Thursday, January 20, 2005

Shakespeare’s Globe Announces UK Tour of Faith-Based Schools

In the same week as the chief inspector of schools speech on citizenship, Globe Education announces a national tour to visit both multi-faith and single-faith schools. The tour will visit eight cities and 63 schools including Muslim, Catholic and Church of England single-faith schools.

Globe Education’s Magic in the Web tour is inspired by the clash of faiths in Shakespeare’s Othello. In workshop performances, five actors will work with students to explore the play’s issues of justice, judgement and forgiveness. This is Globe Education’s first UK tour.

Following the performance, students will be asked to design two handkerchiefs which feature in Othello. The first, the ‘handkerchief of love’, is Othello’s first gift to his new wife Desdemona and is ‘spotted with strawberries’ (act III, scene VI). The second, a ‘handkerchief of peace’, is offered to Othello by Desdemona to soothe him when he believes she has been unfaithful. This handkerchief will draw on students’ own interpretations of peace.

Handkerchiefs in many Islamic lands were objects of far greater beauty and size than the modern European equivalent. These finely embroidered cloths were important symbols of status and dignity.

The Magic in the Web project is free to all schools. It follows a year-long exploration of Shakespeare and Islam at the Globe in 2004.

The tour will include five Islamic schools. Earlier this week David Bell questioned whether such schools equipped their pupils for living in modern Britain.

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