Page last updated at 08:11 GMT, Tuesday, 17 April 2007 09:11 UK

Shakespeare on podcast for pupils

Much Ado About Nothing
Much Ado: The recording was made last month at the Globe Theatre

Pupils studying Shakespeare can download a podcast of Much Ado About Nothing from a government website.

A recording of the play at the Globe Theatre in London is available as a free download from the Department for Education and Skills.

The comedy, a set text on the curriculum for younger teenagers, can be downloaded as an MP3 file, to be played back on for music players.

It also includes interviews with actors and the director.

This podcast project aims to deliver the play in a format that will be familiar and easy to use for the iPod generation.

Press play

"We were aware that there would be a significant number of pupils, particularly those in rural areas, who would not have access to a professional production of the play," said Peter Walker of National Strategies, which provides resources to support the curriculum.

Beatrice reads a letter
The play at the Globe was performed for younger teenagers

"The MP3 file allows them to download the play and listen to it when they want and as many times as they want."

The live recording, from a special performance for young people at Shakespeare's Globe last month, is available from the DfES's Standards website section on Improving the Teaching of Shakepeare.

Much Ado About Nothing is one of the English set texts for Key Stage 3 - for 11 to 14 year olds.

Each of the play's five acts can be downloaded as an audio file - and pupils can listen to discussions of the play's characters and meaning from the director and actors.

"Young people will be able to engage with Shakespeare in performance and hear unique insights from the director and cast about the various aspects of using Shakespeare's language when putting together a play like Much Ado About Nothing," said the Globe's education director, Patrick Spottiswoode.

The Royal Shakespeare Company has also used podcasts for teaching about Shakespeare.

The producers of Richard III, Pericles and The Winter's Tale have recorded podcasts with their thoughts about interpreting the plays.

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