Shakespeare Week at LEH Foshan

In midsummer, as the school year 2021-2022 drew to a close, LEH Foshan joined the huge community of British schools to celebrate Shakespeare Week, a week-long festival honouring and exploring Shakespeare’s life and work.

The Shakespeare Week provided opportunities for our students to infuse literacy with creativity, enjoyment and inspiration, and opportunities to build organic links across different subjects, which is an important concept of our holistic learning approach at LEH Foshan. 

Experiencing Shakespeare

The week kicked off with a fabulous virtual tour of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London – with a live link-up to the Globe’s expert educational practitioners who brought this magical, meticulously recreated theatre to life for us.

 

 

 

The tour was followed by live workshops run by expert practitioners from Shakespeare’s Globe theatre in London: younger students experimented with the rhythm of the text and enjoyed lively drama games, while our IGCSE Literature students dived into the significance of verse and prose, and analysed Shakespeare’s use of poetic metre and form – they are well on the way to becoming experts themselves!

In the following school days, activities were running in lessons across the subject spectrum, giving students opportunities to delve into Shakespeare’s stories, language and characters from different perspectives. 

 

 

Art students become mask designers, preparing characters for the Romeo and Juliet masquerade ball.  

 

 

In Design & Technology, students were exploring stage design for productions of Shakespeare’s plays. 

 

 

In Drama, students were combining physical theatre skills with Shakespearean insults.  

 

 

In the Maths lesson, students were working hard to solve a Shakespearean Murder Mystery.  

A big thank you to Mrs Chapman for her contribution to coordinating Shakespeare Week for our students.

Mrs Kathryn Chapman

Head of English 

Mrs Kathryn Chapman will be starting her role as Head of English and the Language Faculty from the school year 2022-23. She has taught in London and Lincolnshire in a wide variety of different types of schools, most recently selective. She has also been a Subject Leader in Drama, introducing it as a subject as well as running the school's theatre company and their ambitious productions, and loves bringing drama skills into English learning. She has also worked as a Sixth Form tutor, supporting students into their preferred universities.

Interviewing Mrs Chapman

What are the purposes of celebrating Shakespeare Week? 

At the heart of British culture is a love of words: we love comedic language, powerful calls to action, clever wordplay, and we find great significance when emotions, identity, time or place are encapsulated in the perfect literary image or metaphor, or the perfect line of poetry. Shakespeare is unparalleled amongst writers for his ability use words in this way. In celebrating his life and work, our students are able to share in this profound love of language.

 

 

In English, students were investigating and supporting characters in Shakespeare’s stories, bringing them to life, giving them a chance to speak for themselves.  

How do students benefit from studying Shakespeare? 

The study of Literature is the study of testimony – each literary text is a response (however indirect or imaginative) to how it felt to live in that writer’s world, wherever or whenever that was. The analytical ability and emotional intelligence involved in responding to Shakespeare’s writing – as well as the appreciation of historical context required – is why universities are impressed by high grades in Literature, but also why the student’s emotional and social development are supported by this most empathetic and beautiful field of study.

 

 

In Science, students were exploring the Bubonic Plague, and its similarities and differences to the current epidemic. 

Could you share some tips with students and parents who are interested in learning more about Shakespeare?  

Don’t rush straight to an original-text version of a Shakespeare play in book form! 

Step one: introduce yourself to a shorter version of the story in modern language – illustrated if possible. There are lots of varied and engaging examples in the LEHF Library to choose from, including graphic novels – or you can find versions online. 

Step two: watch it! It’s a play, after all. All students have access to the Drama Online subscription from our Drama teacher, Mr Savill, where they can find multiple versions of many of Shakespeare’s most beloved plays, performed by world-class acting companies. Turn on the captions (in English) if you can, to help yourself connect the spoken language with the written. 

 

 

In Mandarin, students learned why Hamlet attracts audiences all over the world and then practised and performed a short version of Hamlet in Chinese. 

Now you’re ready for step three: open the original text and dive in. Look for the gorgeous, stark visual images in the words. Feel the flow of that sublime poetic metre. And keep referring to the glossary. You think the average British person today could tell you what a bodkin or an arras are? Of course, they couldn’t - these plays are four hundred years old! Decode the few tricky bits and enjoy the exquisite poetry and drama of the words. And don’t forget, there’s a wealth of information online, both introductory and for revision.