English KS2: Shakespeare's theatre

Ricky and Leah visit Shakespeare’s Globe, the reconstruction in London of the theatre Shakespeare himself helped to pay for when it was built in 1599.

They learn that, just like today, Elizabethan audiences wanted to be amazed by special effects and that ghosts and devils could appear from trapdoors hidden in the stage; or Titania, Queen of the Fairies, could descend magically from another door in the stage’s ceiling.

They also find out about Shakespeare’s audience – from the groundlings or penny stinkards who had to stand in the area called the pit, to the rich who could sit in special decorated boxes.

We also find out that women didn’t act in Shakespeare’s time and that all the women’s parts had to be played by men – to find out how, Ricky is transformed into a Tudor woman!

Contributors include Michael Rosen, Farah Karim-Copper, Callum Coates and Patrick Spottiswoode.

This clip is from the series i.am.Will Shakespeare.

Teacher Notes

Pupils could investigate what popular pastimes there were for adults and children during the Tudor period, how does this compare to the pastimes of today.

They could choose one to have a go at.

As suggested in the clip pupils could design a theatre from Shakespeare's time and devise special effects that would excite audiences.

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching English at KS2 in England and Wales, KS1/KS2 in Northern Ireland and 2nd Level in Scotland.