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New funding for Shakespeare at school

05/11/2012 Kelly
William Shakespeare will become an even more important part of the national curriculum for English and theatre studies, with new funding being made available so schools can celebrate the 450th anniversary of the Bard's birth in 2014.

If you're looking for teacher jobs in these areas, now might be the time to brush up on Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello and the playwright's other classic plays.

These texts have always been taught in schools, but £140,000 is being made available for the 2012-13 academic year by the Department for Education to the Shakespeare Schools Festival (SSF), so that thousands of children can stage the works on stage to mark the milestone year.

Funding is also being provided to the Royal Shakespeare Company to provide state schools with free copies of its RSC Shakespeare Toolkit for Teachers, which complains more than 60 hours' of lesson plans and resources for Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said: "I was enraptured by a Shakespeare Schools Festival performance of Macbeth by a primary school at the Royal Court earlier this year. The Festival enables students to bring the plays of the great playwright to life and does fantastic work to improve cultural education in our schools."

Sir Tom Stoppard Kevin Spacey and Jenny Agutter are some of the well-known patrons of the SSF, which works every year with schools across the country to stage plays by Shakespeare.

Revered actor Ralph Fiennes, another of its patrons, says: "I carry a flag for Shakespeare's verse. It was the reason I became an actor - because I was moved and excited by Shakespeare's language and Shakespeare's stories. Which is why I support the important work of this imaginative charity."

At present, the body works with 700 schools to produce 175 nights of Shakespeare. This year, the fruits of its labour can be found at 90 participating theatres until November 15th. In total, eight per cent of England's schools are involved with the Shakespeare Schools Festival.

Posted by Alan DouglasADNFCR-2164-ID-801481979-ADNFCR
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