From worse to Bard

6th June 2008 at 01:00
Mobile phone cartoons tend to be rude and crude, so Chris Firth rang the changes with some Shakespeare animations
Mobile phone cartoons tend to be rude and crude, so Chris Firth rang the changes with some Shakespeare animations

Pupils seem to love dodgy Bluetooth animations for mobile phones - swearing hamsters, cursing Mona Lisas, copulating skeletons. So I thought it would be a good idea for us to blend the old with the new in a creative way, and make our own, rather more tasteful animations based on Caliban from Shakespeare's The Tempest for our key stage 3 pupils.

The result was "Caliban Complains", in which lines from The Tempest were edited and arranged into a 30-second grumbling monologue. Caliban was drawn by Paula Wolfenden, a local artist who also ran a workshop for some of our pupils, and animated by John Stead, a lecturer at Cleveland College of Art. I provided the voice.

After downloading the animation on to my phone, pupils collected it from me in school via Bluetooth. Then we watched it travel around the school and way beyond. The interest generated in the potentials of mobile phone technology, as well as in Caliban and Shakespeare, was visible among pupils.

The animation is posted on YouTube and has had more than 1,100 views.

Our current project is along the same lines - "Richard Rants" features lines from Richard III with artwork produced by a group of our key stage 3 pupils (you can see it at

Chris Firth is an English teacher at Caedmon School in Whitby, Yorkshire. View Caliban Complains on Youtube or at

More details on the project on the school's website

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