The Bard behind bars: how students are taking Shakespeare to court

Helen Amass for TES Digital, 20 March 2016

Staging a mock trial could help young people relate to the playwright’s work, says the head of learning for Shakespeare’s Globe

At the Royal Courts of Justice, a teenager stands accused under the Malicious Communications Act. The barristers whisper as they wait for the jury to return with a verdict. Despite looking the part in their wigs and robes, these lawyers have never been in a courtroom before − because they are teenagers, too.

The A-level students are taking part in a dramatisation that puts Shakespeare characters on trial as part of a joint project between the Royal Courts of Justice and Shakespeare’s Globe. The aim is to inspire young people from all backgrounds to pursue a career in law, while also demonstrating the current relevance of Shakespeare’s work.

“Our education departments agreed that law courts are another form of theatre,” says Georghia Ellinas (pictured), head of learning for Globe Education. “You have to rehearse, perform and persuade people. In that sense, law and drama are both about presenting a plausible version of reality.”

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