Sunday’s Shakespeare Day gave every pupil in the Second Form the chance to shine on the stage of the Stahl Theatre in front of an appreciative audience of family and friends.
Approaching Shakespeare’s plays through performance has become an established way at Oundle of introducing the dramatic aspects of the texts. Each class performed a version of four different plays abridged by the class teacher, and demonstrated how successfully place and character can be conveyed on an open stage.
Across all four sets, the command of Shakespeare’s verse was assured, and the enthusiasm and enjoyment were evident in the pupils’ dramatic enactment of revelry, pathos, tragedy and, of course, sword play. It is clear there are plenty of keen actors in the Second Form.
Romeo and Juliet
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Class performances of Shakespeare began as a tradition in the nineteenth century when Headmaster Frederick Sanderson introduced a “dramatic recitation” of a different play staged every term in the Great Hall. By taking a turn on the stage, the less confident pupils would develop “quite unexpected abilities”, and by reciting and acting they would learn the language and meaning of Shakespeare.