All The World’s A Stage

Year 11 at the Seymour Centre to watch Othello

Shakespeare is a perennial favourite in English at Galston High School, and with good reason: Shakespeare’s works speak deeply to who we are, what drives us as humans and how we understand ourselves. Shakespeare is best experienced not on the page, but on the stage. The characters of his work come to life in ways that reading in class can never capture.

In 2023, English and Drama students are experiencing multiple performances of Shakespeare to enrich their experience of the Bard. Last term, Year 12 English Advanced students and Year 10 Drama students travelled to Surry Hills to view a performance of Richard III in the historic 1880 Hall. An authentic experience of “theatre in the round” with a period-correct interpretation of the play, students enjoyed a compelling performance based on one of Shakespeare’s most evil, politically-savvy and Machiavellian characters. Richard is a character that speaks to the extremes of human desire and ambition, tempered with a cautionary message for those that transgress the bounds of morality.

This term, a group of Year 9 English students attended a performance of Macbeth. As one of Shakespeare’s best-known plays, Macbeth takes a different angle on ambition from Richard III, exploring its seductiveness and how good people can succumb to its allure and quickly find themselves in a morally-fraught position. Like all (good) Shakespeare, it ends with a bloody reckoning in its final scenes!

Year 9 at the Riverside Theatre to watch Macbeth

Jordan Herrington of Year 9 had this to say: “As a class, we had started reading the modernised version of Macbeth, but going and seeing the play in person helped to understand Macbeth and show what it might have been like back when Shakespeare first created the play. Watching the play helped further our knowledge of Macbeth and understanding of the techniques used to engage the audience. Future Year 9’s should definitely attend, or you’re missing out!”

Also, this term, Year 11 Advanced English and Year 9 Drama attended a Shakespeare symposium based on Othello, a type of actor/director workshop on the creative considerations that drive the play. Othello communicates some profound and still relevant points on racism and sexism, while simultaneously exploring the psychologically complex character of its antagonist Iago. Othello offers a wealth of opportunities for interpretation, with students given the chance to consider for themselves how to make sense of this dense drama in the modern world.