A Midsummer Night’s Dream for PreK-3rd grade
an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s classic play
used successfully with young children ~ here’s how we did it:
Pine View School drama teacher Mary Alice Deveny had few doubts that her students could handle the challenges of staging a Shakespearean comedy. As director of Florida Studio Theatre’s Little Theatre program, Deveny once produced a 20-minute version of “Midsummer Night’s Dream” with a cast of 5-year-olds.
“I told the story, and the children acted out the characters,” Deveny said. “I figured if we could handle that, a bunch of Pine View kids wouldn’t have a problem with Shakespeare.” Deveny said that while Shakespeare’s language occasionally trips up young actors and readers, the material is much more accessible to kids than we might think.
Pine View freshman Liz Liberman sees no reason why young audiences can’t make sense of Shakespeare. “They’ll understand it,” she said. “It’s like speaking French to a 3-year-old. If you start early, they’ll pick it up faster. The language is not something you’re used to hearing, but once you read it and spend time with it, you learn it and it no longer becomes a barrier.”