On Monday 12th March, six students at The Rochester Grammar School took part in a performance of Julius Caesar: The Ides of March at The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury. This performance was in conjunction with The Royal Shakespeare Company’s Associate Schools Program.
Over the past 10 years the Learning and Performance Network at The Royal Shakespeare Company has worked in long term partnership with 507 schools, 11 regional theatres, 1,320 teachers and reached an estimated 690,000 students. We are fortunate enough here at The Rochester Grammar School, to be one of those schools. Working with The Royal Shakespeare Company, and The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury, gives our student’s the opportunity to work with industry experts in a professional theatre environment. Not to mention, gain a detailed knowledge and understanding of some of William Shakespeare’s most famous plays.
The Associate Schools Programme sees us take part in a programme of staff training to build confidence and skill levels of the teachers in our school; establishing teaching pedagogy to embed active approaches in lessons across all Key Stages; and provides a variety of showcase performance opportunities in the local community, at The Rochester Grammar School, The Marlowe Theatre and The RSC theatres in Stratford Upon Avon.
Preparations for this year’s performance of Julius Caesar: The Ides of March began back in October. Each associate school was allocated a selection of scenes to focus on with key students in their school. Rehearsals took place with both Mr Selby and The Creative Engagement Manager at The Marlowe Theatre, Paul Ainsworth.
On Monday 12th March, our six students taking part in the performance travelled to The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury, to complete a full technical and dress rehearsal. This saw our students work alongside a variety of industry professionals during the day, including The Marlowe Theatre’s costume, stage and technical team. They also performed and worked alongside the other 10 schools in our Associate Schools partnership. They did this, both professionally and confidently.
After the days rehearsal, the final show took place to an audience of approximately 1,000 people. The Rochester Grammar School achieved strong praise from both staff at The Marlowe Theatre, and from other teachers in The Associate Schools Program.
We are looking forward to embarking on our next project with the program, which will see a selection of our students perform an abridged version of Shakespeare’s Macbeth at The Royal Shakespeare Company’s theatre in Stratford Upon Avon.