University of Cambridge Museums

Projects, events and news from the University of Cambridge Museums

A real showstopper!

This Spring 12 Year 8 students from Soham Village College took part in a Shakespeare Challenge Arts Award, which was organised and delivered by the Education Department at the Fitzwilliam Museum.

The Arts Award, which is a national qualification in the arts, boasts a special edition focusing on Shakespeare and is endorsed by the Royal Shakespeare Company. The Shakespeare Challenge introduces and enriches the works of William Shakespeare and is a great tool for generating interest and enthusiasm for the subject.

By working with Soham Village College, the Fitzwilliam Museum devised an innovative and creative programme focusing on Shakespeare’s World. This brought to life the Museum’s collection of portraits, armour and decorative arts of the 16th Century. For many of the students, this was their first experience of the world renowned writer!

“We were learning about new things in a fun way!”

Supported by Cambridge University Press, the students were also given resources to support their study. This included a lovely goody bag and the latest edition of Macbeth, part of Cambridge School Shakespeare.

The Shakespeare Challenge opened a door to Shakespeare’s world, with the students working directly from the Museum’s collections and the Press’ online learning resources. Combining the arts of theatre, painting, craft and script writing, the students soon embarked on their own journey of what Shakespeare was all about!

To other young people looking to take part in the Shakespeare Challenge, one participant would tell them Definitely do it because you’ll regret it if not.”

This project was run as part of a successful strategic partnership with Soham Village College. Now into its fifth year, the partnership has continued to enrich and extend on the students’ classroom learning.

“The students have particularly benefitted from working on an extended project, bringing together a number of different disciplines and becoming familiar with the Fitzwilliam Museum.  The work that they produced was excellent and seeing their pride in completing the award to a high standard was fantastic.  Because the project was deliberately centred around Macbeth, which the students are studying in school, we have also seen a positive impact on their English grades.”
Mary Wilcox, Deputy Head at Soham Village College

“This was an ambitious and exciting project. The young people have truly developed themselves as artists and their confidence has grown over the course of the award. Wonderful to see young people entering into Shakespeare’s true world.”
Moderator for the Shakespeare Challenge Arts Award

“I thought it was going to be boring however my opinion changed.”
Feedback from one participant.

“During the project my daughter was always eager to complete the work set to the best of her ability and took time to ensure it met her standards of excellence. Not only has it developed her understanding of Shakespeare, but it has inspired her to do more art work and drawings at home. I would like to think this has had a positive impact on her Art progress. She would come home from the selected day at the museum and excitedly tell her family random facts about Shakespeare.
On completion of the project my daughter has transferred her enthusiasm to her school work. She even pleaded with me to take her to school after having a full set of braces fitted and being in pain so she could hand in her portfolio! The whole experience has allowed her to grow in confidence and knowledge.”

A parent

Congratulations to everyone on this fantastic achievement!

Find out more about Arts Award at the University of Cambridge Museums.

Lucy Sercombe, Arts Award Coordinator

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