It was a dull, Wednesday morning when myself, Lily and Coco traveled on a coach with other primary and secondary children and accompanying adults, down to Stratford as part of the Durham Shakespeare Ensemble. We were performing at the RSC theatre ‘The Other Place’ as part of the ‘Playmaking Festival’ and we were performing a scene from The Tempest.
We arrived at the Youth Hostel around 4pm, to meet glorious sunshine and a temperature of 20 degrees. Once rooms were allocated the children had a wonderful time exploring the grounds of the hostel. Then it was time for dinner, pizza and chips, which the children were ready for. The youth hostel was full with families and a large group of German pupils and accompanying teachers. Coco and Lily even got to use the French they know as they made friends with a little French boy.
After a good night’s sleep and a big breakfast, it was off to the theatre for a tech run and dress rehearsal. The children were all very excited as they went through their lines and got used to the props and the lights. After a successful dress rehearsal, the group were led backstage as the audience were let in. Excitement and tension grew as the children awaited their cue to go on. Mrs Gentiles and director Mrs Blacklock waited nervously in the front row ready to prompt anyone if nerves took over.
The lights went down as the group entered the stage then up to reveal the scene. Everyone gave a faultless performance which was brilliant. They had all remembered the last minute changes and nobody needed the services of a prompt. Everyone said their lines clearly and with expression. They were all excellent and as a result the audience gave a well-deserved round of applause.
After the performance we had free time to explore Stratford. We went to the church where Shakespeare had been baptised, married and buried and we saw his tomb. The church was beautiful with huge stained glass windows and information about William Shakespeare for you to read. A choir were also performing in the church and we managed to listen to their singing for a short while.
Outside it was getting hotter by the hour so we stayed in the shade and ate our packed lunch on the grass near the canal. We went to the RSC shop and the children bought some souvenirs to take back home. At 3pm we were due to watch The Yorkshire Ensemble perform their interpretation of the Tempest so we went back to the theatre and took our seats ready to watch. It was an excellent performance and we all enjoyed it.
At 5pm we left a bright blue sky and hot day to travel back to Crook where it was raining. Everyone agreed it had been a fantastic experience which everyone had enjoyed and we can’t wait until next year when Julius Caesar will be the play that we will be working with.