Why Isle of Dogs children end up on the London stage doing Shakespeare

On stage at The Albany... youngsters from Arnham Wharf school in Midsummer Night's Dream. Picture: S

On stage at The Albany... youngsters from Arnham Wharf school in Midsummer Night's Dream. Picture: Sarah Heywood-Jones - Credit: Sarah Heywood-Jones

A cast of 11-year-olds have made it to the London stage performing Shakespeare after months of rehearsals at their after school club on the Isle of Dogs.

On stage at The Albany... youngsters from Arnham Wharf school in Midsummer Night's Dream. Picture: S

On stage at The Albany... youngsters from Arnham Wharf school in Midsummer Night's Dream. Picture: Sarah Heywood-Jones - Credit: Sarah Heywood-Jones

The Year 6 children from Millwall's Arnhem Wharf Primary put on their version of A Midsummer Night's Dream for the Shakespeare Schools Festival and "blew the audience away", a school staff member claims.

They were among 20,000 children taking part at theatres around the country in the world's largest youth drama festival including The Albany in Deptford where the Arnham Wharf pupils performed.

The audience was "captivated throughout every second of the performance" with mums and dads watching the children in the classic tale of feuding fairies and calamitous workers rehearsing their play within the play.

"We love being part of this festival every year," Arnhem Wharf's Headteacher Sara Haynes said. "It's an opportunity to perform Shakespeare on a professional stage with a large audience, which gives our children confidence and ability to work together."

On stage at The Albany... youngsters from Arnham Wharf school in Midsummer Night's Dream. Picture: S

On stage at The Albany... youngsters from Arnham Wharf school in Midsummer Night's Dream. Picture: Sarah Heywood-Jones - Credit: Sarah Heywood-Jones


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Teacher Janet Banzaca worked with her pupils at rehearsals every week with structure and direction that let them shine on stage.

The youngsters later presented scenes at a gala dinner to raise money for Shakespeare Schools Foundation.

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