The Marlowe
Kent schools perform Hamlet on The Marlowe Theatre’s main stage

Kent schools perform Hamlet on The Marlowe Theatre’s main stage

Pupils from 22 schools across Kent got the chance to perform on The Marlowe’s main stage, when they took part in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s (RSC) Associate Schools Programme.

Each of the schools involved took on a scene from Hamlet, coming together to create an abridged version of The Bard’s renowned tragedy across two performances on Monday 24 and Tuesday 25 June.

Entitled Hamlet: Something Rotten, this unique production was the culmination of a year-long project enabled through the Associate Schools Programme: a collaboration between the RSC and Associate Regional Theatres including The Marlowe.

Throughout the programme, teachers at the participating schools received training from Royal Shakespeare Company practitioners at The Marlowe, with RSC rehearsal room techniques deeply embedded into their classrooms when teaching and studying Shakespeare.

With directors and theatre makers from The Marlowe working collaboratively with these schools, this production represented young people’s views and understanding of one of Shakespeare’s best-known stories. It also served to open the world of theatre to young people who may not have had the chance to experience it before.

Photo of one girl lying on the floor, looking up and talking to another girl who is kneeling. Other cast members look over them.

Photo by Steve Gregson

The full list of schools that took part were:

Monday 24 June
Towers School & Sixth Form, Ashford
Queenborough Primary School, Sheppey
Whitfield Aspen Primary School, Dover
Bromstone Primary School, Broadstairs
Lady Joanna Thornhill Primary School, Wye
Milton Court Primary Academy, Sittingbourne
Brockhill Park School, Hythe
The Archbishop’s School, Canterbury
Dane Court Grammar School, Broadstairs
Foreland Fields School, Ramsgate
Valley Park School, Maidstone

Tuesday 25 June
King Ethelbert School, Birchington
Ethelbert Road Primary School, Faversham
St Nicholas’ School, Canterbury
Victory Academy, Chatham
Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey, Sheerness
Meopham School, Gravesend
Folkestone Academy, Folkestone
ISP School, Teynham
Ripplevale School, Deal
Whitstable School, Whitstable
Palm Bay Primary School, Margate

The Marlowe’s Director of Learning and Participation, Roxan Kamali-Sarvestani said:

“We were very excited to celebrate the months of hard work put in by the schools, The Marlowe and the RSC.

“We’ve had fantastic feedback from our partner schools, who have watched pupils grow in confidence and flourish throughout the process. This annual project highlights the impact we have on the creative and educational landscape of our region, bringing together young people, artists and theatre makers to inspire each other.

“We’d like to thank the teachers and parents who have put their all into supporting this project, as well as the Royal Shakespeare company and Marlowe staff for helping create such a successful collaboration.”

Photo of all cast members surrounding a male cast member with their arms up.

Photo by Steve Gregson

One of the teachers involved in the project, Towers School and Sixth Form’s Faculty Lead of the Performing Arts Becca Gardner, noted:

“It’s been incredible watching our pupils go from strength to strength. Some of them have never even visited a theatre before, let alone picked up a Shakespeare play and performed it on the Marlowe stage.

“Working with creatives from The Marlowe and RSC was excellent; they have been so active in supporting and collaborating with us throughout the Associate Regional Playmaking Festival. We’re very much looking forward to taking part again next year.”