Playing for Shakespeare is the result of an 18 month research and development project which saw experts from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust working with 14 teacher training institutions across the UK. Content has been developed and shaped with input from over 100 trainee teachers in partnership with established teachers from their placement schools. The modern look of Playing for Shakespeare was crafted by ‘Play Brighter’ a game making team who have been professional teachers of Key Stage 3 English.
About 50% of pupils at Key Stage 3 will have no prior knowledge of Shakespeare’s life and works when they are introduced to him in year 7. This percentage is likely to increase as from September 2014 Tudor history will no longer be part of the primary curriculum. Teachers report that the two biggest challenges to teaching Shakespeare are his at times challenging language and pupils’ attitudes and preconceived notion that Shakespeare is ‘difficult’ and ‘not for them’. Playing for Shakespeare has a modern look and feel and is populated with human characters drawn from genuine historical research. Playing for Shakespeare and its supplementary resources use extracts from multiple plays rather than focusing on a single play allowing pupils to get to know Shakespeare’s world without the need for knowledge of a specific play. It deals directly with Shakespeare’s language and verse in a fun interactive way breaking down fear and making Shakespeare’s world accessible to young minds.