Shakespeare & Drama | Primary schools teaching Shakespeare

Shakespeare & Drama


Curtain comes down on a great finale

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It has been a very successful year for our Shakespeare Club members! The club finished their activities for the year with a party this week, but our Director Zoe Emanuel is already planning for next year. 5th and 6th class students are welcome to enrol for the group at the start of 2020.
Our Midsummer Night's Dream performance group came third in the Scene section of the Sydney Eisteddfod last weekend. The 12 other scenes in the competition where all performed by high schools, so our students really shone!
In March, our Shakespeare Club's Romeo and Juliet group won the Scene section of the Sport for Jove Shakespeare Carnival.

Now Miss Emanuel and our Primary students and teachers (Years 3 - 6) will turn their attention to their Shakespeare Festival at the end of October, at Glen Street Theatre.

Categories: Shakespeare & Drama, John Colet


A Shakespeare Masterclass

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Yesterday, Bell Shakespeare's primary schools educational outreach program performed for our 2nd to 6th classes. Their modern take on Romeo and Juliet was so much fun! As our drama director Zoe Emanuel says, it's so valuable for our students to see live acting with so much energy, in which the language of Shakespeare is conveyed with minimal set and costuming, through great physicality, vocalisation and comic timing.

Categories: Shakespeare & Drama, John Colet


Shakespeare Club success

Congratulations to our Shakespeare Club who were presented with 1st Place, a stunning red sash, for their performance of Romeo and Juliet at the Sport for Jove State Shakespeare Carnival on Monday 27th May 2019.
Both our performance groups (Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet) were awarded Highly Commended at the Northern Beaches Eisteddfod in the Scene from a Play Section on Saturday 25th May.

Categories: Shakespeare & Drama, John Colet


Fighting safely and fairy movement

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This week our Shakespeare Drama Club students had the first of their workshops by two visiting specialist drama coaches and our drama teacher Ms Emanuel. 

Chris Tomkinson, from Sport for Jove, explained that safe distances, maintaining eye contact, starting with very slow movements and always being in control were the most important rules when choreographing fight scenes.  The students are working on their street fighting scene for their performance of  Romeo and Juliet in upcoming eisteddfods.

Meanwhile actor and physical comedy specialist Nick O'Regan took a commedia dell'arte workshop with our Midsummer Night’s Dream drama club group.  They learnt how to to walk, stand and move like Bottom and the fairies. 
Our drama club students will be performing in the Northern Beaches Eisteddfod and the Sydney Eisteddfod in May and June this year.

Next week in the second workshop they will be working with the coaches to incorporate their new skills into their scenes.

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Categories: Shakespeare & Drama, John Colet


Specialist coaching ahead of drama eisteddfods

Our drama club students will be performing in the Northern Beaches Eisteddfod and the Sydney Eisteddfod in May and June this year.  They will be getting some specialist coaching from two professional actors over the next two weeks.

Chris Tomkinson from Sport for Jove (he heads up the Education Department and is also an actor for their touring Shakespeare troupe)  will help refine fight skills and choreograph the street fighting scene for our Romeo and Juliet drama group.

Nick O'Regan, who works as a writer, actor and puppeteer specializing in masked performance and physical comedy, will lead a commedia dell'arte workshop to help with Physical Movement for Comedy for our Midsummer Night’s Dream drama club group.
Our drama teacher Zoe Emanuel is also organising other drama incursions for the wider school community. Watch this space!

Categories: Shakespeare & Drama, John Colet


Shakespeare Club 2019 auditions this week

We had a very successful Shakespeare club last year and Miss Emanuel is looking forward to doing it all again in 2019!
Auditions for Shakespeare Club 2019 will be held in the Music Room on Wednesday 6th February in 2 sessions – 7:15am-8:15am OR 1pm-1:30pm.  For Year 5 and Year 6 students only.
If your child would like to audition, please email your expression of interest to Miss Emanuel on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as soon as possible.
Children should prepare a short monologue (no longer than 1 minute) to be performed without a script to the best of their ability.
Miss Emanuel will be looking for the following criteria:
  • Strong, clear voices
  • Lines learnt off by heart
  • A good expressive connection with the text
  • A committed and dedicated attitude
  • Positive code of conduct
The aim of the club is to perform at various events including; Northern Beaches Eisteddfod as well as any other opportunities that are presented to us. Students must be available on a Saturday and/or Sunday for these performances. The information regarding the performances will be provided closer to the event with plenty of notice.
The Club will run from Week 3, Term 1 on Wednesday mornings from 7:15am-8:15am in the Music Room. The Shakespeare club will then finish in approximately  Week 3 or 4 of Term 3 as all the performances will have taken place (exact dates will be given out once we have a definite date for our performances).
The cost of the club is $45 per student

