News

Shakespeare Week 2019

What's going on in Shakespeare Week 2019?

Last year’s Shakespeare Week engaged 1,813,732 primary school children in the life, times and works of William Shakespeare.

28 Jan 2019

From 18-24 March 2019, Shakespeare Week will provide another series of exciting events to give nearly 2 million children a fun first taste of Shakespeare.

William Shakespeare was never lost for words, but young people in the UK are increasingly so. A national survey published in 2018 reported that more than 60% of primary and secondary school teachers were seeing a rise in pupils with an underdeveloped vocabulary. In order to help children across the country find their words, Shakespeare Week will be embracing the theme of Language and Literacy in 2019.

Our nationwide celebration of language and literacy will kick off with The Big Shakespeare Debate, hosted by celebrated children’s author Michael Rosen, in Whitley Bay Playhouse. Two schools from the North East of England will come together for the event to debate some of the moral dilemmas raised in Romeo and Juliet.

Michael Rosen

2019 will also see the introduction of Will’s Word Warriors to Shakespeare Week. The Word Warriors will be recruited from all walks of life to champion Shakespeare’s Forgotten Words (the list compiled by linguist, author and academic Professor David Crystal) and promote more diverse uses of language. Children will soon be encouraging their peers to ‘drumble’ along, or accusing them of being ‘slug-abeds’, or even telling their teachers to stop their ‘bibble-babble’!

There will be a plethora of new online resources (all free) to ensure children of all economic backgrounds across the world get an exciting first experience of Shakespeare. This includes a new Kids’ Zone on the Shakespeare Week website, which will have a series of interactive resources and videos for children to engage with online. 

Shakespeare Week 2019 has also recruited a new patron! William Shakespaw is a trainee therapy dog, who will be meeting children in Warwickshire and Essex to share Shakespeare’s story and sniff out some forgotten words. Illustrator Marcia Williams has been specially commissioned to produce a series of Shakespeare-inspired postcards featuring William, which will go on sale in the Birthplace shop in time for the start of Shakespeare Week.

After the success of the Big Shakespeare Book Hunt last year (with 26,642 children taking part), the wild books will be returning in 2019. 154 schools (from Glasgow to the Channel Islands) will be receiving a wild book to set free into their local communities. Each Wild Book will also contain one of Shakespeare’s Forgotten Words for the children to learn about and share!

Shakespeare Week 2019 promises to be another magical and fun-filled week for children across the UK. To get involved or just find out more about Shakespeare Week, please follow us on Twitter @shakespeareweek or look at our website www.shakespeareweek.org.uk