Shakespeare Day

Mr. Sayers and Ms. Van Rijn poses for the camera

On April 28, the Grade 8 student body celebrated a special Shakespearian Day, organized by Ms. Catriana Van Rijn, English and Drama teacher.  Grade 8s were encouraged to wear a costume related to Shakespeare or the Renaissance. This was the first year that St. George’s devoted an entire day to the Grade 8s in celebration of William Shakespeare.  This festivities all of the Grade 8s, all the departments, and numerous other teachers.

Shakespeare, born on April 26, 1564, was an English poet, writer, playwright, and actor. He is considered one of the greatest English writers and his plays have been translated into every major living language, with more performances than any other playwright. Most of Shakespeare’s plays use Iambic Pentameter, which includes ten syllables in each line. The ten syllables breaks up into five pairs of stressed and unstressed syllables, each pair called Iambus (Ba-BUM, Ba-BUM, Ba-BUM etc).  Throughout high school, students study a range of Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets.

On the actual day, the various departments in St. George’s school held many different activities for the Grade 8s to participate in. The Science department made a real-life catapult machine to demonstrate the 16th century’s weaponry. The Physical Education department introduced sports that were played in the 16th century, such as bocce and badminton. The Arts department made sculptures of monsters and scary faces to symbolize the mythical beliefs in the 16th century. The English department taught the Grade 8s a Renaissance dance and turned them into sculptures who spoke famous Shakespearian lines.  The Languages department celebrated Renaissance music and insult-hurling in French!

The purpose of this day was to “make Shakespeare come alive”, quoted Ms. Sandra Gin, English teacher. This day helped students gain a better and deeper understanding for Shakespeare’s literature and culture, contributing to the recognition of Shakespeare’s influence on the modern world.

To gain further insight for Shakespeare day, we interviewed Ms. Jennifer Torry, English Teacher, for her thoughts.

The Creed: “Why was Shakespeare Day celebrated?”

Ms. Torry: “It was a fun way to experience Shakespeare and for most of the Grade 8s, it was their first exposure to Shakespeare.”

The Creed: “What do you think the students got out of Shakespeare Day?”

Ms. Torry: “I think they got a better understanding of the time period by understanding the science (ballistics) and literature.  Also, I think they learned to not take for granted what we have today.”

The Creed: “How do you think it could be improved for next year?”

Ms Torry: “I think we should get older kids involved in planning out the activities for the event. This would help the departments tremendously and diversify the activities. I feel like there should be more people involved in wearing costumes, enhancing the spirit for the celebration of Shakespeare Day.”