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.
Book your seats now for the raft of great family shows coming up!
Treading the BoARDs
Students from Kids’ Theatre Works will be showing off their talents at Ductac on the first two Saturdays of this month. On February 2, 180 musical theatre students will take to the Centrepoint stage to perform songs, dances and scenes from best loved musicals such as Bugsy, Annie, Hairspray, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, We Will Rock You, Grease 2, The Lion King and more. The following weekend, the theatre school’s acting students will be performing scenes from Shakespeare’s plays in the intimate Kilachand Studio Theatre, a perfect performance space that will enable the audience to get up close to all of the action from Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing and Romeo and Juliet.
Dhs50 (per person). February 2, 2pm and 5pm; February 9, 11am and 2pm. Ductac, Mall of the Emirates. www.kidstheatreworks.com. (04 341 4771).
West End to Broadway: A Musical Extravaganza
For musical theatre buffs, this ‘one night only’ show brings seven West End stars to the Centrepoint Theatre at Ductac to perform a night of show-stopping tunes. Expect lyrical treats from Cats, the Sound of Music, Les Miserables, West Side Story, Wicked and many more.
Dhs160 (per person), February 7. Centrepoint Theatre, Ductac, Mall of the Emirates. www.ductac.org
Michael Jackson History Show
Featuring leading Michael Jackson impersonator, Kenny Wizz, this tribute show (suitable for kids aged eight and up) presents the famous History II show, with a live band, fully choreographed dancers and authentic costumes. Fans of the late, great performer will be in for a treat.
Dhs250 (per person). February 12-20. First Group Theatre, Madinat, www.madinatheatre.com (04 366 6546).
Pirates of Dinosaur Island
Perfect for little ones – especially little boys with a prehistoric penchant – this colourful kids’ drama tells the story of a mummy and baby dinosaur who live peacefully on Dinosaur Island. When pirates discover the Island, they also realise that the mummy dinosaur is upset because her baby has gone missing. Cue lots of audience participation, sing-a-long songs, and slapstick comedy – plus a valuable lesson about why little ones need to stay close to their parents.
Dhs150 (per person). March 1-2, 1pm and 4pm performances. Ductac, Mall of the Emirates, www.ductac.org (04 341 4777).
Little ones will love this enchanting stage version of the traditional fairly tale. Put together by Premier Stage Productions (the people who brought Noddy and Peter Rabbit to Dubai) expect this to be another visual treat. Imaginative sets, humorous characters and lots of audience participation will be the order of the day. And your little ones will all be eager to eat up their porridge afterwards, too!
Dhs95-140. March 3-9. Centrepoint Theatre, Ductac, Mall of the Emirates. www.ductac.org (04 341 4777).