Zoe Emanual
Shakespeare Festival Director

Categories: Chess & Clubs, Shakespeare & Drama, John Colet


with thanks from Bell Shakespeare

"Thank you for an incredible morning at John Colet on Tuesday. We were so warmly welcomed as always, and we were thoroughly impressed with the student performances.
[John Colet School's] donation of $1000 for our Sharing Shakespeare program was incredibly generous and will directly enable a disadvantaged school to experience our Shakespeare programs and performances, who otherwise would not be able to."

Joanne Erskine and James Evans
Bell Shakespeare

Categories: Shakespeare & Drama, John Colet


Drama club gets brilliant results in Shakespeare comp

We are very proud of our Yr 5 and Yr 6 Primary Shakespeare Club students who came 3rd place with a scene from ‘As you Like it’ at the Sydney City Eisteddfod. As the youngest competitors in the Eisteddfod, they were a credit to John Colet School!  And we were also mighty proud of our other drama group at the Eisteddfod, pictured top, who performed  “Twelfth Night" and received a Highly Commended.   Well done all!  And a big thank you to our drama teacher Zoe Emanuel.

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Categories: Shakespeare & Drama, John Colet


Drama and Fencing news

Last Sunday the John Colet School’s Shakespeare Club performed at the Northern Beaches Eisteddfod in the Scene category.  One group of our students performed a comedic scene from Twelfth Night and the other group performed a heart-wrenching scene from As you like it.
The As you like it performance group was awarded Second place.  The adjudicators commented on their sophistication, conviction, strong voices and excellent characterisation.

On Monday, the John Colet Fencing team played our very first match against Newington Boys School in Lindfield. Our Infants team played very well but unfortunately lost with a score of 13-16. Infants team members were Kristof D, James N, Arya K, Elliott C and Meredith Y.
The Senior team of Neo S, Sam J, Edward T, Joshua J, and Vanessa C played a nail biting series of bouts with the points for some time going equally between the two schools. However, with one last strike from Sam J, John Colet were announced the winners and the final score was 20-18 to us.

Categories: Shakespeare & Drama, John Colet



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Second classes were inspired by the world of percussion when Kaboom came to their incursion with week. 
With a wide range of traditional and found percussion instruments, along with juggling, magic and comedy, the incursion demonstrated how easy it is for students to make and play percussion instruments.

Categories: Shakespeare & Drama, John Colet


Learning about the community we live in

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Both Upper First Classes had a very interesting excursion to ‘Wannabee Play Town’ this week.  At first it may appear that they just had fun, but in fact there was a huge amount of hands-on experience and learning about workers in our community. The students experienced role play and guided learning of concepts related to professions,  in several stations – Hospital, TV Station, Fire Station, Police Station, Supermarket, Construction Zone, Café and the Post Office.  The children completed tasks in these stations which related to their profession and service area. 

Lea-Ann Connell and Elizabeth McDermott,

Categories: Shakespeare & Drama, John Colet


What learning Shakespeare gives

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“Each child grows in character and confidence throughout this time; many facing challenges, overcoming fears and delighting in success and just giving for the sake of the audience.

Shakespeare gives students the finest English language to learn by heart. The plays allow them the opportunity to connect with the subtlety of what Shakespeare is saying. During their time at JCS, they experience various play genres from comedy to tragedy. The rehearsals and performances teach them courage, resilience in the face of disappointment, patience, being able to work independently, humility and how to accept praise and much more. Team work and cooperation are an important part of Shakespeare plays. The children learn they can rely on each other and form a trust which allows them freedom to be themselves on stage.

