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William Shakespeare / During Reading / /

Leaving Home

Using a drama strategy to explore possible reasosns for Shakespeare leaving home

Lesson length: 1 session

Lesson from William Shakespeare series

Text potential

  • Inference opportunities: Character Inference

Strategies used

  • Drama Strategies: Forum Theatre

Purpose

Shakespeare’s decision to move to London may puzzle readers when they read about how much he loves Anne and consider the fact that they have three young children. Forum theatre allows an incident or event to be seen from different points of view. The opportunity to investigate different perspectives makes this a beneficial strategy for examining how Anne and William felt about this decision and the conversation that may have taken place. 

Preparation

  • Copies of Shakespeare, at least one per pair.

Process

Distribute copies of the book and give pairs time to read pages 9-10. Explain that you will return to this spread in a later lesson. Read pages 11-12. Ask:

  • Can you summarise what happens at this point in Shakespeare’s life? 
  • Do you think it would have been a difficult decision for Shakespeare to leave home?
  • How do you think Anne would have felt when she found out? 

Draw a table on the board like the one below:

Reasons to stay  Reasons to go 
   

Invite suggestions from the class for each heading. 

Organise the class into pairs and ask:

  • How do you think Will announced that he was going to London? What do you think his exact words would have been? 

Share ideas before asking the pairs to continue the conversation between Anne and William. They should consider:

  • What are his reasons for leaving?
  • Why would Anne want him to stay?
  • Would the conversation be amicable, or would there be any argument? 

Ask for a pair to volunteer to act out a scene while the rest of the class watch them. The class work as directors of the group in role, for example, asking them to act or speak differently, suggesting that a character might behave differently, questioning the characters in role, or suggesting an alternative interpretation of what is happening. Forum theatre allows an incident or event to be seen from different points of view. More than one pair can act out their scene.  

Final reflection

Give the opportunity to consider their own opinions about Shakespeare leaving by asking:

  • Was Shakespeare right to leave home? 

The children may recognise that William would be perhaps more likely to achieve his ambitions in London and that he will then provide more for his family. Others may see the situation from Anne’s point of view and feel that he should not have left his wife and young family. Emphasise that there is not a single correct answer and that it is unlikely that everyone will agree. 

Key vocabulary

amicable, argument, ambition

Contributors

Sam Keeley

Formerly a teacher and local authority advisory teacher, Sam now works with Just Imagine as an English consultant and manager of the year 6 Reading Gladiators programme.

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