CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

A cast of hundreds! Bard play goes like a dream

07 February, 2020 — By Danny Halpin

Montem Primary School pupils, Munevver Akesen, Maqil Welham and Taliyah Yeboah

MORE than 260 children took part in an epic version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream on Thursday morning.

The Montem Primary School students, some as young as five, prepared the play in under two weeks with help from the Globe Theatre, the original home of Shakespeare’s plays.

“It’s the process that the children have gained from,” said headteacher Tom O’Donnell.

“There’s been lots of different skills involved, lots of oracy and language development.”

He added that understanding its historical context and the geography of where it is set helped them relate to the play.

Cast members, Vlera Januzi, Isra Abdullahi, Markos Gebresilaassie and Maliha Akhter

“Many of our children come from quite low starting points with their language,” said Mr O’Donnell.

“Sometimes we need to give them more exposure to what we call cultural capital – a wider repertoire of reading and cultural experiences. Shakespeare is part of that.”

The production was made possible thanks to funding from the Richard Reeves Foundation.

It is awarding just under £1,000,000 worth of grants over a three-year period.

Members of the Globe Theatre were there to guide the students with their lines and actions and train teachers to keep the students motivated.

Mr O’Donnell said: “We had a few broken hearts around the casting, because there are a few more key characters than others. But they’ve thoroughly enjoyed it and gained a good understanding of the play.”

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