Hull schoolchildren are working with the Royal Shakespeare Company

Published: Monday 3rd July 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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One of William Shakespeare’s most enchanting and celebrated plays, The Tempest, is to be performed by pupils from local schools this week.

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s Associate Schools Programme enables young people, teachers and communities to work with Hull Truck Theatre and St Mary’s College to access and enjoy iconic literature.

We caught up with Miss Holmes, drama teacher at The Marvell College ( a partner of St Mary’s) to find out more about the shows.

“There will be four evenings of performances and each night will have three productions put on by three different schools. The Marvell College have their half-hour slot on Friday, the final evening,” Miss Holmes tells us.

“Hull Truck Theatre kindly provided us with some training. We were given a shortened version of the script and we told that we could add to it as much as we felt we could.”

Written in the early 1600s, The Tempest is believed to be the last play that Shakespeare wrote alone.

The story is set on a remote island. Here, the powerful sorcerer, Prospero, plots to restore his daughter as the Duchess of Milan through illusion and manipulation. He does this by conjuring up an enormous storm. The intriguing script has brought joy to countless audiences over the years.

Each piece will be truly unique, with drama departments and pupils working hard to contribute their own interpretations. With such a large cast at Marvell, they have chosen to present Shakespeare’s work as a piece of physical theatre.

“We’ve kept the language in the script the same,” she explains. “A lot of students play spirits in the background. They tell the story on our behalf and react to the shocking things that the main characters are saying and doing. We did this to guide the audience and show them where their loyalties should lie.”

A number of primary and secondary schools are involved in this incredible arts project, including South Holderness Technical College, St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School, Frederick Holmes School, and St Mary Queen of Martyrs Voluntary Catholic Academy.

“I’ve worked on it with Mrs Hegarty, the other drama teacher at the college,” enthuses Miss Holmes. “It’s been such a great experience for our students. For many of our cast, Friday night will be their debut performance. They’re a little bit nervous now, but all extremely excited to be involved in this.”

The plays will be performed at the Theatre of Dreams at St Mary’s College from 6pm from Tuesday 4 until Friday 7 July.

“Finn McGuigan, Hull Truck’s Engagement and Learning Facilitator, popped into rehearsals last week,” says Miss Holmes. “The kids were ecstatic. It’s been wonderful to see their journey.”

Tickets to each evening are £5 and can be purchased by calling Hull Truck’s box office on 01482 323638, or you can book online.

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Published: Monday 3rd July 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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