Updated: Aug 5
Catching one of The Bard's plays in London is a piece of cake with today's handy run-down!
Those of you who read my article about London’s Theatre Scene were probably wondering why I didn’t mention one of the most famous of playwrights: William Shakespeare (who, incidentally, was the star of our recent Valentine's blogs on love in comedies and love in sonnets). His plays are often set texts at GCSE and A Level, and I would strongly encourage all students studying Shakespeare to try and see the play(s) on stage. It really helps bring them to life and it makes it much easier to appreciate their poetic, tragic or comic elements.
The first stop in London would obviously be The Globe, which is a reconstruction of the original Globe Theatre, an Elizabethan playhouse associated with Shakespeare. They are putting on a series of family-friendly events over half-term, which may be a great opportunity to get younger children to find out more about drama and storytelling. For older students and adults, I would very much recommend the Globe's Audience Choice productions: the concept is that you sign up to attend the production, but you will see one of three plays, depending on an informal vote at the beginning of the performance: “The rules are simple: the loudest cheer wins. Actors call it ‘terrifying’, audiences say it’s exhilarating. So scream and shout as loud as you can for the play you want to see, and blow the (figurative) roof off the Globe Theatre.” This year (4 May — 24 August 2019), you will get a chance to see Pericles, Twelfth Night or The Comedy of Errors — A Level students will probably lean towards Twelfth Night, but all bets are open! If you are happy to stand in the yard while watching the play, tickets come as cheap as £5. Tutors and students alike would probably be interested in taking a look at the resources on their website, such as their factsheets.
Another theatre offering a Shakespearian production over half-term is the National Theatre (6 — 21 February 2019): Justin Audibert revisited The Winter’s Tale and created a new version, which promises to be the perfect introduction to Shakespeare for younger audiences — ideal for primary school pupils. Children will be able to join Perdita on “her journey though magic and mayhem as she uncovers her story – the girl who was once lost and then found,” and will be able to look out for the famous bear! According to The Voice, The Winter’s Tale will also tour to primary schools in Greater London in February and March as part of the National Theatre’s commitment to introducing children and young people to theatre, with the production reaching approximately 9,000 primary aged children.
Are you more interested in Shakespeare’s history plays? Next month, you could try and catch Richard III at Alexandra Palace Theatre. Headlong artistic director Jeremy Herrin said to WhatsOnStage: “The production promises to be an investigation of the mind of a tyrant; and with Tom Mothersdale in the title role, and directed by the talented John Haidar, it promises to be a deeply engaging event.” Seeing how the play is staged would be helpful for students taking the OCR English Literature A Level. If you are not based in London, you could still find plenty of resources online on websites such as the one of the RSC, which lists previous productions.
If you are happy to wait a bit longer, A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be on at the Bridge Theatre between 3 June — 31 August 2019, and it looks like the production will allow the audience to really engage with the action: “Shakespeare’s great comedy plunges its audience into the heart of an enchanted forest, a place of change and infinite possibility. In the Bridge’s immersive production, you sit close up to the action, or follow it on foot into a dream world of feuding fairies and uncontrollable desire.”
What is your favourite Shakespeare play? When was the last time you saw one on stage? Let us know in the Comments section!
Blog Post Crafted by Adeline
Adeline helps to run our Admin Team. With a PhD in English, she can call herself a doctor but can’t write prescriptions!
Adeline manages the staff on our Admin Team, liaising with tutors, clients and applicants. She is responsible for processing the ID, Qualifications, DBS Check and References for all our newly joining tutors, as well as taking tuition enquiries, matching tutors to clients, and supporting tutors and clients throughout the process of tuition.