Drama teacher John Cotgrave is a man with a mission.
The Honley High man has set himself the ambitious target of producing all of William Shakespeare’s 37 plays in the next six years – and he’s looking for 36 local schools to join him.
John’s love affair with the work of The Bard was rekindled in 2009 when The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) came to Honley High School in 2009, where John is director of drama.
Since then he has got 16 local schools and hundreds of pupils involved with Shakespeare.
He has staged plays, a King Lear festival and a sell-out Shakespeare medley watched by 750.
Now John is looking for 36 schools and 800 students of all ages to join Honley High and produce the complete works of Shakespeare as part of the RSC’s Young Shakespeare Nation initiative.
He said: “This is such an exciting adventure and I would like to get more teachers and parents and pupils involved.
“We already have new kids joining all the time. There is not one way to sum up how we have captured their interest, but a lot of what we do is pupil- led.
“They make decisions and arrive at their own conclusions about language. We make it contemporary and fun.
“This is what I live and breathe for, I love it.”
Participating schools will bid to produce one 30-minute Shakespeare play. They will have the freedom to interpret the play, as long as Shakespeare’s language is used. Honley High will provide support and training.
The first performances, by schools already in the Honley Shakespeare Ensemble, will be performed from Easter 2015.
Over the next three years, John will run at least three trips a year to Stratford to enable as many pupils as possible to see live Shakespeare plays.
Currently rehearsals have just started at Honley for this year’s Shakespeare production – the tragedy Titus Andronicus.
Any school interested in further details should email John at firstname.lastname@example.org.