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Bradford College ESOL Students to Perform at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

ESOL students performed ‘Because’ and welcomed the award-winning playwright, David Edgar on Tuesday 20th June.


ESOL students performed ‘Because’ and welcomed the award-winning playwright, David Edgar on Tuesday 20th June. David made a special trip to West Yorkshire to attend the performance and has had more than sixty published plays performed around the world, making him one of the most prolific dramatists post-1960s in Great Britain. David told us:

“I was so pleased to hear Bradford College ESOL department were working on my script for the Moving Stories project. I lived in Bradford from 1969 to 1974 – a really thrilling time to be in the city, theatrically and in so many other ways – so I’m particularly keen that you’re doing it. Yesterday was so moving. It will really stay with me. I’m so pleased I was able to come.”

Entry 1 and 2 students learnt simplified scripts that explain the outline of their scene, while Entry 3 and Level 1 students performed their scenes in Shakespearean English.

The English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students involved will now go to perform at the world-renowned Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre as part of Refugee Week on Sunday 25 June as part of a fundraising event ‘Moving Stories’ to mark the finale of Refugee Week – the world’s largest arts and culture festival celebrating the contributions, creativity, and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary.

a group of esol students stood on stage after their performance of "because"

Our ESOL students speak English as a second language and many are refugees or asylum seekers – some arriving in the country as recently as January this year. The students have been invited to perform work alongside other sketches, short plays, and songs examining the experiences of refugees.
The group will travel to London to present ‘Because,’ a script by David Edgar.

The play was released without copyright restrictions to mark Refugee Week and follows the poignant story of an ESOL teacher learning about the past of one of her students.

The Globe Theatre show comes shortly after students took part in several other events to mark Refugee Week. Entry 1 to Level 1 ESOL students performed an edited version of Twelfth Night at the local Marie Curie Hospice for outpatients and their families on 15 June.

Esther Wilkey added:
“We were beyond thrilled at the thought of David Edgar coming to the performance. It has been such a privilege to work on the script and it’s so lovely that he has a connection with Bradford. I have been working here for the past 10 years, and I never could have imagined all the exciting opportunities that my students and I would experience in this wonderfully diverse and welcoming city.

The Shakespeare Club has now benefitted well over 500 students. Many have progressed from ESOL to GCSE and A Level courses and are now studying at universities all over the country. We run workshops with RSC directors and actors, attend workshops with touring companies who perform at the Alhambra Theatre, attend the shows, and visit Stratford-upon-Avon with students who have never left the city since arriving in the UK.”

Bradford College has a successful history of working with marginalised groups and was named the first College of Sanctuary in West Yorkshire by City of Sanctuary UK. The region receives around 13% of the UK’s Asylum Seekers with Bradford one of four locations to receive the highest proportion.

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