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The opinions expressed on this page are mine alone. Any similarities to the views of my employer are completely coincidental.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

When Romeo met Juliet

I caught Paul Roseby, artistic director of the National Youth Theatre, on Start the Week yesterday talking about about a forthcoming BBC documentary on a project he undertook with kids from two Coventry comprehensive schools to stage a production of Romeo and Juliet at the city's Belgrade Theatre.  By any stretch of the imagination this was a tough assignment, particularly as he seems to have gone out of his way to include teenagers who have no special affection for Shakespeare. I used to play hockey at one of the schools - Sidney Stringer - and it was the epitome of inner city toughness. You kept your wits about you in the changing room and tried not to look anyone in the eye. That was more than 30 years ago but I would guess it is still a school that has to deal with special challenges. I'm a bit ambivalent about the media hooplah that tends to surround this sort of thing - there is a tendency for "parachutists" to divert attention from the grassroots arts in the community work that is going on. But if it reminds us that the arts can be a part of ordinary people's lives and change those lives then that has to be a good thing particularly in the forthcoming austerity when  public support for the arts is going to be hard pressed.

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