in Macbeth, which was great. This year I feel so much more confident and I absolutely loved the audience that were laughing so much. It made me feel good knowing we had entertained them.”
Di Johnson, Head of Performing Arts/ Assistant Headteacher, said: “The Shakespeare Schools Festival is such an amazing opportunity for children as it allows them to grow in confidence, properly understand Shakespeare as a performance text, engage with pupils from other schools, work with theatre professionals and perform in a professional theatre. We are incredibly lucky at Stewards that we are able to continue with this sort of high-quality enrichment activity. The pupils gain so much from the experience as do the staff involved. Watching both casts on stage this year has reminded me of how inspiring young people can be and it has invigorated me on a dark November evening! I am so proud of the casts and look forward to working with them again next year.”