Above all, the children have enormous fun and as soon as their Shakespeare Festival finishes they are asking what play they will be doing next time!”

Elizabeth McDermott, Lea-Ann Connell, Upper First Teachers

“Children are captivated and transported to a different world when studying and performing Shakespeare at a young age, even if students may not understand every word. Once children are captivated by the timeless stories of Shakespeare they can further develop and engage with the language of Shakespeare as they mature with age.”


Sarah Marley, Lower First Teacher  

“I liked getting ready for Shakespeare and putting my makeup on and people doing my hair. I also liked seeing my mum in the audience.”

– Sophia G Lower First

Categories: Shakespeare & Drama


Greek Day

Our annual celebration of all things Greek was another great success this week.

The day rounds out 4th classes' study of Ancient Greece.  Students dress up, and parents come in to help run fun Greek activities such as making mosaics, masks, dolmathes (vine leaves wrapped around delicious morsels), Greek inspired puzzles and even some ancient Olympic events.

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Categories: Writing & Speaking, Shakespeare & Drama


Robotics and Dancing

Science Club and Robotics Reminder


A reminder that Science Club has now finished for the year and in 2016 it will be replaced by Lego Robotics...

We will definitely be going ahead with Lego Robotics in 2016, it is our intention that every child who wants to take part will get to at some stage in the year, whether that be in Term 1 or later in the year. If you have emailed an expression of interest, thank you and if you have not done so yet, please email Mrs Crewe.

Dance classes to start at JCS

We are very excited to be introducing dance as an extracurricular class in 2016. Dance will run before school from 7:40am to 8:25am in the lunch room and will run on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday morning. Your morning will be determined by the Year group your child is in and we will decide these groups once we have an idea of how many students are interested. We will concentrate mainly on Jazz, with some elements of classical ballet for warm up and we may branch out to lyrical/funk for the older children depending on the needs and wants of the students in the group.
Mrs Crewe will instruct and she loves to dance and has over 20 years of dance teaching experience, in the past having run a studio and currently also teaching ballet, jazz, tap and acrobatics at Terpsichore Dance Company in Wahroonga. She has also run the extracurricular dance program at Killara High School for the past 15 years. Dance is a true passion of hers and and she is looking forward to sharing it with John Colet children.
We will work on developing dance skills in a safe and fun environment and we will also work towards various performances throughout the year. There will be cost of $10 per week charged by John Colet, this cost will include the performance costumes and there will most likely be some additional purchases such as jazz shoes etc. If your child is interested in participating, can you please email Mrs Crewe your child’s name before the end of term.

Categories: Shakespeare & Drama, Science & Maths, John Colet


Head of School's Comment

Our Shakespeare Festival is now drawing to a close.  The 3rd, 4th and 5th Classes have already performed and we await the 6th Class finale tonight.  Congratulations to teachers, parents, children and friends for making this year’s Festival such a resounding success.
These productions would not be possible without a high level of commitment and dedication from all those involved.
In the weeks leading up to the performances at Glen Street Theatre, we do wonder why we put ourselves through the stress and sometimes the agony, of staging these plays; but the performance night says it all.  The performances have been brilliant, extremely entertaining and very professional.
Apart from the sense of achievement and enormous enjoyment, the Shakespeare Festival works in very well with the development of character, the pursuit of excellence and the implementation of our Core Values.  It’s quite inspirational watching the plays develop, and seeing the children overcome their own fears and difficulties, and growing in stature and confidence.  They grow from year to year.
Shakespeare is the best of English literature and gives us a richness of language that in turn enriches the soul.  So many of the lines connect us with our own moral compass and can guide us throughout life.  We all have a mixture of the good and bad within us, and our character develops and strengthens when we nourish the good.  It’s the same with the children; if we nourish the good it will strengthen and grow.
It takes quite a deal of courage and service for the children to persist with learning their lines, entering on cue, working as a team, and finally performing on stage.  If the plays are to be a success, which they are, teachers and children alike have to put aside their own ego and work for the benefit of all.

Mary McKendrick

Categories: Head of School Comment, Shakespeare & Drama, John Colet

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