SHAKESPEARE will be helping youngsters get creative this year.
More than 2million children and their families will be taking part in an art and design-themed programme for Shakespeare Week (March 16 to 22) – the annual national celebration of the Bard in primary schools run by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
The trust is working with some of the country’s best known artists to develop free resources and activities that will enthuse and inspire children to get creative with Shakespeare, including children’s TV presenter Ricky Martin from CBBC’s Art Ninja, Korky Paul, illustrator of the popular Winnie the Witch series, and Waterstones Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell.
New for this year’s celebration is the Shakespeare Portrait Competition which will see children age 11 and under invited to create their very own portrait of the Bard for a chance to win prizes, including having their artwork exhibited in an online exhibition during Shakespeare Week. Children have until January 31 to enter their artwork. Visit www.shakespeareweek.org.uk/competition for full details.
Jacqueline Green, head of learning and participation at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, said: “In the six years that Shakespeare Week has been running we’ve demonstrated that making Shakespeare fun and accessible to young children can have a positive impact in the development of their imagination, creativity and social skills.
“It’s clear that using creative and artistic means to provide an enriching first encounter of Shakespeare is benefiting so many, whatever their background.
“By working with schools and cultural partners, we are supporting teachers to instil creativity and help as many children as possible progress onto enjoying Shakespeare’s works, both as part of the secondary curriculum and in their future lives.”
Families too can celebrate Shakespeare Week. Throughout the week, there will be a number of free events in libraries and cultural organisations across the country, and of course in Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford.
On Saturday March 21, Shakespeare’s Birthplace will play host to a free family fun day, with activities such as an illustration workshop with Horrible Histories illustrator Martin Brown, an animation station hosted by CBBC’s Ricky Martin and Shakespeare-inspired crafts with children’s author and illustrator Marcia Williams.
Visit www.shakespeareweek.org.uk for further details.