From 16-22 March 2020, more than two million children
and their families will be getting creative as part of an exciting art and
design-themed programme for Shakespeare Week - the annual national celebration of Shakespeare in primary
schools run by independent charity, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
The Trust is working with some of the country’s best-loved 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, award-winning author and illustrator, Marcia Williams, and Waterstones Children’s Laureate, Cressida Cowell.
New for this year’s celebration is the Shakespeare Portrait Competition, inviting children age 11 and under to create their very own portrait of the Bard for a chance to win fabulous prizes, including having their artwork exhibited at The Lowry and in an online exhibition during Shakespeare Week. Children have until 31 January 2020 to enter their artwork. Full details are available on the Shakespeare Week website www.shakespeareweek.org.uk/competition/
Recent research by Arts Council England and Durham University has highlighted the fundamental benefits that creativity and creative thinking can play in the education of young people.
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-upon-Avon. On Saturday 21 March, 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 Ricky Martin from CBBC’s Art Ninja, and Shakespeare-inspired crafts with children’s author and illustrator, Marcia Williams.
Other highlights happening throughout Shakespeare Week include:
- Shakespeare-themed activities in libraries across the country, including illustration workshops and Shakespeare LEGO clubs
- The Big Shakespeare Book Hunt in 154 communities across the country, supported by Walker Books and the National Literacy Trust
- Kids Zone online challenges for children to complete in school or at home including drawing comic strips, writing poetry or enjoying retellings of Shakespeare’s plays
- Over 150 free resources for teachers, home educators and families covering subjects across the curriculum, including new step-by-step video tutorials from popular children’s illustrators on creating portraits of Shakespeare. There are also fun activity resources for educators to develop creative skills in the classroom.
After the success of the Big Shakespeare Book Hunt over the last two years (with around 50,000 children taking part), the wild books will be returning in 2020. 154 schools (from Aberdeen to the Channel Islands) will be receiving a wild book to set free into their local communities. Each Wild Book will also contain reading tips from our partners, The National Literacy Trust, for parents and carers.
Since its launch in 2014, over 8.8 million children have taken part in Shakespeare Week, which provides teachers and home educators with free tools to take Shakespeare into their classrooms, across every subject in the curriculum. Shakespeare Week 2020 promises to be another magical and fun-filled week for children across the UK. To get involved, register or just find out more about Shakespeare Week, please follow us on Twitter @shakespeareweek or look at our website www.shakespeareweek.org.uk. Join the conversation on social media @ShakespeareWeek, #ShakespeareWeek.