Shakespeare taught to three-year-olds at the Globe Theatre
13th June 2012
A new project run by the Globe Theatre is teaching the works of Shakespeare to children as young as three years old, in a bid to stimulate interest in the bard and foster youngsters' love of reading and drama from a very early age.
The theatre's education department is working with nearby schools in Southwark - an area where Shakespeare spent much of his time - in order to take children on a 'magical journey'.
Maggie Tildesley, who works at the Globe and is heavily involved in the project, said the theatre's ethos is to 'transcend beyond its walls', adding that this can be achieved by inspiring young people in the surrounding area to pick up the bard's work and immerse themselves in it.
Although some have questioned the value of teaching the works of Shakespeare to people who may not have learned to read yet, she pointed out that many of the people who attended the bard's plays in the 16th and early 17th centuries will likely have been illiterate.
'There are lots of different ways to explore Shakespeare. He was writing for everyone - not just academics,' Ms Tildesley explained.
Initially, children will study The Tempest, using the play's spirit character Ariel as the main point of focus, though also following the original text.
The Globe notes that following the rhythm of the lines and the sounds of consonants and vowels can be highly beneficial in the formative stages of children's literary development, while the physical aspect of the play will make it easier for them to engage with it.
The key message of the project is that studying Shakespeare is not only informative and immersive, but fun - a fact that Ms Tildesley says people cannot lose sight of, considering there are so many different ways to enjoy the bard's work.
She added: 'They are plays to be playful with … You need a sense of play.'