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19 April 2014
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Off By Heart - Shakespeare

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Off By Heart

Shakespeare recital contest

The BBC's first ever national Shakespeare recital contest Off By Heart will take place at 3PM on Sunday 29 January.

Nine teenage finalists have won their place at this event by competing against their peers from schools across the UK.

Jeremy Paxman presents as they deliver some of Shakespeare's most famous speeches in front of a panel of judges including Simon Schama and actor Samuel West.

The final is open to the public and will be filmed for a BBC2 documentary and broadcast as part of the BBC Shakespeare Season in 2012. For more information visit the RSC website.

Off By Heart

In April 2011 BBC Learning invited schools across the UK to take part in Off By Heart Shakespeare, a performance contest for students aged 13-15. Schools nominated up to three students to represent them at a regional heat by performing a famous Shakespearean speech to a panel of judges.

Students taking part in Off By Heart Shakespeare experienced Shakespearean language like never before: they learnt how to breathe it, feel it, vocalise it and make it their own. On this website you can find teaching resources and video clips designed to get your students up on their feet, performing speeches from Shakespeare's plays and enjoying the language.

Teaching Resources

The Royal Shakespeare Company has written activities which give starting points and insights on how to approach the speeches. They are based on what happens in the rehearsal room. The aim is to encourage students to explore vocal techniques and ways into the language which helps them to make interesting interpretative choices in their performances.

Below you will also find some top tips for learning a speech off by heart from the Shakespeare Schools Festival, a quick guide to running a school competition, as well as a poster that you can adapt.

A school in Leicestershire used the Off By Heart resources to run their own Shakespeare recital competition. Watch this short film to see what happened.

Celebrity top tips for learning by heart - Video

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