Playing Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Nine-to-Twelve-Year-Olds

Click HERE to register.

What: Using Shakespeare’s popular comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream as our base text, we will explore Shakespeare’s stories, characters, language, life, and world, using movement, props, reading, performing, viewing, and craft projects.

When: Saturdays, 2:00 – 4:00 (snack break in the middle), Oct. 14 – Dec. 2.

Who can enroll: Anyone nine to twelve years of age (12 children max); parents/guardians welcome to attend, younger siblings welcome with permission of instructor

How much: $35 per registered child. Registration to open soon.

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 peterson.lesley@gmail.com.

What families can expect: With the help of familiar experiences and stories (such as Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak) a few simple props and costumes, coloured pencils, some videos, an empty space, and our imaginations, we will actively explore Shakespeare’s language, stories, characters, and ideas. On the last day of the program, students will perform short scenes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream using Shakespeare’s original language. By introducing Shakespeare to our children when they are young, we take advantage of children’s natural ability to acquire language, and we participate in a tradition that is centuries-old and that helped to shape many of our favourite artists, including Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and Louisa May Alcott.

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.

Click HERE to register.