Youngsters brushing up their Shakespeare with a little help from stars

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Friends, Sandgrown’uns, Countrymen... lend me your ears!

Meet the youngsters who are brushing up on The Bard in preparation for a Grand performance.

Liam Johnston, 11 from Larkholme Primary in Fleetwood are performing Julius Caesar at the Grand Theatre

Liam Johnston, 11 from Larkholme Primary in Fleetwood are performing Julius Caesar at the Grand Theatre

Pupils from nine schools across Wyre are taking part in a unique project with one of the world’s most famous theatre companies.

And it’s clear the Royal Shakespeare Company is inspiring pupils at Larkholme Primary School as they prepare to lead the way in a performance of Julius Caesar.

Children as young as seven are getting to grips with the scheming, the twists and turns, the backstabbing and battles which make the play one of Shakespeare’s finest.

And, with input from directors and actors from the RSC they are learning to love a play many youngsters might write off as too hard or too old.

Larkholme pupils are getting into Shakespeare

Larkholme pupils are getting into Shakespeare

In spite of their tender years some of Larkholme’s youngsters are already RSC veterans having performed in last year’s stunning touring production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Lewis Garside,eight, is among those excited to be involved again.

He said: “It is very hard and we’ve taken month and months to get to this point.

“There’s been a lot of practice.

“The play is difficult, especially some of the words, it has been a challenge.

“But Julius Caesar is amazing. I really cannot wait to go in the theatre and get on stage.” Lewis is playing Pindarus and he is hoping he’ll be able to remember his lines and stay on his feet. He said: “Last year I managed to stumble and get my toe caught going off the stage. The curtain ended up closing with me on the wrong side. I just did a bow and went off like it was supposed to happen.”

Amelia Carlisle, nine, is one of a group of pupils taking on the role of Strato.

She said: “I was in the dream last year but this is very different, doing it on our own.

“The words are the hardest thing but I like it a lot.

“It’s going to be really exciting. The best thing is being in that big theatre and seeing all the people.”Nine schools from across Wyre – including Shakespeare primary in Fleetwood – have been involved in the project and pupils from every one of them will be performing at the Grand Theatre next week.

Larkholme is leading the group which also includes Flakefleet, Charles Saer and Shakespeare in Fleetwood, Carters Charity and St Aidan’s in Preesall, Red Marsh and Baines in Thornton and St John’s in Pilling.

Teacher Catherine Watts knows it is a unique opportunity.

She said: “For some of these pupils it’s a chance they might never have had if it wasn’t for the RSC getting involved.

“Some of them are pupil premium students, for some of them it’s done wonders for their self confidence and self esteem.

“It’s such an opportunity and it doesn’t stop next week.”

“Two pupils from each school will get the chance to go to Stratford in June and be in the RSC’s own production of Julius Casear.

“They have been absolutely fantastic over the course of this three year project and it’s an honour to have been the lead school.”

Julius Caesar is being performed at the Grant Theatre on Tuesday.