Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in Southwark offered 600 students free tickets to see Othello, which comes to the end of its run tomorrow (21 March).
The performance, set in the First World War, was especially created for 11 to 18 year olds, with ten schools in the borough having now attended the production since it began on 26 February.
For many students, it was the first time they had seen a live play. Morgan Melhuish, head of drama at Southborough High School for boys, in Kingston, said: “Some of our lads hadn’t even seen a pantomime before they went to the Globe, and they came out saying, ‘Oh wow, I’d quite like to see some more Shakespeare!’ Shakespeare writes for everybody and the experience is so important; the effect is palpable in their essays.”
The production was part of Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank, an annual project from Globe Education at Shakespeare’s Globe, in which every state secondary school in London and Birmingham is offered free tickets to see a Shakespeare play on the borough’s famous Globe stage. The contemporary productions retain Shakespeare’s language and are kept to 100 minutes in order for schools to travel to the Globe and back on a school day.
Discussing the play, director Bill Buckhurst, said: ““Othello is full of real-life issues: friendship, envy, domestic violence, race, rumour and prejudice. It’s a world on the brink of war. With the First World War centenary commemorations in the media and all around us, the parallels are clear. But there are some extraordinary stories of black soldiers in the British army which are not as often told.
“Shakespeare was well ahead of his time, and it’s incredibly exciting to tell his 400 year-old stories to a new generation. Their responses are always astounding. Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank shows anyone can understand, and more importantly, enjoy Shakespeare in his own language.”
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