Thousands of school children from across the region are seeing the Bard brought to life at an Elizabethan-style pop up theatre in York.
One of the key aims of Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, the company behind Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre, was to open up opportunities for children from across the north of England.
With charitable donations and a bursary scheme, around 3,000 free tickets have been given to school groups who might not otherwise have been able to attend. And as the theatre hosts nine designated morning schools performances and offers discounted tickets, a total of 8,000 children from 125 schools are taking part.
“When planning Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre it was very important to us that we enabled as many school children as possible to see a production,” said James Cundall, chief executive of the production company and creator of the theatre.
“Seeing a Shakespeare play live in the environment that it was intended for is a unique experience which, I believe, brings it to life in a way that can’t be achieved by hearing or reading the play in a classroom.”
Tang Hall Primary School in York was one of 50 schools to have taken a group to watch a production, Macbeth, under the Rose Bursary scheme, with others coming from as far afield as Huddersfield, Leeds, Doncaster, and Whitby. For Year 4 pupil Tilly-Mai Harton, the best bit was the fairies, while Sairah Cheddie’s favourite character was Puck.
“Watching 800 children engrossed in Macbeth was a joyful experience, which further enhanced my view that there is no substitute for live entertainment,” added Mr Cundall.
“Hopefully we will have engendered a love for theatre, and who knows, the next Dame Judi Dench or James Norton might have been in the audience watching a live play for the very first time.”