Young Shakespeare

Year 10 received a rather special Friday afternoon early in February when the Young Shakespeare Company (YSC) descended upon the Drama Studio, and, with just four energetic and talented players, transformed it into 11th century Scotland.

For the first half an hour YSC toyed with the script, showing students how easy it is to make the whole play look ridiculous. By showing Macbeth and Banquo as both be-wigged 17th century cavaliers and red-headed burly Scots, playing up the stereotypes, it soon became clear that wrong decisions at the rehearsal stage really can ruin a great play. Students were asked to become directors and advise the actors how Lady Macbeth should persuade Macbeth to murder the king – by begging, being gently pleading, being angry, sarcastic, and with physical force, which the actress playing Lady Macbeth really enjoyed! Students were also treated to a demonstration of stage fighting, which had Mrs Farrow leaping out of the way at one point. Mrs Lamb-Wilson also took part as a patient to the witches as nurses.

The play itself was reduced to an hour’s lively performance. Student participation the performance included Toby Simeons who acted as Banquo’s son, Fleance, with only a few minutes of rehearsal time, Naomi Davis-Griffiths, Neo Sydenham and Liam Turley as Lords at the Banquet at which Macbeth sees Banquo’s ghost.

Pictured below: Toby with “Banquo” during the speech in which Banquo fears Macbeth did “play most foully” for the Scottish crown. The four chairs represent the well at which Lady Macbeth claimed “A little water clears us of this deed.”


Year 10 thoroughly enjoyed this special event, saying it “really helped” their understanding and felt it was well worth giving up part of their lunch break to bring alive this well-known Shakespeare play. For those not studying Macbeth it was an opportunity to further broaden their experience of the great master. It’s a real treat to experience theatre at such close quarters and to see the plays of Shakespeare so professionally performed.

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