Playing Shakespeare: Romeo & Juliet for Nine-to-Twelve-Year-Olds

Click HERE to register.

What: Using a few basic props (foam swords!) and lots of physical activities, we explore language in ways that empower children to bring the script to life and make the characters and the scenes their own. Using Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet as our base text, we will take an age-appropriate approach to Shakespeare’s stories, characters, language, and theatre. We will be sharing some of our scenes with family and friends at the end of the program, but the focus will be on building confident comprehension through engagement.

When: Sundays, 1:00 – 3:00 (snack break in the middle), September 9 – November 18 (no class October 7).

Who can enrollAnyone nine to twelve years of age; parents/guardians welcome to attend. Anyone who likes a good Disney movie or a good YA novel will enjoy exploring Romeo and Juliet, one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays with audiences of all ages. Not just a love story, Romeo and Juliet has much to appeal to young performers with its humour, its conflict, its depictions of strong friendship, and its keen awareness of the issues young people grapple with when they think about what it means to be a grown-up. Activities will make it easy for beginners to understand and enjoy the play, while offering students who have more experience with Shakespeare opportunities to creatively apply their knowledge in short scenes they help to direct.

Why:   By introducing Shakespeare to our children when they are young, we take advantage of children’s natural ability to acquire language. Children will discover that Shakespeare is fun; that his language is easy to understand with a little help; that his characters are relatable, and that acting is about imagination, cooperation, and teamwork.

How much: $35 per registered child.

Facilitator: Lesley Peterson taught high school English in Winnipeg for fourteen years. Then she was a Shakespeare professor in the US, where she also brought the Bard into elementary school classrooms as a volunteer. She recently retired and now lives in Riverview.

For more information: Please contact Lesley at

What the children will learn:

  • Shakespeare is fun, and Shakespeare is for everyone.
  • Shakespeare’s language and plots are easy to understand with a little help.
  • Shakespeare’s scripts are easy to perform with a little help.
  • Shakespeare’s characters are relatable for anyone.
  • Shakespeare’s stories are about relatable topics, and many of these topics (the ones we will focus on) are age-appropriate: friendship, loyalty, competition, parent-child conflict, wanting to run away from home, rebellion, obedience, friends getting into fights, people who tease and play tricks on other people; silliness; dreams and ambitions; acceptance, forgiveness; transformation; magic. (You will find many of these same topics in such children’s films and books as Harry Potter and Beauty and the Beast).
  • Any empty space can be turned into another world through the magic of theatre.

What parents/guardians will get:

The opportunity to applaud your child in performance of scenes from Shakespeare, using Shakespeare’s original language.

Access to suggestions for resources to help encourage your children to pursue their new-found interest in Shakespeare at home.