Newington primary pupils explore Shakespeare classic Hamlet

Youngsters enjoyed Hamlet at the Gulbenkian

Children at Newington Community Primary have gained a special insight into one of the greatest plays in literature.

The Year 5 group have been studying Shakespeare’s classic tragedy Hamlet as part of their shared reading lessons.

And their appreciation of the story of revenge, love, death, heartbreak and fate took on a deeper meaning when they met actor Abayomi Oniyide from the New International Encounter theatre company that is touring with Shakespeare in a Suitcase, a 45-minute production of Hamlet for primary schools.

Abayomi visited Newington together with Emma Willatts, a director who works with the Gulbenkian Theatre in Canterbury. They led a Hamlet workshop that entranced pupils and gave them a broader appreciation of the story and of how theatre gives the work a greater dimension.

The Year 5 teaching team said: “The children enthusiastically immersed themselves in a number of drama activities as well as exploring the different characters within the play and identifying how each might be react in certain situations.”

Their experience was completed when they visited the Gulbenkian to enjoy the company’s take on the Shakespearian classic in live performance that featured two actors, one musician and seven items in a suitcase.

Head Teacher Hannah Tudor said: “This a fantastic example of in-depth learning. The children enjoyed their own investigation of Hamlet in class and the visiting workshop by people at the heart of the production. The live stage performance engaged and immersed them further.

“We believe in offering a variety of learning opportunities at Newington. The live production bite-size retelling of one of literatures most famous and complex stories was perfect for our children.”

New International Encounter (NIE) is an international company that makes award-winning theatre performances and projects through a mix of physical theatre, multiple languages, live music, storytelling and a European ensemble. For more information go online to