Shakespeare dominates participation at our 1st Book Festival: We love Books
The British Council School is this year celebrating its own particular homage to books in all shapes and sizes as part of our 1st We Love Books Festival. This is a week full of activities centred around the main character of William Shakespeare, to coincide with the 400th anniversary of his death. Encouraging an appetite and passion for reading is a School priority. This is why the School Library and classrooms were filled with personal stories from renowned national and international authors, performances from the Young Shakespeare Company, storytellers, the final of the “Shakespeare and I” competition, and Teacher training workshops.
Our first We Love Books Festival coincides with “Shakespeare Lives”, an international programme of events and activities, designed as a global celebration, throughout the whole of 2016, the year which commemorates the 4th centenary of William Shakespeare's death. This is why the School has sought to provide centre stage for this author, bringing together different events which took part in the School Theatre.
Amongst other activities, on the 18th of April, we hosted the final of the “Shakespeare and I” monologue competition in which schools throughout Spain took part. In February, the British Council reached out to 4th year ESO students from around the country, so that students would seek inspiration from Shakespeare and would make a video in which they could represent, explain or reflect in English, on anything to do with his life or work. From all the submissions, 10 were chosen and representatives from the Ministry for Education, Culture and Sport, the British Embassy and the British Council, chose 3 of the finalists as winners and presented the prizes.
On the 19th, 20th and 21st the Young Shakespeare Company also staged a variety of performances in front of different groups of students with other schools from around Madrid also attending. This British theatre company provides training programmes, workshops and performances for students of all ages with the goal of raising awareness and passion around the author and his works.
We also had, over three consecutive days, the well known British narrator and storyteller, Anna Conomos. She led a variety of different workshops and performances in English, which were adapted to the different year groups. And she also delivered the training workshops for Early Years, Primary and Secondary teachers.
Books and their authors
The We Love Books Festival also represented an important meeting point between students and current authors like Ana Alonso, the writer of the novel Fuego Azul, essential reading for our Year 10 pupils; and César Mallorquí, one of the most popular writers of teenage literature. This well respected author gave a talk to our Year 9 students, all avid readers of some of his novels, such as La puerta de Agartha, Las lágrimas de Shiva, La Catedral y La cruz de El Dorado.
Year 13 pupils enjoyed an informal talk with Nell Leyshon. This author is in Spain promoting her book, a tribute to Shakespeare and Cervantes, with contributions from both English and Spanish writers as prestigious as Ben Okri, Shalman Rushdie, Soledad Puertolas, and Vicente Molina Foix, amongst others. It is a true collaborative piece with each contributing a story to this anthology, which pays tribute to these two great authors. The book is a project supported by the British Council.
Also visiting our classrooms were the poets Luis García Montero and Vicente Muñoz Puelles to talk to our Year 7 students about their book Polizón a bordo. And also Tanya Nause, a German author whose books are covered in our German Club.
Music and Poetry
We couldn't leave poetry out of the Festival and with this in mind, the Lengua department organised “A Poetry Day”, in which our KS3 students took part in a competition with a prize for different levels, judged by a first-class panel.
There was also a singing competition for KS4 and KS5 students, who this year have set to music, poems chosen by Luis Garcia Montero. He is a trully great poet and currently one of the most celebrated figures in Spanish Arts.(National Literature Prize 1994, and Adonais and Loewe Poetry Prizes, amongst others). García Montero is part of the IGCSE Spanish Literature examination syllabus, which our Year 11 students will sit this year. The judging panel consisted of Leo Martin and Paloma Yessayan (an ex-pupil).
TheTheatre Group from The British Council School KS4 and KS5 Year groups paid tribute to these two great literary figures: Cervantes and Shakespeare, two writers who are always part of the School's culture. With the performance of 400 Spring Seasons, two quills and one destiny, our students paid homage to the 400th anniversary of the deaths of Cervantes and Shakespeare. Furtherproof of this, were the staging of a variety of scenes in the School Theatre, during March and also on the 18th of April.