Shakespeare for Tweens with RSC at Northern Stage

Disclosure - We have a mix of press and paid-for tickets to see this show

I struggle with Shakespeare sometimes - the language is often alien to me and if it's not a popular play, I struggle to follow what's going on at times. I don't think there's any shame in saying this. I also think this puts a lot of people off going to see Shakespeare and I can understand why.

Shakespeare for Tweens with RSC at Northern Stage

That being said, some of the best plays I've ever seen on stage have been Shakespeare (one particular version of Macbeth we watched at Northern Stage a few years ago really sticks in my mind) and Steve is a big fan and always asking when we can go and see another Shakespeare play so when I heard about the RSC visiting Northern Stage this week with a version of  The Merchant of Venice which has been specially adapted for families with children aged 7-13, I thought this sounded perfect for us and booked tickets.

The Merchant of Venice (First Encounters) - Shakespeare for Tweens

This version of The Merchant of Venice is an edited version of the play and only 90 minutes long so I am hoping it will be pretty fast-paced. The play is performed using Shakespeare's original language yet aimed at a younger audience (recommended age of 7-13 but they can be enjoyed by all).

Shakespeare for Tweens with RSC at Northern Stage

The touring show features eight professional actors and 22 young actors from the RSC's next generation who share the roles of Jessica and Lorenzo. I love that for performances in Newcastle, these roles are played by local young people from Ferryhill and Middlesbrough. My son Harry (13) is currently rehearsing for his first amateur performance at school and I hope that taking him to see something like this will both boost his confidence and aspirations.

For those who don't know the story (like me!), this play is set against the commercial backdrop of Venice (also ties in quite nicely with our upcoming trip to Italy). Shakespeare's play presents a world where business and personal interests collide and aims to challenge audiences with questions that are very relevant, even today.

The play will leave us questioning the way we live, work and behave with those of different faiths and cultures. I'm sorry to bring this up but with everything that is going on in the world with immigration/brexit, now feels like the perfect time to bring this discussion to the table with our children and I'm hoping watching this play will leave us all with food for thought.

Tickets to see this version of The Merchant of Venice are just £10 each. Performance times at Northern Stage, Newcastle are as follows:
  • 17 October: 1:30pm 
  • 18 October: 10:30am 
  • 19 October: 10:30am 
  • 19 October: 2pm 
The first two showings will be perfect if you homeschool or your half term has started early. We've bought tickets for Saturday morning and I'm looking forward to starting our weekend with a bit of culture and hopefully a lively discussion with the kids over lunch afterwards.

Let me know if you fancy it with your tweens.


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