Arundel children enjoy the magic of Shakespeare

St Philip's Catholic Primary School, Arundel, dress up and perform a rap to mark Shakespeare week.
St Philip's Catholic Primary School, Arundel, dress up and perform a rap to mark Shakespeare week.

A SPELLBINDING week of Shakespearian drama left schoolchildren in Arundel with a taste for magic on Friday (March 20).

As much of the nation looked up to the sky to witness the largest solar eclipse since 1999 – albeit one that was obscured by cloud – year-six pupils at St Philip’s Catholic Primary School, in Arundel, were doing their best to cast their own, homemade ‘spells’ to cut through the gloom of the astronomical phenomenon.

The three witches

The three witches

It was all part of the school’s enchanting week-long study of one of William Shakespeare’s most renowned plays, Macbeth, as part of the national Shakespeare week.

Since last Monday, the children have been learning all about the play, with the devious three witches’ schemes proving particularly popular with youngsters, so much so they created their own potions and magic bewitchments.

Year-six teacher Claire Fairlie said the tricky language of the 17th century play was not a problem for the pupils.

“It was a bit of a risk but when I said to them, just before Christmas, that we might be doing it, they were really excited,” Mrs Fairlie said. “I couldn’t believe the enthusiasm they had for it.”

Pupils all in their wacky outfits

Pupils all in their wacky outfits

Speaking about Friday’s eclipse, Mrs Fairlie added: “They were all chanting spells during the eclipse but it didn’t bring the sun out from behind the clouds.”

As well as creating spells, the children also used their science and maths skills to calculate precisely what sort of ghoulish ingredients were needed for their potions.

They also created their own tales of Macbeth – with a modern-day twist to proceedings.

“We had Macbeth as a footballer and the three witches as commentators – which was fantastic – to Macbeth in a lawn bowls club, a retirement home and even Macbeth as an orthodontist,” Mrs Fairlie said.

Casting magical spells

Casting magical spells

The pupils also ‘busted some bars’ with their own Macbeth-themed rap as well as teaching some of the school’s younger children about the Shakespearian tale.

The national week was co-ordinated by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

Its aim is to introduce primary school children to Shakespeare’s life, works and times in a fun and engaging way.

This year saw more than 7,000 school and organisations taking part in the event.