“It’s hard to imagine a world without the stories of Macbeth and The Tempest, but it’s possible that these plays may have been lost forever if Shakespeare’s friends had not got together and published his collected works in one precious volume. We are celebrating this important book, published 400 years ago, by inviting children everywhere to make their own Shakespeare-inspired book this Shakespeare Week. We’ll also be exploring Will’s wonderful way with words in a fantastic week of creativity and cross curricular activities.”
Said Sally Gray, Shakespeare Week Project Manager at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
“To inspire children to enter we have created a wonderful online exhibition that includes rare and beautiful books from our museum collection as well as fantastic creative responses from beloved children’s authors including Michael Rosen and Marcia Williams. Winning entries from the competition will have the chance to have their own work on display too. Who knows, but this competition may inspire young people to become authors and illustrators themselves one day!”
The competition, entitled ‘Write ‘Till Your Ink Be Dry’, isn’t just for budding playwrights, as children can create any kind of book they wish – from plays to poetry, Tudor joke books to Shakespeare Showstopper baking books – anything goes and the judges will be looking for creativity, imagination and enthusiasm!
“When I was a kid I never imagined I could be an author and now twenty odd books later I can't imagine doing anything else.
Whatever delight this competition opens up; I know that participants are in for a treat. With Shakespeare's wonderful plays and poems and characters and insults as a starting point you are sure to be in for one heck of a ride. Good luck and get bookmaking!”
Commented Joseph Coelho, Waterstones Children's Laureate 2022 - 2024
The lucky winners from each of the two categories will have their entries included in an online exhibition, as well as a bundle of Shakespeare themed goodies, art materials and books. Schools can also enter collectively to have the chance to win a visit from a well-known children’s author for an exclusive event.
Helping Creativity Flow
Shakespeare Week will burst into the primary school calendar with a week brimming with free-to-access resources and activity ideas, celebrating the legacy of Shakespeare’s First Folio. This is all part of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s First Folio at 400 celebrations and will inspire children to unleash their own creativity.
Monday 20 March 11am
Shakespeare Week assembly with Ben Cajee & SBT’s Shakespeare puppet, including the launch of a catchy new Shakespeare Week song
Tuesday 21 March 11am
Will’s Wonderful Way With Words - an exciting creative language workshop with acclaimed children’s author Michael Rosen
Thursday 23 March 11 am
Creative Cartooning - with Horrible Histories artist Martin Brown
Monday 20 March
A special launch event at Nottingham University’s Lakeside Arts theatre where 120 children from Nottingham, Barnsley and the West Midlands will perform and take part in a festival of creativity.
Wednesday 22 March
Flash mob and storytelling event at The Story Museum, Oxford
Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 March
The week’s creative activity ends with a weekend celebration of Shakespeare’s work, life and times – expect to see street performances including dance and sword-fighting as well as a host of hands-on art activities including a new LEGO family workshop.
Celebrating Shakespeare in Everything
Shakespeare Week, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2024, has had the same objective since its inception, to ensure that children from all backgrounds have a positive first experience of Shakespeare and inspire them to continue to engage with his works throughout their life.
Working with underrepresented communities has been a core aspect of the delivery of Shakespeare Week, with the learning team at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust delivering activity directly in the community through the ‘Shakespeare Hubs’ located across the country. The 2023 celebrations will focus on delivering special events and performances, co-created by the children, in Nottingham, Oxford and Newcastle as well as a joint open day at Shakespeare’s family homes and partner venues in Stratford for over 700 Warwickshire children.
“The importance of Shakespeare Week in giving children, no matter their background, a positive first experience of the works of Shakespeare cannot be understated. Our team work hard to ensure that all the resources are as accessible and engaging as possible, be that through our nationwide ‘Hub’ programme or in-class or at home resources. If we can make Shakespeare’s work as accessible as possible then children’s creativity can be unleashed and any barriers can be lifted.”
Commented Andy Reeves, head of learning development at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
Shakespeare Week takes place from Mon 20 to Sun 26 March. For more information on any of the events or resources or to take part in the ‘Write ‘Till Your Ink Be Dry’ competition please visit www.shakespeareweek.org.uk