Arts-Based Learning

Method, Madness and Meaning Shakespeare and Play

“Though this be madness, yet there is method in ‘t.” So reads the line from Shakespeare’s tragic Hamlet, and as Luke Hollowell-Williams from the Primary Shakespeare Company shows, dramatic methods can help unpack the ‘madness’ and create brilliant young learners.

Heritage is fine – indeed, it’s a wonderful thing to celebrate a past as rich as ours. However, the mission statement of the Primary Shakespeare Company  of “raising achievement and attainment by engaging with Shakespeare” is there because of what is alive in his plays. I can only describe it as a sort of living challenge that he throws down, a gauntlet that his work dares you to pick up. There are some who say that his plays are difficult, his characters complex and – above all – that his language is demanding. Indeed, I am one of those people. Although some might argue that these are valid reasons for not introducing Shakespeare to children still in primary school, I would say that these are precisely the reasons why we should. 

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