Wendover students take to the stage at special Shakespeare event

Students from a school in Wendover were given the opportunity to perform to a live audience at a Shakespeare-themed event.

By James Lowson
Tuesday, 5th April 2022, 11:39 am

Youngsters from John Colet School in Wendover performed some of the playwright’s most famous lines at Magdalen College.

They were among 52 pupils who enjoyed a Shakespeare day at the historic education centre in Oxford.

Last Friday (1 April), lucky students performed an abridged version of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew.

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Photo from Peter Sterling Photography, youngsters performing Shakespeare

Coram Shakespeare Schools Foundation (CSSF), a not-for-profit organisation, is behind the event.

Students were treated to a lecture from Shakespeare specialist, Professor Laurie Maguire.

The Magdalen Players hosted a drama workshop with the youngsters.

Guest pupils were given a guided tour of the Magdalen College grounds and the city of Oxford.

A performance of Taming of the Shrew

Included within the day out in the historic city was a tour of the History of Science Museum and Weston Library exhibition.

The audience for the specially-organised production was made up of college staff and students.

Francesca Ellis, CSSF’s head of creative and programmes said: “We’re delighted that these young people will have a unique opportunity to perform in the historic surroundings of Magdalen College, Oxford and to use this chance to see themselves in a new and exciting world.”

An additional motive behind the drama day was to provide the children involved with the confidence and knowledge to consider Oxbridge as a realistic place they could study in the future.

Photo from Lane Cooper, another from Shakespeare day

Participating schools have a minimal history of sending pupils to Oxford or Cambridge.

Selected students are from a wide range of backgrounds and abilities, CSSF states.

Peter Kessler, project initiator, Magdalen College said: “Every year schools from all over the UK take part in the Shakespeare Schools Festival.

"For the children involved the experience builds confidence, imagination, self-respect, interest in learning, cultural awareness – and they even learn some Shakespeare.

"Our aim is that they will not be overawed by the place (as many aspiring students are when they visit on open days), but instead they will feel like they belong here, that they are part of the place, and that they understand it.

"We hope they will go home not only seeing that access to Oxford and Cambridge is within their reach, but also sharing that understanding with others in their school.”