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For never was a story of more woe than this

Pupils from 10 schools in Knowsley are joining nearly 30,000 pupils in nearly 1,000 schools across the country to celebrate Shakespeare and perform some of his most loved pieces of work.

The students, the latest cohort of a record 280,000 young people to have participated in the Festival since it began, got the chance to perform abridged Shakespeare plays in one of 136 professional theatres nationwide.

Joining the festival were pupils from Stockbridge Village Primary School who performed at Knowsley Leisure and Culture Park.

Alex Borrill, director of performance at Stockbridge Village Primary, said: “This was our second opportunity to take part in the festival. We grabbed the opportunity to perform in a real fully operational working theatre.

“While initially daunted looking at the complexity of the script, watching the children learn lines from Romeo and Juliet was an amazing experience.

“The enthusiasm and passion from the children to understand the script, relate to characters and watch their confidence grow, felt wonderful and to see their hard work pay off with an ambitious performance made every sleepless night worthwhile.

“We embarked on a journey that showed them to be Successful Visionary and Proud.

“This opportunity gave our children lifelong memories and achievements that they will hold with them all their lives and an understanding of language and Shakespeare they will always be able to dip into.

“It has been a long road as we embarked on our journey in July”.

Other schools that took part in Knowsley included: St John Fisher RC Primary School - Macbeth; St Joseph the Worker RC Primary School - Much Ado About Nothing; Our Lady’s RC Primary School - Romeo and Juliet; St Luke’s Primary School - A Midsummer Night’s Dream; St Mark’s Catholic Primary School - Much Ado About Nothing; Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Primary School - Twelfth Night; St Joseph’s RC Primary School - Macbeth, St Marie’s RC Primary School - Romeo and Juliet and St Michael and All Angels RC Primary School - A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

292 performance nights took place throughout the UK between 16 October and 8 December. Up to 30,000 students stepped onto their local stage after months of preparation and do something really brave: perform in front of a paying audience in a professional theatre.

The experience can give young people confidence and self esteem to last a lifetime. As a result of the Festival, 97% of teachers say their students work better together as a team and that their students’ confidence increases. 100% of special school teachers say that their students exceed expectations.

Taking part in the Festival leaves a real legacy. Chief Executive Ruth Brock said: “Every workplace needs people who are confident and can work as a team and every community needs people who can get on with other people of very different backgrounds. Taking part in the Festival teaches these things - and, crucially, it helps young people make friends and have fun”.

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