Edinburgh schools have been invited to take part in a new performance project that breaks down or ‘shakes’ down the plays of William Shakespeare and gives secondary school pupils the chance to make the plays their own on one of Scotland’s most celebrated stages.
In the first year of the project, Firrhill, Forrester, Tynecastle, Queensferry and the Royal High will reimagine A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the King’s Theatre in two performances on Wednesday 28 June.
Each school will perform one act of Shakespeare’s romantic comedy, keeping a through-line in design, costuming and direction, but allowing for multiple portrayals of characters in a cohesive and collaborative work. The play will be abridged but the verse will be as Shakespeare wrote it. The opportunity is for students to explore and experience the play for themselves, to work together with students not from their school and to work outside of the school learning environment as the show will be developed and presented at the King’s Theatre.
Shakedown is a new approach to presenting the works of William Shakespeare created and developed by performer, voiceover, writer and director, Pab Roberts. With the aim of nurturing a new appreciation of Shakespeare in schools, empowering students and encouraging collaborative working, the project will run over 4 years and invites all Edinburgh secondary schools to take part.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, will be directed by Pab Roberts with music by Gary Cameron and lighting design by Heather McLuskey. Anisah Rasul, who is a 4th Year student at Firrhill High School, and will be playing Hermia in the Shakedown production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, says, “I am thrilled that out of many people I will have the honour of playing Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the play, and I’m looking forward to being part of the show and meeting new people from different schools.”
The performance model is designed to fit with the Curriculum for Excellence to encourage personal achievement, interdisciplinary learning and skills development, helping young people become confident individuals and effective contributors. The project was developed specifically for the Festival and King’s Theatres, in line with the creative and artistic vision of the Trust that runs the theatres to engage and develop new audiences.
Schools who want to sign up for next year’s production of Romeo & Juliet should contact Head of Creativity and Diversity, Cerin Richardson: firstname.lastname@example.org