Yesterday I took a party of 46 pupils and 4 staff to The Globe Theatre in London, to watch A Midsummer Night's Dream. (Actually, it should have been 48 pupils - but two pupils didn't show for the bus; apparently they told friends at school they were not coming but didn't bother to let me or the office know!) For most, if not all, of the pupils it was their first experience of seeing live Shakespeare, and their first trip to The Globe. It was the first trip to The Globe for two of the staff as well.
The weather was kind to us. So was the traffic. Despite the lorry drivers' action (which we feared would impede our journey) we arrived in good time. We visited the theatre shop first, then had our tour of The Globe. This was great - our guide struck just the right note with our pupils and they were engrossed. After that we all sat by the river to have our lunch. The sun shone, the pupils were happy to sit and eat and chat, and we had a relaxing half hour or so. Then it was time to take our seats; I handed out tickets at the entrance (each had to hold their own ticket!) and we trooped in.
Our seats were not the best in the house (they were the cheapest!) and we had a side view of the stage. This was in itself interesting for the pupils - though at times the view was impeded and partial. we were complimented on their behaviour by one of the stewards, which was good.
The play was not the best I have seen, but still enjoyable. I'd quibble with some of the casting; Puck was nothing like the etherial spirit I imagine (rather solid, in fact, with a touch of the Krankies!) The mechanicals were hysterical though, and Bottom as the ass even more so. Elements of the staging were very effective, but none of us were convinced by the blue fooring which transformed the traditional wooden stage. Despite all this, it was highly entertaining and the pupils all said they had enjoyed it.
Will I do it again? Definitely, next year. Well worth the effort (and the sleepless night beforehand!) I felt I had proved to myself that I can take on a fairly major trip and pull it off. All the staff said they had enjoyed it and it hadn't felt like they were "on duty" at all. A great day out.
(The postcard is the first of four I am making - all the same - to send to my colleagues who came with me on the trip, to thank them. Design adapted from that on The Globe's shop bags!)