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Amazing trip to Stratford-upon-Avon

Liam Lester
Amazing trip to Stratford-upon-Avon

Every now and then, an opportunity arises for a hard-working teacher to take some well-earned rest from the challenges of school-life.

And so, on Friday 22nd June, I missed out on such an opportunity in order to visit the world-renowned Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. This historic and culturally invaluable location was the setting for the grandly titled ‘Symposium for Raising Achievement and Aspirations through Shakespeare’, which, in essence, means celebrating the work of the Bard and using it as a catalyst for improved teaching pedagogy and student progress.

Delegates were treated to keynote speakers. Patsy Rodenburg, a highly respected vocal expert and passionate advocate for the accomplishments of Shakespeare, shared her practical experience of working with his texts; Geoff Barton, former teacher of English and now General Secretary of the ASCL, who ardently spoke of the importance of the arts in education; and Naimh Cusack performing a famous soliloquy from ‘Macbeth’, with the aid of twelve Year 6 students.

Further highlights included an hour’s workshop with a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Education team, exploring practical rehearsal techniques that could be employed in the classroom, and marketplace presentations, where colleagues from around the country shared their experiences of working with the RSC as part of the Associate Schools Programme.

This invigorating and inspiring day was helped along with the aid of excellent food and copious cups of tea.

In the words of Shakespeare himself, ‘O this learning, what a thing it is!’. I look forward to bringing some of the ideas shared at this symposium back to the English Faculty and who-knows-where.

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