WHAT WE DO
Since 2009, The Primary Shakespeare Company (PSC) has been sending theatre practitioners into London primary schools, investigating and performing Shakespeare's plays and language with teachers and their pupils. Our experience illustrates the positive impact that sustainable arts-based education has on children - on their attainment across the whole curriculum (especially in literacy), confidence and attitude to learning.
Each year we choose a different Shakespeare play around which to centre our work, which spans a term and culminates in public performances during our Shakespeare Festivals. Every participating school is responsible for one act of the play. We send our team of theatre practitioners into each school to devise and rehearse. Class teachers attend insets and training sessions to enable them to use the play across the curriculum, principally in Literacy, Maths, Science, Art and D&T.
Our work does not just present high quality arts programmes but also aims to influence decision makers to prioritise arts-based learning, to train practitioners - both teachers and drama professionals - and to ensure children improve their attainment through engaging with our programme.
We often refer to our work during the Shakespeare Festivals as a "stealth writing project". Using the drama work that we bring to the classroom, and allowing the children to have an immersive drama experience - inhabiting character and exploring the play from within - we feel that each child is better prepared and more able to write. We take away the fear of the blank page. Everything that we do is tailored toward engaging the children in their learning across the curriculum. Social skills develop, confidence soars, teamwork is embedded as they learn the works of a key cultural figure - William Shakespeare. The theatre professionals that we send into each school bring skills not only to the children but also to the teachers. Currently in teacher training, only one day is dedicated to drama, so many teachers are scared of using it as a teaching technique. The teacher training that we provide is seeking to slowly redress this balance. We want not only to prove its importance, but also to arm teachers with the requisite skills to be able to use it in their practise. Some of the schools that we have worked with over a
number of years are changing the way they deliver their lessons as a direct result of working with us.
"Children who some may have had perceptions of 'low ability' were producing in depth sustained learning both at home and at school."
Deputy Head, Camden
"Writing progress was excellent -- over half the class exceeded expectation (i.e. made 6 or more APS over the year) with an overall APS average gain of 4.8."
Click on a project below to find out more
MAIN FESTIVAL PROJECT
In this film we follow the children of Kentish Town Primary School as they embark on our Hamlet project, with contributions from Hugh Bonneville, Billie Piper and Adrian Lester.