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Shakespeare for kids

Want to introduce the kids to the Bard? Then head to the Madinat

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Want to introduce the kids to the Bard? This month sees Shakespeare’s Globe performing Romeo and Juliet at the Madinat, all the way from London We caught up with producer Chris Stafford, for some pre-performance chit-chat.

What’s so significant about Shakespeare’s Globe?
Founded by American actor and director Sam Wanamaker, Shakespeare’s Globe is a reconstructed Globe theatre; the place where William Shakespeare worked and for which he wrote. Since opening in 1997, Shakespeare’s Globe has become an iconic landmark in London and a respected international resource dedicated to the exploration of Shakespeare’s work. The reconstruction is as faithful to the original as modern scholarship and traditional craftsmanship can make it. Globe Education is the educational arm of Shakespeare’s Globe.

Romeo and Juliet has been reproduced in so many different ways. What can we look forward to seeing in this production?
This Romeo and Juliet is part of The Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank series and will be premiered in the Gulf before opening at Shakespeare’s Globe in London. Actors and Globe Education practitioners will use their unique experience of working and performing in London’s iconic Shakespeare’s Globe to create a 90-minute production, retaining Shakespeare’s original language.

At what age can you introduce kids to Shakespeare, and how can you encourage them to get past the ‘it’s boring and they talk funny’ pre-conceptions?
Shakespeare’s stories are universal and The Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank series is aimed at secondary school children from 11 to 16 years. However, we think that the best way to learn to about Shakespeare is by enjoying his plays. As such, we’ve created many playful and play-filled ways to help kids experience Shakespeare in action. Globe Education works with children aged four and up, as well as catering to children and adults with special educational and behavioural needs. We work with kids all over the world.

What other Shakespeare plays make good viewing or reading for kids and why?
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth and Much Ado About Nothing are all popular and they have a wide scope for modern interpretation. Most importantly, they have great stories at their centre and address issues with which kids can really engage with, namely love, loss, the battle of the sexes, darkness and drama.

How have you lightened-up the dark and violent aspects for a younger audience?
Our production of Romeo and Juliet has been created especially for young audiences and we hope that we’ve produced a show that speaks to and engages with today’s teenagers. Our aim has been to create a play that draws out the moments of tension, humour and drama in equal measure.
Romeo and Juliet will be performed at the First Group Theatre, Madinat Jumeirah from February 26-29. Visit www.madianttheatre.com and www.artforall.ae for more information.

Time Out Dubai,

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