Pupils will peform Shakespeare @ the Lyric

A two-night celebration featuring three of his best-loved plays

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Pupils from the borough’s primary and secondary schools will bring the Bard to life when they take to the Lyric Hammersmith stage for Shakespeare: Live! – a two-night celebration featuring three of his best-loved plays.

Shortened versions of Macbeth, Hamlet and Romeo & Juliet will be performed at 7pm on 17 and 18 November by children who have been working with professional theatre company Dramarama.

All the plays have been staged at local schools earlier in the year but this will be the first chance for children to perform them at a professional theatre. The audience will comprise parents, headteachers and school staff, as well as local residents and guests from the council and the government’s Department for Education and Skills.

Shakespeare: Live! has been jointly organised and produced by Dramarama and the council’s Excellence in Cities (EiC) team. EiC, which provided funding for the project, is part of a government scheme to address the particular challenges facing children and teachers in urban areas.

The schools taking part in Shakespeare: Live! are:
· Fulham Cross secondary school, in Fulham – performing Macbeth with an all-girl cast, starring Chekira Singleton-Holder as Lady Macbeth and Elisha Edwards as Macbeth
· Wendell Park Primary School, in Shepherds Bush – another chance to see their acclaimed version of Romeo & Juliet, which has already been performed at the school and the National Portrait Gallery
· Summer Shakespeare Academy – a production of Hamlet, first performed in August by a cast of children from Henry Compton, Burlington Danes and Fulham Cross secondary schools and Melcombe, Fulham and Sir John Lillie primary schools, who were all taking part in the Dramarama/EiC Summer Shakespeare Academy at the London Oratory School theatre.

Bernie Peploe, deputy head of Fulham Cross School, said their all-girl version of Macbeth was first performed at the school in the summer.
“We are very excited that our students now have the opportunity to perform the play at the Lyric theatre,” she said.

Phillip Gates, co-artistic director of Dramarama with Kate Allerston, said: “This is a celebration of the talent of young actors in the borough as well as a showcase for our successful collaborations with local schools and the council.”

Tony Bobbett, from Fulham, whose daughter Rebecca, 11, is one of the young actors taking part in the Shakespeare: Live! production of Hamlet, said: “I am not a theatre-going person but I really enjoyed their first performance of Hamlet in the summer. All the children were very good.
Rebecca usually gets nervous before exams but she didn’t seem nervous about this at all. She has thoroughly enjoyed it. My wife and I are very pleased she is taking part in these performances at the Lyric, which we will be going to see. We are very proud of Rebecca and all the children.”

The borough’s mayor, Cllr Charlie Treloggan, who will attend Shakespeare: Live!, said: “We are very proud of the high standard of work which our schools have produced in collaboration with Dramarama. This is a great example of how the Excellence in Cities programme has enabled us to provide an exciting range of extra academic and creative opportunities for pupils.”

· Tickets for Shakespeare: Live! are £3, or £2 for concessions, and are available from the Lyric Hammersmith on 08700 500 511.

November 7, 2004