No toil and trouble for East Preston pupils’ play

Pupils and staff from East Preston Junior School celebrating their play success SUS-141117-153337001
Pupils and staff from East Preston Junior School celebrating their play success SUS-141117-153337001

PERFORMING one of Shakespeare’s most renowned plays certainly wasn’t any toil and trouble for these talented East Preston children.

Sixteen pupils from the East Preston Junior School took to the stage to put on their own unique rendition of Macbeth, at the Alexandra Theatre, in Bognor Regis, last Wednesday (November 12).

And the youngsters’ 30-minute interpretation of the 400-year-old tale proved to be a rousing success, with the audience giving them a standing ovation.

A delighted head teacher, Kathy Lockyear, said: “The performance of Macbeth by the children was outstanding. However, what is most important to me was the evident enjoyment of the children taking part.

“They tackled a complicated script with fun, skill and enthusiasm – what a fantastic introduction to Shakespeare it was.”

The play was all part of the Shakespeare Schools’ Festival, a UK-wide youth drama festival.

East Preston’s version followed a class of schoolchildren, struggling to understand the play’s tricky terminology.

While reading Macbeth aloud in class, the group gets magically transported into a giant copy of the book.

Together, with the help of the school prop and costume cupboard, they become Macbeth characters and begin to explore the story.

Sebastian Tejeiro-Mason, ten, who played Macbeth, said: “I think the message of the play is that we should just be happy with what we’ve got.”

While BeBe Baxter, ten, who was Lady Macbeth, said: “It’s been fun getting to grips with the Shakespearian language.”

The show was directed by teachers Judith Crouch Algorta and Sue Tabor.

Mrs Crouch Algorta said: “Our aim was to illustrate that the messages in Shakespeare’s plays are as relevant today as they were when they were written – and that these messages can be accessible to children.

“We’ve been exploring the play together with the cast in a creative, collaborative approach – incorporating many of their ideas along the way. We learn a lot through laughter! It’s hard work but extremely rewarding and a great privilege; I think none of us will forget this experience.”

Set and costume design was led by teaching assistant Denyse Wadsworth, with help from colleagues Bernie Everett and Paula Franklin.