RSC LPN 2014 1 Credit Anthony Robling

York Theatre Royal, the Royal Shakespeare Company and York High School present The Head that Wears a Crown, where seven York schools will come together on Monday 16 March for a special festival re-imagining Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part 1 Henry IV Part 2 and Henry V.

The event is the culmination of a three year project through the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Learning and Performance Network (LPN), a long term partnership programme with schools and theatres across England. The York schools participating are York High School which acts as the main ‘hub’ school along with Acomb Primary, Applefields School, Poppleton Road Primary, St Barnabas CE Primary, Westfield Primary Community School and Woodthorpe Primary.

Julian Ollive, Education & Young Actors Associate and Festival Producer said:

York Theatre Royal is proud and privileged to be working alongside the Royal Shakespeare Company and York High School in presenting The Head That Wears a Crown festival. We are excited to see the schools’ work on stage as this is the last performance in the auditorium before a major Capital re-development project. There doesn’t seem to be a more fitting tribute to the creative talents of our young people than that

Established in 2006, the programme works through partnerships between the schools, the Royal Shakespeare Company and York Theatre Royal over a three year period which aims to change

the way young people experience and engage with Shakespeare. The LPN targets schools and children who may have the least access to Shakespeare and the theatre, offering exciting and dynamic ways to learn in the classroom as well as opportunities to perform.

Brenda Elliott from St Barnabas CE Primary said:

We have thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience of working on the Learning and Performance Network. We have learnt many new techniques which we have used in the classroom and it has been a joy to work with experts and to have a final performance to aim for in March.

The LPN also benefits teachers by offering in-depth training in ways to approach presenting Shakespeare to children. The teachers, many of whom have taken part in the scheme for the past three year, have been given the opportunities of inset days at York Theatre Royal and guidance from the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Cathryn Jackson at Acomb Primary commented:

After taking part in the Learning and Performance Network project I now feel that I won’t be so intimidated with our Head that Wears a Crown festival, having lived through the process already. I have a better understanding of how to plan an ensemble piece and more confidence in what 10 year old children are able to achieve with the right stimulus, motivation and enthusiasm.

The Head that Wears the Crown will comprise of eight specially created scenes telling the stories of Henry IV Part 1, Henry IV Part 2 and Henry V. Each school will perform under the direction of their class teacher, with consistent costumes and scenery giving the different pieces the feeling of one whole play, rather than eight individual performances. The performance is on Monday 16 March at 6.30pm. Tickets are priced at £5 for adults and £2 for children (£1 transaction fee per booking) and are on sale now via the York Theatre Royal Box Office on 01904 623568 or securely online at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.