Dame Janet Primary has been a proud Shakespeare school since 2014 by being part of the RSC Learning and Performance Network (LPN). Over the past three years, over 70 children spread across 4 year groups have taken part in various Shakespearean projects, performing in a multitude of fantastic venues, including around the Scenic Railway at Dreamland Margate and the stunning Marlowe Theatre mainstage in Canterbury. We have explored texts from the fantastical realm of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to the political world of Julius Caesar. Each and every cast have always been highly commended for their confidence and sincerity in embracing Shakespeare’s language and his diverse range of characters. Through the LPN, our children have also had invaluable opportunities to see live theatre, including a school-adapted one man performance of Macbeth: Blood will have blood, performed at the Marlowe theatre, Canterbury. Cultural experiences such as these are so rewarding for their future educational endeavours, endorsing the LPN’s ethos of ‘Start It Early, See It Live, Do It On Your Feet’.
Since 2015, Dame Janet Primary Academy is also an Ambassador school for the RSC Shakespeare Schools Foundation due to their resident Performing Arts Coordinator and Shakespeare Teacher-Director, Melody Radley (Montana), being appointed Regional Shakespeare Ambassador. This role entails the promotion of the Shakespeare for Schools Festival, positive approaches to the teaching of Shakespeare, trialling/promoting exciting new RSC curriculum resources, running workshops/CPD and much more! Dame Janet will be creating a Shakespeare Roadshow, allowing previous casts to visit schools to present extracts of some of the performances they have accomplished in order to raise the profile of getting Shakespeare into schools and the importance in allowing students to perform the plays not just read them, as they were intended. Melody also has plans to set up free workshops for Dame Janet parents to attend in order to give them an insight in how their children learn the texts and language and to eliminate some if the fear the older generation have in approaching Shakespeare. This will mean that students will have more positive support at home when it comes to handling the texts, whether it be for learning lines for a performance or, perhaps more importantly, for English homework/revision tasks.
As part of our third year RSC LPN project, we are so proud to be a part of the RSC National Schools’ Festival 2017 in Stratford-Upon-Avon. Three specially selected students had been put forward to represent Dame Janet in the cast, alongside other LPN cluster schools who also contribute two or three students. Our three lucky students are Phoebe W, Ketana C and Phoebe S. All of the involved schools are in a long term partnership with the RSC and The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury, as part of the RSC’s Learning and Performance Network. The areas of schools involved in this National Festival are Cornwall, Essex, Kent, Lancashire, Tyne and Wear, West Yorkshire. The cast performed Julius Caesar at The Swan Theatre on Tuesday 27th June 2017. This was a highly prestigious event, one that the RSC have run for over 10 years and it is quite an honour for our school to be involved.
As a result of the Shakespeare Schools Festival....
97% of Primary School Teachers said their students were more resilient
99% of Primary School Teachers said their students were more confident
99% of Primary School Teachers said their students had exceeded expectations