Senior School Celebrates Shakespeare

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Senior School students have marked the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare in 1616 with a range of activities over the past year.  Last May, a group of students went to watch The Globe Theatre’s production of Hamlet on its visit to Sri Lanka, as part of its 2-year tour of every country in the world to celebrate the anniversary.  The tour played to over 100,000 spectators in 197 countries, including Palestine, Afghanistan and a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan, and held special performances at ‘The Jungle’ refugee camp in Calais, the UN in New York and for Barack Obama at The Globe on his recent visit to London.  This May, students were taken to watch The Merchant of Venice as part of the Shakespeare in the Park festival in the Viharamahadevi open air theatre.  The week before, Nicole Haddon had starred as Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the same festival.  Excerpts from this production will also be staged at the British High Commission’s celebrations of The Queen’s 90th birthday.

The English Department also organised Shakespeare Week in Assembly earlier in the year.  Activities included quizzes on films based on Shakespeare plays and famous Shakespearean quotes.  The week finished with a recreation of an Elizabethan theatrical experience, including considerable audience participation.

Shakespeare was also the theme of this year’s Inter House Drama competition, with the houses presenting modern versions of the plays.  Hillary won for their entertaining production of ‘Romeo, You Idiot’ featuring a surfer Romeo and gangsters as the Montagues and Capulets.  Felix Deemer won Best Actor for his downbeat portrayal of the eponymous idiot, while Dilani Abeyratne was selected as Best Actress for her performance as Lady Macbad in Columbus’ version of Macbeth.  The Best Supporting Actor and Actress awards went to Anuk Gunasekara and Nashmoon Sheena for their entertaining cameos in the highly unshakespearean roles of a police officer and a Sri Lankan maid.

Finally, students have continued to study Shakespeare as part of their normal English curriculum.  Having been introduced to Shakespeare in Junior 5 through a project on Macbeth, students read Othello in Form 3 and study Romeo and Juliet at IGCSE. At A Level, the current Upper 6th did A Merchant of Venice while the Lower 6th are doing Hamlet.

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