The classroom is where most people first experience the joy of Shakespeare. In recognition of this, TES and the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) are marking the 400th anniversary of the Bard's death with My Best Shakespeare Teacher, a series of blogs in which famous faces tell us about the teachers who introduced them to legendary playwright.
“It is estimated that around 50 per cent of the world’s population first encounter Shakespeare whilst at school,” says a spokesperson for the RSC. “We want to celebrate the role that teachers play in making those early experiences as inspirational and enjoyable as possible.”
'I was never afraid of Shakespeare'
My Best Shakespeare Teacher launches today in TES magazine with the memories of Sir Patrick Stewart (pictured), who recalls his first encounter with The Merchant of Venice and how one English teacher inspired him to become an actor.
Sir Patrick writes: “It is an odd thing, as I was not at all academic, and yet I was never afraid of Shakespeare, intimidated or bored. With the help of Mr Dorman I just 'got it' and his inspiration means that I have gone on getting it ever since.”
Sir Patrick began his career on stage in a long run with the Royal Shakespeare Company before achieving worldwide fame with roles in Star Trek: The Next Generation and the X-Men series of films.
This latest collaboration is part of an ongoing partnership between TES and the RSC. Earlier this year, TES launched Teaching Shakespeare, a digital project run in conjunction with the RSC, the V&A, the British Museum, the BFI and Into Film, that brings together more than 400 resources with the aim of helping teachers to deliver inspiring Shakespeare lessons.
Subsequent instalments of My Best Shakespeare Teacher will be published online each month with the tag My Best Shakespeare Teacher.