Tuesday 4 October was a very exciting day at St Cuthbert’s Catholic Primary School in Crook, because, as a Royal Shakespeare Company Associate School, we hosted the RSC’s ’First Encounters‘ production of ‘Twelfth Night‘. The RSC’s First Encounters productions are created to give 7 – 13 year olds a fantastic first experience of Shakespeare, whilst also being brilliant introductions for anyone new to Shakespeare’s work.

During the afternoon, the children of KS2 were delighted by the performance, with plenty of suspense, laughter and engagement seen and heard throughout. In the evening, we welcomed children’s families, friends, members of the parish and members of our ‘Co. Durham / Crook’ Shakespeare cluster. People who had never seen a Shakespeare performance before were surprised at how enjoyable and accessible a play written 400 years ago can be, and how, even if the language can be difficult at times, the facial expressions and body language of the performers can tell us so much!

A highlight of hosting the production was the fact that the RSC invited ten of our Class 5 children to perform in the first scene, alongside the RSC actors, as shipwrecked sailors. They worked with an RSC director to help them understand and rehearse the scene prior to performance day. Everyone was very impressed with how well they learned their lines, the confidence with which they delivered them and their ability to embody their characters so believably.

Well done!