East Riding school brings Shakespeare to life with hip-hop
YOUNGSTERS at Cottingham High School celebrated Shakespeare's greatest work with a hip- hop class.
The class, for Year 9 pupils, was organised by English teacher Paul White.
It featured rapper Akala combining the Bard's rhythms with a hip-hop beat and aimed to portray his most famous speeches in a new light.
"It was initially looking at language as a vehicle for self-expression, using Shakespeare and the best traditions of hip-hop," said Akala, whose real name is Kingslee Daley.
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"I challenged them to identify quotes from my favourite rap songs and my favourite Shakespeare speeches and sonnets.
"It makes Shakespeare more relevant."
Akala travels to schools around the country promoting the playwright.
He has loved Shakespeare since his youth and enjoys sharing his work with others.
"I've had a love for both these art forms since I was very young," he said.
Mr White had worked with Akala at his old school.
He said the day was a huge success.
"The kids seemed to have really enjoyed it and it's given them the chance to look at Shakespeare in a different way," he said.
"They had the chance to have a go at their own writing in similar ways to Shakespeare.
"We're looking at the students writing about what's relevant to them in Shakespeare."
At the moment, the Year 9 classes are reading Romeo And Juliet and exploring the theme of love.
Mr White believes in helping pupils see Shakespeare's writing reflected in their own lives.
"Bringing in hip-hop allows them to really express themselves and look at Shakespeare in a different way," he said.
"I think the problem is people associate Shakes- peare with the idea of it being desk-bound.
"You can sit and read the plays but you don't really understand them."
But Mr White believes hip-hop encouraged the children to engage with what they were studying.
Akala's session helped bring the plays to life.
"It was great for allowing the context of Shakespeare to be reconsidered in a different light," Mr White said.
"We're really pushing our students to achieve the best possible marks."