1. ITV Report

Bollywood dance to celebrate Shakespeare Week

Youngsters from primary schools in Birmingham took part in the annual Shakespeare Week celebrations, with a special Bollywood dance performance at a train station.

The young students from Blakesley Hall Primary School performed their dance routines at Birmingham's Moor Street Station, as part of a performance of Romeo and Juliet, against the music of contemporary Indian film.

Seven schools across the city have taken part in the Shakespeare Hub Schools project from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, aimed at using the arts to introduce children to the works of William Shakespeare.

“Children’s ability to relate Shakespeare’s stories and dilemmas to their world and life experiences can be a powerful learning tool. Young people’s participation in the arts is crucial to the development of their imagination, creativity and social skills.

We passionately believe that Shakespeare is for all, not just the privileged few. By working with creative practitioners, we are able to introduce new and intriguing ways for children to discover the works, stories and heritage of the world’s greatest playwright.”

– Jacqueline Green, head of learning and participation at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

The students have been working with Birmingham-based South Asian arts and heritage organisation SAMPAD for the dance project.

Blakesley Hall Primary School is one of seven schools in Birmingham taking part in the new Shakespeare Hub Schools project. Others schools include Acocks Green Primary School, Robin Hood Academy, Rookery School, Parkfield Primary School, Guardian Angels Catholic Primary School, and Our Lady’s Catholic Primary School.

Six Shakespeare hubs have been set up with schools in areas across the country, including Nottingham. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust say they'll have 12 hubs by 2021, to help provide access and information for around 20,000 children to develop their own Shakespeare-inspired creative work.

Chiltern Railways are thrilled to work with the Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust and the children from Blakesley Hall Primary School in helping to stage a dance inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet at our Birmingham Moor Street station.

We already have strong links to Stratford-upon-Avon and are further developing this connection with extra Chiltern Railways train services starting in our May timetable. This project supports our new partnership with the National Literacy Trust which aims to equip young people with literacy skills to succeed in life.”

– David Heathfield, senior stakeholder manager at Chiltern Railways

And the week of celebrations was rounded off with 800 children from 15 primary schools across Warwickshire visiting Stratford. Friday 22nd March saw the town hold a day of Shakespearian learning as part of the Warwickshire Schools Open Day.

"It has been fabulous to see how schools and children have embraced Shakespeare Week.

We’re delighted to work with our partners to celebrate Shakespeare’s creativity and his fascinating life here in Stratford for the children.”

– Nicola Hawley, primary education manager at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust