Shakespeare and kids shouldn’t really mix – but a thriving drama group in Cumbernauld is proving otherwise.
Shakespeare’s Kids has just celebrated its fifth birthday with a sell out show and a brand new film – not bad for a group that was never intended to be permanent.
Sharon McNally set the initial project up while she was studying literature and language with the Open University. She was interested in making Shakespeare more appealing for youngsters.
And such has been the enthusiam from students that it has gone from strength to strength.
“I didn’t think it would take off like it has,” said Sharon. “We now have 140 children involved!”
The initial film of Shakespeare’s famous play Macbeth at Colzium Estate was a huge successs.
Since then, scenes were re-shot in Stirling Castle which have been used by Historic Scotland.
Funding also allowed the group to film A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Chatelherault House in Hamilton.
A third film, Romeo & Juliet, filmed at Westerwood Hotel and Cumbernauld Old Parish Church, premiered in March 2015.
Shakespeare’s Kids encourages children as young as five to enjoy the famous plays, using costumes and props to tell the stories.
The productions bring drama, dance, music, film and costume together.
This year, there was a also musical theatre element to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, performed in St Maurice’s High School on all three of its stages.
The most recent film will be shown as part of Glasgow Film Theatre’s education week. It also impressed Virgin Money, which is hosting a screening and public performance on June 17 in the cinema room of its Glasgow headquarters.
Scottish Youth Theatre has praised the project and Sharon has been delighted with its warm reception.
“The whole show was amazing!” she said. “People can see it on YouTube – we’ve had views from as far away as Pakistan and Australia.”
She believes that’s because what the group does is very unusual.
“As far as I know we’re the only company like this worldwide – certainly the only one in the UK,” Sharon added. “But the children love it! I love that there’s such a mix of ages – the older ones really help the younger ones.
“They were all brilliant!”
Sharon said there is nothing more rewarding than watching a child reach their full potential and she is hugely grateful to the volunteers who help her.
Shakespeare’s Kids is now preparing for its summer schools, which are booking fast. To find out more, visit www.shakespeareskids.co.uk.