Birmingham University to teach Chinese children Shakespeare

The University of Birmingham is set to teach Chinese children about Shakespeare in a week-long summer camp at Maofeng Mountain, near Guangzhou in Guangdong province.

Organised by the education group Readstart and led by Duncan Lees; a postgraduate student at the University of Birmingham’s Shakespeare Institute, the programme aims to get the children interested in Shakespeare from an early age through a series of activities and workshops.

Of all playrights, Shakespeare poses one of the biggest hurdles to the reader, but offers an exciting and interesting path into the world of drama and literature.

At Maofeng Mountain, the children will be exploring three of Shakespeare’s most well-known plays: The Tempest, The Merchant of Venice, and Macbeth. These plays have been selected as they offer the children the opportunity to learn about costume, make-up, special effects, design and staging, and also offer them the chance to create their own artistic responses to his work.

Duncan Lees Moving Shakespeare 1 (2)

Duncan Lees said: ‘Of all playwrights, Shakespeare poses some of the greatest challenges, but offers some of the greatest rewards. If children can get to know and love his work before they are led to believe it’s too difficult, then there really is no limit to where their imaginations can take them.

‘The translation of Shakespeare into Chinese began properly in the 20th century, in the last 30 years his popularity and reputation have grown immensely. There is no right way to engage with Shakespeare’s work, and this summer camp is a great opportunity to see what can be created when different traditions and approaches to Shakespeare meet.’

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