View from the community: Children captivated by theatre outing

PUBLISHED: 16:14 05 February 2019 | UPDATED: 16:14 05 February 2019


Going to the theatre is definitely one of my favourite things to do and whether it’s a pantomime or an intense political drama, that time immersed in another world is a real joy for me.

I would have to choose musicals as my most loved genre, with West Side Story and My Fair Lady vying for top place in my heart’s list; the gorgeous music which will reverberate around my head for days, the magnificent costumes and the fantastic scenery all go together to make a perfect outing for me.

So I was delighted to be invited to a performance of The Winter’s Tale by actors from the National Theatre, staged especially for primary school children at our own marvellous Stratford Circus, part of Newham’s Every Child programme – and what a great afternoon it was!

There must have been at least 200 10 to 11-year-olds in the audience and they absolutely loved the play which, in its original form, was written by William Shakespeare some 400 years ago.

The very gifted actors used Shakespeare’s original language and I might have worried that the children and I would not understand medieval English but the acting was so vivid that we were in no doubt about the story.

I was interested to hear a child ask, during the question time after the play was over, “How do you get used to speaking in that old fashioned English?” and an actor said that they had translated the original words into modern English, so that they were sure that they’d got the meaning right, before reverting to Shakespeare’s words for the performance.

Another child asked how long it had taken to learn the play and I think the children were quite surprised to learn that it had taken five weeks.

I was so pleased to see that our children are being introduced to world-class classical theatre and my hope is that the performance that they enjoyed this week will inspire them to try all sorts of other entertainments in the future.

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