SHAKESPEARE'S work is often described as something which is of incontestable benefit to students, enriching their knowledge and vocabulary.

The Shakespeare Schools Festival enables children to get involved and learn new skills.

The Drama Club at Heatherlands Primary School took part in the festival, their chosen play being Romeo and Juliet.

Assistant Head Teacher and English Lead, Jude Evans described the play-choosing process: "We offered the children several of Shakespeare's plays, but the children were most interested in Romeo and Juliet and were adamant about performing it."

The children have been captivated by the storyline and characters, their enthusiasm shining through.

Many had varying reasons for joining the Drama Club.

Lola explained her reasoning for taking part: "I love that we can express our feelings on stage."

Conor said: "Since I've joined the Drama Club I have been reading my script after watching TV, it gives me something else to do."

The Drama Club was formed with a view to work with the Shakespeare Schools Foundation, for young people to perform in professional theatres and have their potential unlocked.

The club mainly consists of students aged 9-11, and is considered a form of imaginative play for them.

Rehearsals have occurred for seven weeks afterschool each Thursday, involving remembering complex lines and cues.

The play has posed some challenges, but has ultimately been a rewarding experience for both staff and students.

Jude explained: "Seeing how much the children have been enjoying the play has been my highlight. Their enthusiasm has blown me away.

"Building their cultural capital not only broadens the children's horizons, but many other people's too. Shakespeare is so valuable to the children."

The importance of the club and play was demonstrated when all students said they preferred taking part in Drama Club to doing school work.

Romeo, the student Stage Manager said: "I like using the sound effects and light equipment."

Abbie described the crucial difference between school work and performing: "At Drama Club, there's no pressure on you, unlike school work."

This point was reiterated many times by the young performers, emphasising their love of Shakespeare and performing.

Jude added: "Theatre opens up a world of possibilities and enjoyment. It also gives them more self-confidence and the ability to work as a team."

This particular opportunity has provided the children with an alternative outlet and to do something they love.

Eva said: "I was watching Matilda and it looked really fun, so I wanted to try it out myself."

Some of the children were influenced by family members who have performed, with others wanting to try something new.

Danny, however, described this as "a once in a lifetime opportunity."

They performed on Tuesday 12 November at 7pm at The Regent Centre.

For more information regarding The Shakespeare Schools Festival, visit: