National Centre for Early Music

[Skip navigation]
Navigation Menu

A Shakespeare Miscellany

...

As part of the 2016 York Early Music Festival and to mark the 400th anniversary of the life of William Shakespeare, NCEM joined forces with Lord Deramore's Primary School to create and perform A Shakespeare Miscellany. 29 Upper KS2 pupils from Lord Deramore's school had the unique opportunity to work with early music specialists, Cathryn Dew and Andrew Passmore, and professional director and actor, Paul Birch, to develop a performance that that drew together Tudor street and theatre songs and instrumental music from Shakespeare's time, along with vignettes from Shakespeare's plays, including excerpts from Macbeth, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Henry V, As You Like It and The Tempest.

The project ran throughout the Summer Term, with visits from the team of professional artists, introducing young people to the songs, pieces and scenes that would later be drawn together to create a brand new show. The school was provided with a specially created resource pack and online support, allowing class teachers to continue developing the work between artists' visits. The full team of musicians, directors, teachers and pupils came together to conclude the project with an intensive production week, from 11-15 July, culminating in a final performance at the National Centre for Early Music, as part of the York Early Music Festival, on Friday 15 July, 2-3pm. A film of the performance will be available in due course.
Young people said of the project:
  • "I really enjoyed performing on a real stage in a real performance. I also loved how everyone was always positive"
  • "It was an incredible opportunity - thank you"
  • "I loved every second of it, especially the applause!"
  • "I had loads of fun. The King Lear scene was my favourite"
  • "I liked the acting and the singing - can we do it again please?"
  • "It was exciting, learning new things"
  • It was probably the most fun event I have ever done. I truly enjoyed it"
  • "It was an amazing once in a lifetime experience!"
Staff involved in the project have said:
  • "The children discovered they could do something well that they initially found quite daunting. They saw the reaction of the audience which must have made them feel very proud of their achievement"
  • "The project proved that a class of very mixed abilities can come together and produce a quality performance, in which every member plays a valid and valued role"
  • "I think it has proved that Shakespeare is accessible, entertaining and informative both for 11-year-old performers and their audiences!"
A Shakespeare Miscellany was generously supported by the Mayfield Valley Arts Trust, the Sylvia & Colin Shepherd Charitable Trust, the York Common Good Trust, the Norman Collinson Charitable Trust and the Patricia & Donald Shepherd Charitable Trust.