The Bard at The Roche School

The study of  Shakespeare has been part of the fabric of the British curriculum for hundreds of years with educators now stressing that inspired, lively and active teaching is the way to ensure that children enjoy rather than endure the language and the life lessons that he brings.

The Roche School is committed to helping pupils engage with the beauty of the bard by taking steps to ensure it is delivered in a memorable and life-enhancing way. This accords with the pedagogical approach of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare’s Globe Education Department and the Schools Shakespeare Foundation.

In order for our pupils to experience a steady and enjoyable exposure to Shakespeare, we run a biennial Shakespeare Week enjoyed from Reception upwards and further up the school pupils also get the chance to perform with the Schools Shakespeare Foundation, a charitable trust which gives pupils the chance to perform Shakespeare in professional spaces.

The benefits of this are legion – increased personal confidence, greater enjoyment of language, voice work, the experience of working as part of an ensemble alongside all the pleasures of Shakespearean shenanigans and an appreciative audience. It is our belief that language learnt by heart in this way and delivered with conviction and understanding will be with them forever.

Under the able leadership of Melanie Parrish, The Roche School kicked off an evening at the Rose Theatre in Kingston on Tuesday 19th November 2019 (followed by Putney High, Rokeby and Hinchley Wood) with a rousing version of Twelfth Night. Despite being the youngest performers there, they made a huge impact with the director commenting afterwards that it was highly unusual to see primary school children engage with the play with such understanding and vigour.

The festival encourages creative and musical interpretations and so we took Mr Gunther and Mrs Katie with us. Their renditions of Walking on Sunshine and Ever Fallen in Love (Buzzcocks) resounded through the auditorium. The creative construction of the “hedge” (behind which key characters hide) was played by pupils in green washing up gloves to the delight of all onlookers and every pupil showed true grit and professionalism both onstage and backstage.

As ever, we are grateful for parental support whose enthusiastic approach to costume and willingness to support the school are greatly appreciated.