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Cape Town celebrates Shakespeare’s 400th Anniversary at a fantastic Festival

South Africa
29 April

Bergvliet Primary School’s unique collaboration with Helen O’Grady Drama Academy to mark 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

Children from Bergvliet Primary School in Cape Town  performed in a Shakespeare Festival to mark the bard’s 400th anniversary of his death on 23rd April.

Learners from the school performed three of Shakespeare famous plays, ‘Romeo and Juliet’, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and ‘Macbeth’, using a variety of different stage techniques and settings to show how Shakespeare’s plays are relevant today as they were 400 year’s ago when he died.

Celebrating it’s 20th year in Cape Town, the Helen O’Grady has been at the forefront of bringing Shakespeare to schools through drama in Cape Town, with over 3,000 children taught per week.

Principal of the Helen O’Grady Drama Academy, Duncan Rice, explains, is "The ideato bring Shakespeare to life in schools by performance! The early we start, the better their understanding will be when they reach high school. No longer do we have the boring tedious study of text in class but we now act it out as William Shakespeare intended in a vibrant, dynamic way. "

“We have found that Primary School children, particularly, can love and appreciate Shakespeare's great works too.”

At Bergvliet Primary School in Cape Town, where the Helen O’Grady Drama Academy runs its international drama programme, the children get the opportunity for a public performance of Shakespeare each year.  Here you can see them in action on the stage.

Gone are those days of trying to decipher Shakespeare by reading the text behind a desk in class. The only way to fully understand the plots, the themes and the language of Shakespeare is to feel and be part of the action. 

 The Helen O’Grady Shakespeare plays are shortened versions of the original text, written in a mixture of modern and Shakespeare’s original language to make the transition to understanding far easier. Through this children gain a love for English literature and some of the tougher aspects of studying Shakespeare’s play, particularly when they have to write about the intricacies of the plays themselves later on in their school career.


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"I would like to share my gratitude for your Helen O’Grady Drama Academy reflected in an incident with my daughter. Today she had a presentation at school in the foreign language class and I was amazed like everyone with her presentation skills to the extend that the Dept Supervisor commented: “Wow, she is so confident of herself” And of course, I know this is no coincidence."

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