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Shakespeare Schools Festival
‘The Ides of March are come.’
In June of this year, children from years 4 and 5 auditioned for a part in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. All their hard work came to fruition on Wednesday night at Hull Truck Theatre, when twenty-six of our pupils performed for an audience of approximately 300 people.
Rehearsals had taken place on Thursdays after school. In the week leading up to performance day, we had four afternoon rehearsals. Performance afternoon allowed us a technical rehearsal and a dress rehearsal. This was the first opportunity that the children had to work with my lighting states.
The children worked with an abridged script, but all the words were as Shakespeare wrote them. Having come to the work without any preconceived ideas about the language, the children made sense of their lines and delivered them in a natural and flowing way.
Our turn came after the interval. The stage, set with our Roman banners, was bathed in red light and our music began. The children took their places and chants of ‘Caesar’ began. All sign of nerves seemed to leave them as they transformed into the characters they were to portray.
The final scene came all too soon. The death of Brutus and the final speech of Anthony saw all the actors on their knees as the music of Einaudi swelled around the theatre; sweeping the audience up in the emotion of the moment. In the wings I couldn’t stop the tears flowing and by the time we got back to the dressing room most of the cast were crying too.
I always have high expectations for the children that I teach and never more so for my cast of Julius Caesar. However, they exceeded anything that I could have expected; I could not have asked more of them. To my cast, I send my admiration and thanks for a truly wonderful evening, one that I will never forget.
I would like to thank Mr Genter, Mrs Wilkinson and Mrs Kennedy for their help with the props and costumes. Thanks are also due to Mr Marsden and Mr Clark for giving up their time to act as chaperones, and to Mr Chaffey for agreeing to pay the considerable sum for our participation in the Festival.
To those who were able to attend the theatre, I hope you enjoyed watching our performance and thank you for coming.
Mrs J. Fairbairn