Today, Thursday September 30, sixty Marlborough St Mary’s Year 4 pupils launched Marlborough LitFest 2021 with song. They sang their hearts out on the steps of Marlborough Town Hall to the delight of watching parents, the LitFest Committee and passers-by. Later in the day sixth-formers from St John’s Marlborough added their contribution to LitFest 2021 by debating whether there is still a place for Shakespeare in a 21st Century curriculum.
Kate Fry, Marlborough LitFest Committee member, said, “Marlborough LitFest Committee really appreciate all the hard work the students have put in to make our launch day special.”
The two songs, sung by Year 4 pupils both have literary associations. ‘The Lost Boy’ is based on Peter Pan and ‘The Call’ from the film of ‘The Chronicles of Narnia, Prince Caspian’.
Music Lead teacher at Marlborough St Mary’s, Bea Knowles, told Marlborough.news, “Year 4 have really enjoyed preparing the songs. Both songs also have something to say about the way the pandemic has affected us all. The children could choose to dress up as someone they knew who has helped in the pandemic.”
Ten St John’s sixth-formers debated Shakespeare’s place in the English curriculum. The five English Literature A-level students argued that Shakespeare is a fundamental part of our culture and history and that studying his works contributes to our understanding of the human condition and the complexity of life. They also cited the vast number of words, phrases and sayings that have entered the English language from Shakespeare.
The five English Language A-level students questioned whether Shakespeare should be given so much prominence in the curriculum when his language is often inaccessible to pupils and, they argued, the plays often have a ridiculous plot with many confusing subplots. They believed that painstakingly analysing a text in class is wrong when the plays were written to be seen in performance. There are, they argued, many other great writers who could be studied if there was less emphasis on Shakespeare. The audience was given plenty to think about by this carefully prepared debate session.
Marlborough LitFest 2021 runs until the evening of Sunday October 3. There are still tickets available for some events. Click here for tickets or call the Box Office on 0333 666 3366 or pop into The White Horse Bookshop in #Marlborough. If you can’t make it to Marlborough, don’t forget you can watch 13 events online (for £5 a session), for up to two weeks after the event.