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Shakespeare in schools

Thousands of children in the UK will get the chance to stage a Shakespeare play in a theatre to mark the 450th anniversary of his birth in 2014.

The Shakespeare Schools Festival plans to spend £3.2m to treble the number of schools it reaches and some 50,000 pupils and their teachers will get use of a local theatre, plus expert rehearsal and staging tips.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said he wanted pupils to "stage their own version of Shakespearean magic".

The Department for Education has announced a donation of £140,000 to help the Festival kickstart a major expansion in England, particularly into primary schools. It currently works in 700 schools but aims to reach 1,000 by 2013 and 2,000 by 2014.

The charity's chief executive, Penelope Middelboe, said there was still a lot more money to raise but "It is really helpful for us to know the government is supportive of the project.”

Mr Gove said: "I was enraptured by a Shakespeare Schools Festival performance of Macbeth by a primary school at the Royal Court earlier this year. The Festival enables students to bring the plays of the great playwright to life and does fantastic work to improve cultural education in our schools."

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