Shakespeare inspires Barking and Dagenham drama festival

Students performing in the council chamber

Students performing in the council chamber - Credit: Archant

Some of Shakespeare’s most well known plays inspired a show marking 400 years since the playwright’s death.

Students performing in the council chamber

Students performing in the council chamber - Credit: Archant

More than 80 pupils from Robert Clack, William Bellamy, Grafton and Henry Green schools developed and created their own performances influenced by the Bard for this year’s INSPIRE festival.

Their original blend of dance and drama were performed at the iconic Dagenham Civic Centre at two showings on Thursday to a rapturous audience of parents and supporters.

The marble Art Deco building in Rainham Road South has been used for a range of shoots including London Road, which starred Tom Hardy, and a Cheryl Fernandez-Versini cover story for InStyle magazine.

The INSPIRE festival, funded by Arts Council England, ties in with the council’s ambition to be a cultural destination and creative hub for the capital.


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This year’s festival will culminate with the INSPIRE highlights event at the Broadway Theatre in Barking tomorrow night.

Cllr Evelyn Carpenter, cabinet member for educational attainment and school improvement, said: “The talented performances are a result of the drive by schools to develop a varied, stimulating and creative educational environment.”

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Last year’s festival celebrated the borough’s 50th anniversary. It brought together dancers and actors, artists and musicians to explore some of the events which shaped 1965 and beyond.

To see more pictures from the festival, pick up a copy of today’s Post.

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