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December 9, 2016
by Site Editor
I am pleased to report that for the second year running Winsford Academy drama department have entered and performed at The Shakespeare Schools Festival. Last year the students performed Hamlet and this year the students performed Othello. The Shakespeare Schools Festival is the largest drama festival in Europe.
The story of William Shakespeare’s Othello is set in 16th-century Venice and Cyprus. Othello the Moor, a noble black general in the Venetian army, has secretly married a beautiful white woman called Desdemona, the daughter of a prominent senator, Brabantio. When he finds out, he is outraged, and promptly disowns her. The jealous Iago hatches a devious plan to plant suspicions in Othello’s mind that Desdemona has been unfaithful to him with Cassio. Maddened by jealousy, he orders Iago to murder Cassio, and then he strangles Desdemona.
The Academy students, ranging from years 8-11, performed live on Crewe Lyceum stage on 23rd November 2016. This was an ensemble piece where every person on stage formed a crucial part of the action. The students used a range of modern drama techniques to perform this classic Shakespearean story, giving the piece a modern day relevance using hoodies, caps and mobile phones. The supporting cast were able to create strong visual images of the thoughts going through Othello’s mind during his moments of emotional torment. Our school were last to perform on the evening. Other schools who performed were Brine Leas (Nantwich), Hartford (Northwich) and Rosebank (Northwich).
It is wonderful to give these students the opportunity to perform Shakespeare as it was intended. Too many students have negative feelings towards Shakespeare as often they have studied his plays in a classroom rather than living it, feeling it and breathing it! Shakespeare’s plays were written to be performed, not read in a classroom. The Shakespeare Schools Festival have allowed us to do just that on a professional stage alongside other school. What a wonderful opportunity for Academy students who have grown in confidence, grown in their love of Shakespeare and made new friends from other year groups and schools.
We absolutely hope to be involved in this event next year. I will be sad to see our super talented year 11 students leaving this year who have been involved in the Festival for two years running; Sam Corbin (Iago), Ethan Budgen (Othello), Michael Jeffries (Cassio) and Rhiannon Edwards (technician).
Head of Performing Arts
The cast (Year 9)
“At the Shakespeare’s School Festival we performed Othello and in our opinion WE NAILED IT! There was an occasional slip up involving a mask or two *COUGH COUGH* Charlotte, or somebody falling off their chairs *COUGH COUGH* Olivia and Lizzie, but in the end it was a successful performance. We all loved the experience which gave us all the opportunity to perform in the Crewe Lyceum and speak words that are over 400 years old, (and absolutely smashing every one of them!). Most of us hated Shakespeare before we started this but by the end we couldn’t wait for next year. It was great to see other students with the same love for drama as us. We gained a boost in confidence, and according to Mrs Bugg, most of us will be aiming for a bigger role in next year’s performance.”
The Cast (year 10)
“At the Shakespeare school festival we performed Othello, with great success. The experience on a whole was amazing and gave us all more confidence in ourselves. All the hours we spent rehearsing it, it should have been good and, despite some minor malfunctions with props and a few slip ups in lines, it was better than good. It was amazing!! In regards to the lines, we all did quite well in the pronunciation and dictation of them all considering the age of the language used, over 400 years old. Next year I hope to take part in the festival again and aim for a bigger role as I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.”
The Cast (year 11)
“At this festival, we performed Othello, a dark, twisted tale of jealously and corruption….. and this is why we are in the top sets of English, cheers Mr Baillie! Anyway moving on, we believe it was a great performance, and we personally believe it wouldn’t of been done without the collaboration of each other. As us being in the previous Shakespeare School Festival, we are used to collaborating with the younger years but this year, it was stronger and we were confident in performing it. We all hope that next year, whatever performance it is, and whoever takes part, we hope that they can achieve better, and best this performance. We won’t be here next year, we know sad times, but we have really, really enjoyed it! Obvious thanks to Mrs Bugg and Mr Lawson, and the entire team that helped us create this masterpiece…Adios!”
Ethan and Sam
“It was great. Had a fab time performing and all that fun stuff. Met some pretty cool people. I had a pretty good experience, I did it last year and I’ll come watch it next year because I won’t be able to perform in it next year. All in all 10/10 experience would Othello again.”