Leading article: The play's the thing

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The Independent Online

The play may be the thing to catch the conscience of a king, but is its performance enough to catch the imagination of a child? The Royal Shakespeare Company thinks so. It is recommending that every child be compelled to attend at least one performance of the bard as the only way to keep them interested in Britain's greatest playwright.

Of course the RSC would say so, wouldn't they? Never countenancing the thought that a dull production of Shakespeare can be just as dreary as having to read scenes from the plays and answer written questions on them.

But the RSC is right on one point. Performance is the thing. Put a child in front of an actor and a scene and a whole world opens up. So yes, make it compulsory for all children to see a live performance at least once. But not necessarily of Shakespeare. Give them anything that entrances. Once they take to the theatre, then Shakespeare will surely follow of his own accord.

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