Eleven-year-old Kaitlyn Gallery joined children from across the UK in making her West End debut at Shakespeare School’s Festival Gala.
More than 50 primary, secondary and special school students from across the country performed with professionals Jessica Hynes and Arthur Darvill at London’s Piccadilly Theatre, in front of a sold out crowd to mark the 400th anniversary of the Great British playwright’s death.
St Stephen’s Primary School girl, Kaitlyn starred alongside Paterson Joseph in a specially adapted duologue from Hamlet.
Kaitlyn said: “I was so nervous and so excited. We got to see how famous actors like Paterson really do it. My mum and dad saw me as Hamlet and I got to travel to London for the first time, it was awesome!”
Jonathan Pye, primary teacher at St Stephen’s School, Burnley said: “It’s easy to think that Shakespeare is too much of a challenge for primary aged children – or too boring.
“But our parents and school community were absolutely wowed by our pupils’ Festival performance and the impact on their confidence.
“Seeing Kaitlyn conquer her fears as Hamlet in the West End was a highlight in my teaching career. It makes me incredibly proud.”
Peep Show actor Paterson Joseph added:“Kaitlyn showed empathy and consideration that belied her age.
“Not only that but she was funny and poised and utterly convincing. Imagine being 11, your first time in London and performing Shakespeare on a West End stage. Daunting but she was great. It was something special. There was an extraordinary energy from all the people on stage.”