Shaking Up Shakespeare

Elmhurst students were treated to a morning of Shakespearean theatre - with a twist! A one-man acting company, called Shaking Up Shakespeare, introduced children to the work of the Bard through lively and comical performances.

Using our new facility, the Quentin Peppiat Theatre, the performances of Shakespeare's riotous romantic comedy Twelfth Night had year three, four, five and six children in stitches. Anthony Glenn, the actor behind Shaking Up Shakespeare, ensures his versions are true to the heart of the original works and puts the main thrust of the narrative across to the children. However, he does this in a vibrant and energetic way that has children not just watching on but actually taking part, playing many of the roles under his direction.

Shakespeare, while both beautifully written and culturally important, can be confusing for younger audiences, especially as it plays with as many comings and goings as Twelfth Night. The story sees character Viola, separated from her twin Sebastian, dressing as a boy and working for the Duke Orsino, whom she falls in love with. Orsino is in love with the Countess Olivia, and sends Viola to court her for him, but Olivia falls for Viola instead. Sebastian arrives, causing a flood of mistaken identity, anD marries Olivia. Viola then reveals she is a girl and marries Orsino.

Our children always look forward to Mr Glenn's visits and, over the last decade, have enjoyed his full range of plays: Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, Julius Caesar and now Twelfth Night.

Shakespeare has long had a place at the heart of Elmhurst, even beyond these performances. We have a well established Shakespeare programme, first set up by Ms Samra and Mrs Colthrust and now run by Mr Creighton and Ms Mathieson. Every year the children rehearse a play to perform at the Shakespeare School Festival. This year, we are working on Henry V and are in the midst of preparations ahead of debuting it at Barking Theatre in March.