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Year 6 visit Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

How many aspects of Tudor life could we cram into one trip, we wondered, as Year 6 headed into London on Tuesday this week.  Quite a lot, it transpired...

A drum! A drum! Macbeth doth come…’ was the echoing refrain for much of the morning, as Year 6 took to the stage at the Globe Theatre.  Led by actresses from the theatre itself, Year 6 had the privilege of performing, on that stage, some of the lines from Macbeth which they had been studying, both in English and in Drama, this term.  As they rehearsed being the witches, and the warrior himself, they were shown the ‘heavens’ in the stage above, and ‘hell’ below - trapdoors through which different characters would have entered. Our perceptive Year 6s peppered our guides with questions about the size, shape and construction of the Globe.  They were interested to learn about all aspects of the theatre - why productions would only have taken place in the daytime, during the summers; why the Tudor gentry would have paid for boxes right next to the stage, rather than with a better view; why Queen Elizabeth wouldn’t have come to the Globe; how many people would have crammed into the theatre; and what the ‘penny stinkards’ might have done whilst watching the play…

Our stage-top workshop was followed by lunch next to the river, and then a session sketching London’s skyline across the river.  Year 6 had a copy of the view as it was drawn in the 1600s, and were curious about the changes they could see - the lack of bridges then, and corresponding numbers of boats.  We talked about the other changes: increased heights of buildings, different materials used to build, what the ‘big’ buildings would have been used for in Tudor times, and what ‘big’ buildings are used for now.  

Our day ended with a walk down the South Bank to the replica of the Golden Hinde, the boat on which Sir Francis Drake circumnavigated the globe.  Year 6 were able to share their knowledge of the boat, and its significance, following on from their History lessons on Tudor explorers with Mrs Poor.

It was great to be able to pull together so many aspects of the children’s learning this term, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many to appear on the Globe’s stage. Hopefully, it will inspire some of our thespians to make it back there one day in a full performance of one of Shakespeare’s plays...perhaps Macbeth?

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