Pupils perform a modern twist on Shakespeare

Pupils from South Shore Academy perform Shakespeare's Macbeth.  Pictured are Jordan Melson, Callum Luby and Jesis Gurung.
Pupils from South Shore Academy perform Shakespeare's Macbeth. Pictured are Jordan Melson, Callum Luby and Jesis Gurung.
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Shakespeare might turn in his grave if he heard of his comedy The Taming Of The Shrew being played out on a Jeremy Kyle style stage.

But if it helps teenagers to understand the often impenetrable language and twisting plots of his works then even the Bard might be a little less bemused?

Pupils at South Shore Academy took turns to perform parts of the comedy play and tragedy Macbeth to one another in novel productions to celebrate the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth.

Year Eight classes explored the sibling rivalry between characters Kate and Bianca in Taming of the Shrew, playing out their frustrations as their father refuses to allow the younger and sweeter Bianca to marry until her older headstrong sister Kate is wed.

English teacher Emma Greenwood explained: “I asked the pupils to perform any part from the play but in a modern way so they showed the sisters’ rivalry with another playing devil’s advocate as Jeremy Kyle.

“It was fun for everyone and the children definitely have a better understanding of it now.”

The performance breathed new life into the texts for the youngsters.

Cara Consterdine, 13, said: “You expect Shakespeare to be boring and hard to study but doing it like this, I understand it now.”

In Year Nine pupils performed Macbeth as a ‘woosh’ in just 30 minutes, with teacher Michelle Hayward narrating while pupils took on a role each and used masks, hats and even a cauldron to bring the gruesome tale to life.

Mrs Hayward said: “It’s a way for them to understand the plot in a fun way, it was exhausting but really good fun.”

At Blackpool Sixth Form College 18-year-old Dan Smith took on the starring role, acting as Shakespeare himself, when pupils from four secondary schools joined the college for a celebration of his life and works.

He said: “I thought it was good to celebrate such a momentous event in the history of drama and poetry.

“It was an honour to pay respect to his work and ability to summarise the range of human emotion in verse.”

The sixth form’s department of English and modern foreign languages organised lectures, performances, films and a special Shakespeare-themed lunch for ‘The Bard’s Birthday Bash’. Lecturer Anna Mackenzie, from the University of Chester, talked about the continuing relevance and influence of Shakespeare in the world today.

Youngsters from Unity Academy, in North Shore, Hodgson Academy, in Poulton, Cardinal Allen Catholic High School, in Fleetwood, and Montgomery High School, in Bispham, joined the event on Wednesday.