Shakespeare unlocked by Year 5 at the 2023 GDST Shakespeare day at The Globe

Posted on 5th May 2023

A group of Year 5 students enjoyed a fantastic trip on Thursday 4th May as they headed to the GDST Shakespeare Day at The Globe Theatre in London’s Southbank.

Our intrepid group navigated their way across London from Liverpool Street, using a map of central London to find their way to Bank, and then taking the Underground for one stop to St Paul’s. We enjoyed walking past Sir Christopher Wren’s famous landmark before walking over the Millennium Bridge towards The Globe itself.

Once we had met up with some of our sister schools including Sheffield High, Royal High School Bath, Shrewsbury High, Wimbledon High and Birkenhead High, we met our guide for the day, Susan. She took us on a tour of the Theatre itself explaining some of the history of the famous building. The group had the chance to go on stage and try out a famous line from Hamlet. We loved finding out where the secret trapdoors were imagining how it must feel to act on such a spectacular stage.

“It was so fun and I loved the experience. It was the best field trip ever. I loved the acting overall and walking through London. The Globe is really big and the staff were all really nice. The trapdoors were cool, there were ghosts and it was just really fun. I had a great time.”

Norwich High Prep Student

We made our way to our workshop space. The first workshop saw groups of students working together to rehearse a scene from Hamlet. Susan taught the groups to interpret the stage directions inherent in the lines, and how to unpick the language to decode the meaning. The groups were so impressive when performing back their scenes, particularly given that they were working with and performing to students they had only just met. The GDST spirit shone through and each group took on Susan’s guidance to keep improving.

One student commented, “I really enjoyed the acting workshop when we were playing Hamlet and his mother. I thought Hamlet had a lot of power at that time in the story; overall I really like acting, and I definitely would go and see productions at the Globe more and learn more about Shakespeare’s history.”

After lunch, our session on Women in Shakespeare challenged the students to freeze frame scenes featuring famous female characters. They were each able to convey complicated plot scenes through the poses they chose. They then worked in pairs to act out a scene between Hamlet and his mother.

We made our way to the Sam Wanamaker Theatre for a brilliantly educating and immersive Hamlet storytelling with the Globe storyteller. The story of Hamlet was broken down and explained with the whole group hanging on every word right until the suitably tragic ending. One of the students says, “I liked the one woman show in the Theatre – it was very good and she was so good at all the funny voices. There was a bit too much death and betrayal but I think I will read more Shakespeare now – maybe the comedies.”

With a quick stop via the gift shop, we made our way along the Southbank to London Bridge via the Golden Hinde. We chose to walk back up to Liverpool Street for the train home and more snacks and games.

Mrs Barnes commented: “The students were exemplary ambassadors for Norwich High and did the school proud. The Globe’s workshop delivery was pitched perfectly for the audience and made the children feel considered and central to the experience the whole time, giving them the confidence to build new relationships with other GDST girls. The one woman show was performed with excellence bringing the audience into every aspect in the intimate theatre. It was a fabulous retelling of the story we all know so well. Same time again next year.”

Many thanks to the GDST for arranging such a great day out and to The Globe for welcoming and inspiring us. We look forward to sharing our experiences and new found love of Shakespeare with everyone at school.

“It was one of the best school trips I’ve ever been on. The helpers asked for our opinions lots of times, we weren’t just there watching a show. The workshops were really fun. You got to work with other people from other schools which was fun and meeting the rest of the GDST; some of the other girls I met had the same interests as me.”

Norwich High Prep Student