Whitley Bay pupils shine at Northern Stage

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Budding actors and actresses from a Whitley Bay school impressed theatre goers at Northern Stage when they starred in William Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, Hamlet.

Twenty-one Year 5 pupils from Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School joined those from six other schools to take part in the production, which was staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company.

It was the second time Star of the Sea had taken part in the annual event.

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“Our school was approached at the end of summer term 2022 and asked if we would like to be a Royal Shakespeare Company Associate School,” explained Clare Taylor, Class Teacher and English and Phonics Lead at Star of the Sea, which is part of the Bishop Bewick Catholic Education Trust.

Star of the Sea Hamlet performanceStar of the Sea Hamlet performance
Star of the Sea Hamlet performance

“In 2023, we took part in our first performance, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This was our second year, and there were seven schools taking part in the production of Hamlet.

“We found this year that the children in Year 5 were excited about the opportunity to work with the RSC and to be part of the Shakespeare club and performance.”

Roles played by the pupils in the famous Shakespearean drama included Hamlet, Gertrude, Cladius, Polonius, Ophelia, Horatio, Laertes, Fortinbras, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and the ghost of Hamlet’s father.

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The children had been rehearsing for the performance since March, under the direction of Mrs Taylor and fellow Star of the Sea Class Teacher Katharine Austin.

Star of the Sea Hamlet performanceStar of the Sea Hamlet performance
Star of the Sea Hamlet performance

Among the other schools taking part were fellow BBCET members Sacred Heart Catholic High School in Fenham, St Catherine’s Catholic Primary School in Sandyford, St Oswald’s Catholic Primary School in Gosforth, and St Michael’s RC Primary School in Elswick.

“Opportunities like this are hugely important for the children, as it allows them to work with professionals from the RSC as well as perform on stage,” continued Mrs Taylor. “These are experiences that many children may not ordinarily have the opportunity to take part in.

“During Shakespeare Week, the whole school works on the play that we are performing that year. The children have thoroughly enjoyed learning about the different Shakespeare plays over the past couple of years and have produced some fabulous improvisations and written work in class as a result.

“We are sure that this will continue year on year, as long as we have the opportunity to be part of something so wonderful.”

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