Bingley Grammar School has been chosen by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) to play a major role in its highly-regarded national education programme.
Working with both the RSC and Bradford\'s Alhambra Theatre, Bingley Grammar School will be the \'hub\' school in the RSC\'s three-year Learning and Performance Network (LPN), which aims to transform children\'s first experiences of Shakespeare, and improve the teaching of Shakespeare in schools.
The RSC believes that young people experience Shakespeare best when they follow the RSC\'s manifesto, Stand Up For Shakespeare, which calls for children to: do Shakespeare on their feet, see it live, and start it earlier.
In the Bradford area the RSC will work closely with the Alhambra Theatre to give Bingley Grammar School and up to seven other schools (known as \'cluster\' schools) the skills necessary to teach Shakespeare in a more active way, using techniques similar to those used in RSC rehearsal rooms. The ambition of the partners is then to share these skills with many more teachers and young people across Bradford.
Three teachers from Bingley Grammar School will take a special postgraduate course with the RSC and The University of Warwick, helping them develop expertise in the teaching of Shakespeare. They will also support teachers in the other local schools.
In the first year of the programme in Spring 2014, the RSC will visit the area with a Shakespeare production specifically created for younger audiences. The hub and cluster schools will not only get to see the production, but will benefit from working with education staff and actors on gaining a deeper understanding of the play.
In 2016 all of the schools, together with artists from the RSC and the Alhambra Theatre, will create a children\'s Shakespeare performance festival at The Alhambra.
Jacqui O\'Hanlon, RSC Director of Education, said:
\"We are delighted to welcome Bingley Grammar School into the LPN. As a Hub School, Bingley Grammar School will be delivering an innovative programme of work with its own staff and students and leading a cluster of other local schools. The school went through a rigorous application procedure and we were particularly impressed by their ambition for their students and the local community. We look forward to developing a long-term and meaningful partnership with the school and The Alhambra Theatre to ensure that young people\'s encounters with Shakespeare are exciting and relevant.\"
Matthew Atkinson, Director of Creative and Performing Arts at Bingley Grammar School adds:
\"To be involved with the RSC and the Alhambra is a massive honour. We see the partnership as helping us build upon an ethos of \'belong, respect and inspire\', where every student is involved within school life.
We want the partnership to help us to bring students together from different backgrounds and we see Shakespeare\'s language and the practical exploration of doing this as a highly engaging and initiative approach. Also, we are looking forward to developing partner schools in this project, allowing all staff, students and the Bradford community to benefit from this opportunity and therefore helping the local area to develop with the Arts at its centre.
We look forward to welcoming everyone to Bingley Grammar School over the next three years to celebrate Shakespeare and the partnerships we can create within Bradford.\"
Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Portfolio Holder Employment, Skills and Culture for City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council comments:
\"I am delighted that the RSC are investing in Bradford\'s children in this way. It\'s a really exciting initiative which will really enhance learning and give children a valuable appreciation of theatre. I\'m very much looking forward to seeing the first results of the RSC\'s work with Bradford\'s schools.\"