Minsthorpe students perform ‘Macbeth’ for local primary schools
Fifteen Minsthorpe students impressed Year 4 staff and pupils with their adaptation of ‘Macbeth’ this week, confidently performing to huge audiences in the Training and Conference Centre. The after-college Shakespeare Ensemble wowed the audiences from Ash Grove Junior and Infant School, Moorthorpe Primary School, Northfield Primary School and South Kirkby Academy on Tuesday 27th March, and South Elmsall Carlton Junior and Infants School, St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School and Upton Primary School on Wednesday 28th.
The students from Years 7, 8, 10 and 13 rehearsed every week after college and at lunchtimes to ensure it was a great success, and loved the opportunity to host local audiences at Minsthorpe. They developed resourcefulness, resilience and respect by demonstrating exceptional team-work skills, and supported each other throughout the whole, difficult process. The Minsthorpe students were faced with a fresh challenge of increasing their production this year; in previous years, at the Honley Shakespeare Festival in Huddersfield, they have created one scene from ‘Hamlet’, ‘Henry V’ and ‘The Tempest’. This year they delivered an adaptation of the whole play, ‘Macbeth’, which lasted 45 minutes.
Minsthorpe’s ‘Macbeth’ told the famous story of power, witchcraft and murder, and the ensemble used fluid casting, choral speaking, music and choreographed movement to retell the downfall of the tragic hero, "this dead butcher and his fiend-like queen." Audiences were cleverly involved in the final Act to share their sound effect skills and directorial suggestions, and even engaged in an enormous Mexican wave as "Birnam Wood" walked up Dunsinane Hill in the final battle scenes.
Mrs Sally Thompson, who teaches English, invited the primary schools to come and see the amazing work students of all ages and abilities can produce through Shakespeare’s plays.
I am so proud of this year’s Ensemble. Next year we hope to host our own Shakespeare Festival at Minsthorpe, collaborating with all of these schools to perform one collective play.
The levels of literacy, oracy and confidence developed through ensemble learning is fantastic. We can’t wait to share this again, and we were delighted to work with the Year 4 pupils, whose behaviour and enthusiasm was outstanding. Many thanks also go to Miss Wildman, Mrs Keith, Miss Owen and Miss Ficken for supporting the rehearsals and performance afternoons; the Minsthorpe Ensemble goes from strength to strength!