Learning Lines

Henry IV Part I schools broadcast

June 12, 2014

Last week thousands of pupils all over the UK tuned in to watch our latest production of Henry IV Part I, in the second of our series of broadcasts for schools. We had an overwhelmingly positive response, with many schools signing up to join us for our next broadcast of Henry IV Part II, on Monday 30 June 2014.

Richard II Live From Stratford-upon-Avon schools streaming

Image caption: Students from Stratford-upon-Avon during the Richard II live schools broadcast.

We asked pupils from Queensbridge school in Birmingham about their experience and here's what some of the pupils had to say:

Jeevan, Stanley and Nissyen, from year 7, all aged 12:

When we were first briefed about the play screening, we didn't quite know what to expect! We hadn't really ventured into a new Shakespeare play before. However, we were all blown away! It was a serious play, but had a really humorous side and the organisation was outstanding. The lighting effects really added to the overall atmosphere.

The comedy was embodied through Falstaff, who gave many of the scenes a really light feeling. This helped to keep the audience interested. We cannot wait to see Part II; we expect it to just as good if not even better than Part I.

Yiola, from year 9, aged 14:

I really enjoyed this play! When we were told about this performance I thought that it would be hard to follow and understand. The Shakespearean language can be very complicated! Whilst watching Henry IV Part I, I was very surprised to be able to understand almost all of the play!

My favourite characters were Falstaff and Prince Hal. Falstaff was so funny and made the play less serious. The play portrayed the time period and the history very convincingly. My favourite scene in the play was the battle because the play had been quite comical so this showed the actual seriousness of the history. I also found it really funny when Hotspur died. Sorry!

Alice, from year 7, aged 12:

Before I came to watch the play I assumed it would be mainly based on history and quite serious in tone. When I watched it, I actually ended up liking each scene. Some parts were slightly confusing but then Shakespeare is confusing? I understood most of it. It's changed how I look at Shakespeare.

Tara and Eve, from year 7, both aged 12:

We were very excited about the live broadcast into our classroom but did expect it to maybe be a bit boring! We didn't think that it would be funny at all. It turned out to be funny in parts and with serious moments. This has totally changed our minds about Shakespeare and how interesting it can be.

Sam and Phoebe, both aged 14, Year 9:

When we were first told about watching the play yesterday, we believed that it would be a complicated play to follow. This brilliant adaptation of Shakespeare's Henry IV Part I exceeded all of our expectations and was a great first time experience for all. The camera work was brilliant and the portrayal of Falstaff was hilarious. The portrayal of Prince Hal really captured all of his emotional changes. Overall, a stunning play that was fit for all ages.

Tessa and Alice, from year 8, both aged 13:

When we were told the previous day about this experience we were a little sceptical as to what to expect. Obviously, the initial stereotypes of a Shakespearean play were visible but once we had read through the synopsis and familiarised ourselves with the general story, we came to the conclusion that this wasn't like any other performance that we have seen.

Arriving in the English room, awaiting the play to start dead on 9am, we were still a little confused about the storyline and general gist of the play. Once the play started, we were quite confused about all of the characters and their roles within the story.

Initially, there was too much going on at once, which confused the story and the scene we were supposed to be watching. Throughout the play, the characters' development was evident and really engaged us as the audience. We witnessed their mannerisms grow as the story progressed.

However, some of the dialogue was very confusing – as you would expect from a play written by Shakespeare! The various lines spoken by the characters took a while to break down and eventually understand, making the story difficult to follow.

At the end of the play the story pulled itself together and turned out to be very good despite our initial stereotypes and storyline confusion. We are looking forward to Part II!

Sadhia and Georgia-May, from year 9, both aged 14:

The actual play was quite different to what we've read in the summary. Surprisingly, we all enjoyed the play and found it hilarious as well as dramatic and realistic. Especially the fat man!

Our favourite character was Prince Hal; he was awesome. We thought that he suited his role well. Watching the play was almost like watching a film. One of our classmates thought that Prince Hal was gorgeous and absolutely good-looking.

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