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24 May 2016

English Pupils Visit Shakespeare's Stratford

A group of Lower Sixth English students, accompanied by Mr Smith and Miss Parker, went to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford upon Avon for two performances at the end of the Easter break. On the first evening, they saw a production of Doctor Faustus, by Shakespeare’s contemporary Christopher Marlowe. The lead actors – playing the Doctor who sells his soul to the devil, and Mephistopheles, the devil who becomes his servant – lit matches at the beginning of each performance, to decide who played which role, depending on whose went out first. The production was gripping and made for some quite disconcerting theatre.

On the Saturday, having visited Shakespeare’s grave in the local parish church, and after an introduction to the play in a very English tea room, we saw a production of Hamlet, which has shaken up the play’s image, with a predominantly black cast, setting the play in West Africa, with a 25-year old actor, Paapa Essiedu, as the prince, and some equally brilliant supporting roles. It was a compelling, funny and moving performance by turns. It is hoped that the trip will become an annual venture.

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