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CHILDREN LEARN TO RUN, COOK AND COUNT WITH THE BARD AS SHAKESPEARE WEEK PLAYS OUT IN SCHOOLS UK-WIDE (17-23 March 2014)

Shakespeare Week is the perfect project to encourage younglings to speak and love Shakespeare

This March 7-11 year olds in more than 1600 primary schools across the UK will explore the stories and legacy of William Shakespeare, from how he influenced today’s modern language to what he might have eaten for his tea!

Teachers in their thousands have signed up to join in this national campaign created by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and are downloading free resources to plan fun and creative sessions that will introduce Shakespeare to children in their most formative years. From fashion, film-making and fingerpuppets to making a Tudor banquet and learning about the plague flea, Shakespeare will be cropping up in unusual ways across every school subject.

Children can continue their Shakespearean adventure outside school with a Passport to Shakespeare that will give them and their family exclusive discounts and access to special exhibitions, productions and events in theatres, historic sites, museums, galleries, cinemas and libraries during Shakespeare Week and beyond, across the UK. For a full line-up of happenings visit www.shakespeareweek.org.uk

The idea of encouraging young children to have fun with Shakespeare in this way is the brainchild of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Jacqueline Green, Head of Learning and Participation at the charity explains why: “Primary school is where magic can still happen, where children are most open to learning new things. We want to open the door to learning about Shakespeare with flexible resources which are free for schools and opportunities for families to try out Shakespeare-related activities and events near where they live.

We’ve been bowled over by response from schools and cultural organisations to this campaign - it proves that Shakespeare is as popular and relevant as ever.”

Baroness Floella Benjamin is an ambassador for the campaign. In her Queen’s Debate speech on education in the House of Lords, she called for Shakespeare Week to become a permanent fixture in our schools calendar:

“I’m particularly proud to be involved in the Trust’s new national schools and cultural campaign to open up Shakespeare’s legacy to every child in Britain. I have seen at first hand how joyfully and enthusiastically young people react when they are exposed to Shakespeare. Shakespeare Week is a bold and original approach to cultural learning and I hope we can make it a permanent annual celebration that will give our children the chance to feel that they are part of something great.”

Author and actor Ben Crystal who has become an ambassador for the campaign says "Shakespeare Week is the perfect project to encourage younglings to speak and love Shakespeare, free from analytical study. Come on board, join in, and bring a treasure chest of writing to the next generation of Shakespearians."

Shakespeare Week is supported using public funding by Arts Council England (ACE). The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust was awarded £150,000 from the ACE Renaissance Strategic Fund to support the first two Shakespeare Weeks in 2014 and 2015.

For more information visit www.shakespeareweek.org.uk

ENDS

For help with planning your Shakespeare Week broadcast or feature, please contact Fido PR who will be happy to assist with individual requests. Further media materials and images are available and quotes can also be provided from Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, supporting celebrities and other participating organisations.

Contact: Nancy Collantine or Rose Allerston at Fido PR:
e. nancy.collantine@fidopr.co.uk or rose.allerston@fidopr.co.uk | t. 0161 2743311

About the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust:
• The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is the independent charity that cares for the world’s greatest Shakespeare heritage sites in Stratford-upon-Avon, and promotes the enjoyment and understanding of Shakespeare’s works, life and times all over the world.
• The charity runs formal and informal educational programmes for people of all ages.
• It holds the world’s largest Shakespeare-related museum and archives open free to the public, a collection which is designated as being of international importance.
• The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust receives no direct revenue funding; it depends on income generated through the support of visitors, donors, grant funders, volunteers and Friends.
• For further information visit www.shakespeare.org.uk