theatre in education - pals productions

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A Midsummer Nights Dream

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Speaking and listening

The performance gives students the opportunity to listen to the story, respond appropriately and then to feed back the points that interested them to the class.  They can identify and respond to sound patterns in language such as rhyme and word play and it also enables them to hear some of Shakespeare’s language.

Students are also given the chance to speak clearly on stage when asked to respond to certain parts of the production (for example, when students are picked to help Oberon with his spell). Students can evaluate the overall effectiveness of the performance and look at the language variation and dialect forms of the different characters.

The production gives students the opportunity to explore the works of William Shakespeare and to observe how an old play can be adapted to suit a modern audience.

This show allows students to discuss the versatility of the actors by using different body language and voices to portray a variety of characters. KS2 students can see how light, sound, costumes and set contribute to the overall performance. The show also provides an opportunity to see how Shakespearean actors performed using Shakespeare’s own language.

The production raises issues such as love, right and wrong, ambition, human emotion, status and friendship.

The production allows students of all ages to explore the Elizabethan period by seeing the characters in different costumes and observing the way they lived. The adaptation uses some of the original text, giving students an opportunity to listen to Shakespeare’s language.

ideas for follow-up lessons and activities

1. Ask the students to investigate the life of an actor in Shakespearian times and write a poem about it.

2. Divide the class into groups and ask the students to rehearse and perform a scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Once they have performed the extract, they could make a modern version of the piece.

3. Make a poster advertising this performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Children can draw their favourite scene from the show.

4. Take some of the fairy verse and get the pupils to turn it into a song using instruments and dance.

5. Ask the children to form a circle and get them to pretend to be different characters from the play. Get students to take turns to sit in the middle of the circle and have the other students ask questions about their character. The children have to try and guess who they are.

6. Ask the children to walk around the room like different characters from the performance. When you say ‘freeze’ they stand still like statues. If they move then they are out of the game.  Continue until there is a winner.

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