Leeds Meets Shakespeare Video
In December, Claire Chambers (English, York) and Sarah Olive (Education, York) wrote a post for this blog about the project Leeds Meets Shakespeare. Thursday 21st June saw the concluding celebration for the project at the Carriageworks Theatre. This included a welcome from Tribe Arts and Claire, the debut of the project’s short film which you can view here, and a performance of Macbeth by Rosebank Primary School …not to mention, as befits the time of year, a certificate-giving ceremony for all the schools that participated, namely: Carr Manor, Harehills, Hunslet Moor, New Bewerley, Kerr Mackie and Bankside primary schools. The celebration event was rounded off with a performance from Tribe Arts that will hopefully inspire the students’ and teachers’ future stagecraft.
The project’s key finding is that teaching Shakespeare raises the attainment of Year 1 English as an Additional Language (EAL) pupils in literacy and oracy. It also showed that Continuing Professional Development (CPD) sessions for teachers around postcolonial (Bollywood and other South Asian) Shakespeare can help their effectiveness in the multicultural classroom. Advancing Chambers’collaboration with Leeds City Council and ArtForms, and developing new partnerships with the Globe Theatre, Leeds Playhouse, and Tribe Arts, the project was piloted in six Arooj schools with a significant numbers of British-Pakistani and -Bangladeshi pupils in 2017-18. (Arooj, meaning ‘Acension’ or ‘Arising’, is an ongoing initiative to improve attainment and enrich the curriculum in Leeds schools with a high proportion of Pakistani and Bangladeshi-heritage pupils, which Chambers has regularly worked with since its inception in 2010.) A resource pack for teachers has also been developed that will be rolled out to other schools after the lifetime of the project, to keep the good work and the benefits to students going.
Articles by participants from the project are in place for the Autumn 2018 issue of Teaching Shakespeare, so when it drops on our website you will be able to ensure your slice of the Leeds Meets Shakespeare action!