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Shakespeare fever sweeps Jerudong International School

JERUDONG International School (JIS) is putting on a performance of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream over two days on November 10 and 11.

A classic comedy surrounding the marriage of Thesus Duke of Athens and Hippolyta, former queen of the Amazons, the story is one of the Bard’s most popular works, which has starred some of the world’s most celebrated thespians over the years, including Sir Patrick Stewart, Sir Ben Kingsley and Frances de la Tour.

Inspired by a recent trip to the UK, during which JIS students and staff visited the birthplace of Shakespeare and took in a performance of Twelfth Night at London’s Globe Theatre, the JIS adaptation will see an on-stage cast of 33, complimented by a large behind-the-scenes team, performing their take on Shakespeare’s classic.

“The trip gave us an incredible personal experience of the life of Shakespeare,” said Eden Chiam, a Year 12 A-Level Drama student who plays Titania in the upcoming production. “We went to Stratford-upon Avon; went to his home; to his grave, and more. We also watched live Shakespeare performances and witnessed how a piece of theatre from the 1600s can be modernised and adapted to entertain a modern-day audience without losing the essence of Shakespeare’s time. As part of the A Midsummer Night’s Dream cast, I am incredibly excited to pioneer Shakespeare into Bruneian performances.”

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Year 12 A-Level Drama student, Eden Chiam performing a ballet at Showcase Performance

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The cast members of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a group photo. – JERUDONG INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL

Mahmud Baharudin, one of the stars of last year’s JIS production (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), and a member of the behind-the-scenes team on A Midsummer Night’s Dream, concurred. “The trip was fascinating,” he said. “We have learnt about Shakespeare not only in Drama Class but in English and History as well, and to actually go to his birthplace was an incredible experience that made us eager to learn even more about him and ultimately put on a performance of one of his works.”

Having played a principal role in last year’s production during his final year at JIS, Bruneian Mahmud is now lending his expert advice to the stars of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, while on a gap year before starting university.

The performance will represent a change in direction from the school’s usual choice of musicals, but as Drama Teacher and Director of A Midsummer Night’s Dream Sarah Grimshaw explains, the decision was very much an educational one. “Many of our students want to go on to further study drama after they leave JIS,” she said. “Doing something like A Midsummer Night’s Dream gives them an opportunity to add more skills to their repertoire and more chance not only to get a place at drama school or university, but also to succeed when they get there.”

Borneo Bulletin | October 10, 2017