Budding actors from the Northern School of Creative Industries have been treading the boards at the home of the Bard.
Students from Bradford College, Samuel Lister Academy and St Bede’s and St Joseph’s Catholic College performed Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in Stratford-upon-Avon.
They were joined by youngsters from across the country for the performance at the Swan Theatre as part of project with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
The Bradford pupils were among 81 from 37 schools from as far afield as Cornwall and Newcastle who took to the stage to perform Shakespeare’s great political thriller.
The show was part of the RSC’s National Schools’ Festival and a culmination of its educational programme, the Learning and Performance Network, which has seen schools and college across the country put on the play in their local theatres.
Bradford College student Ellen O’Keeffe was thrilled to be part of the project.
“The experience of performing at the Swan is one I will never forget,” she said.
“I've learnt so much about the language and the technique used to give a truthful performance, which is something I can take forward into projects and performances in the future.
“Working with the amazing directors, staff and backstage crew from the RSC has taught me so much about working in a professional theatre and with professional directors it's been the best experience. “Also it brought students of all ages from around Bradford together and that was lovely to work with kids from different schools with the same aim, to create the best bit of Shakespeare we could.”
Fellow college student Natasha Hudson said: “Shakespeare is something I am very passionate about and to get this amazing opportunity where I could not only perform in Stratford but also develop my acting skill at the same time was fantastic.
“We got to work with some amazing people who helped us achieve so much. This opportunity has helped me to develop more confidence and more importantly helped me to reconnect to my love of acting. Thank you to everyone who was involved in this project.”
Classmate Bailay Illingworth said: "This was amazing. I am so lucky to get this opportunity to work with such talented and just wonderful people. I have gained so much appreciation for the amount of hard work that was put into this show and how great the entire RSC staff is. I can’t believe I got this chance to perform at the Swan."
And Mika Evans, from the performing arts course at the college, described the experience as “mesmerising”.
The 16-year-old said: “I learned more about acting in general but also about acting Shakespeare which seems to be very different. Getting to work with staff and actors from the RSC and performing on the Swan was so eye-opening and exciting! This project helped me to become more interested in Shakespeare and I now just want to read and see it all! I really learned so much in such a short space of time and developed my confidence a little further.”
The performance from the Bradford pupils caught the eye of RSC actor Lucy Ellinson.
“I was quite overwhelmed by the experience of watching these young people perform,” she said.
“They were totally professional. The Bradford ensemble were awesome. Huge congratulations to you all!”
It was back in March that Bradford’s Alhambra Theatre played host to the local performance after students from Bradford College’s Northern School of Creative Industries worked with pupils from Appleton Academy, Samuel Lister Academy, Feversham College and St Bede’s and St Joseph’s Catholic College to a bring the Bard’s work to a wider audience.