Hugh Bonneville, Adrian Lester and Billie Piper are backing an initiative to help children engage with Shakespeare during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Education organisation the Primary Shakespeare Company, which sends performers into primary schools to explore Shakespeare’s plays with pupils, is behind the Shakespeare at Home campaign.
As part of the initiative, the Primary Shakespeare Company is releasing more than 150 activities and educational resources online for free, including games, films, arts and crafts activities and lesson plans for parents.
A new batch of resources will be released every week for the next six weeks, beginning today (April 22). The resources cover all ares of the national curriculum including English, maths, science, history, art, geography, history, music and PE.
Programme director for the Primary Shakespeare Company, Neil Carter, said: “As children should be heading back to school this week, we know parents and carers will be concerned about how to keep their kids entertained and engaged with the curriculum.
“That’s why we’ve taken the programme we would typically deliver in primary schools and adapted it to an entirely online and digital-friendly platform."
Carter added: "Parents can submit completed work which we’ll check over and award the best a prize. We’re delighted to have the support of Hugh, Adrian and Billie who will also be keeping an eye on all the submissions."
Bonneville said: "Now – especially now – opportunities for young children to maintain their sense of creativity are essential.
“The Primary Shakespeare Company have moved swiftly to adapt to the online-only world so that they can continue to inspire primary school children to express themselves by exploring the plays of Shakespeare."
Lester said it is "incredibly important" to continue to encourage children to be creative during the lockdown period.
He added: “Although the children are apart, they can be together in the stories that they tell each other and explore together.
“The Primary Shakespeare Company doesn’t need a classroom to bring Shakespeare’s fantastic characters to life for children – a camera and a keyboard will work just as well."
Piper added: "As a child, I really struggled in school. I just wasn’t connecting with my lessons and the curriculum, and I found that really frustrating. Drama changed everything – it gave me a purpose and a passion.
“I know there are so many children feeling the same way, especially during these tough times, and this is why what the Primary Shakespeare Company is doing is so important."
Parents, teachers and carers can sign up on the Primary Shakespeare Company’s website to access the resources.