English and ‘Page to Stage’ A-level students, along with groups from JAGS and the Charter School, were treated to a seminar and masterclass by renowned actor Michael Pennington. Drawing on a prestigious career that has included founding the English Shakespeare Company and playing numerous Shakespearean characters including Hamlet (and not to mention a role in The Return of the Jedi), Michael led an examination of two key speeches from Hamlet and King Lear. A number of boys performed and received generous feedback and comment from Michael; but the highlight of the afternoon was certainly his own rendition of ‘To be or not to be’, given a despairing power and force that proved highly illuminating for those studying the play. Rounding off with a discussion of Measure for Measure and The Tempest, the session provided much for both English and Drama students to feed into their work on Shakespeare.
‘A soliloquizer never lies’ – A-level English and Drama seminar with Michael Pennington