Five minutes with… Dame Jacqueline Wilson

Whose famous face nestles on Dame Jacqueline Wilson's little finger? We bet you can guess...

As part of an event at the Foundling Museum, a group of Year 5 children from Beecroft Garden Primary School, Lewisham, shared a scene from their 2018 Festival performance. The special-guest audience included acclaimed children’s author Dame Jacqueline Wilson. We caught up with Jacqueline about all things Shakespeare.

“I love Shakespeare. I even have a Shakespeare ring – when I saw it in an antiques shop I just had to buy it!

One of my most thrilling first Shakespeare experiences was seeing Dame Judi Dench play the part of Juliet in Romeo and Juliet when I was about 15. I went with my school to the Old Vic – the seats were extremely hard and uncomfortable, but the performance was captivating.

Watching the children perform their scene from A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream was wonderful. It’s a joy hearing children saying words that are hundreds of years old, and finding the humour and the beauty in them. There can be a perception that Shakespearean language is too complex for children and they won’t understand, but as this group of talented young performers proved, this just isn’t the case!

When I was younger, we read A Midsummer Night’s Dream as a class with our English teacher. I was quite a quiet child so didn’t get chosen to read out many of the lines. As a consequence, I didn’t really remember it. I think there’s something very powerful about learning Shakespeare by heart and performing it – it really makes it stick.”

The special Shakespeare ring in close-up.

Images courtesy of the Foundling Museum, © Rachel Cherry.

Coram SSF is a cultural education charity that exists to instil curiosity and empathy, aspiration and self-esteem, literacy and teamwork - giving young people the confidence to see that all the world is their stage.

Learn more about us