SHOW TIME: The cast of Midsummer Night's Dream warm up for their big production at the Criterion Theatre this weekend.
SHOW TIME: The cast of Midsummer Night's Dream warm up for their big production at the Criterion Theatre this weekend. Adam Hourigan

Shakespeare comes to life at the Criterion

THE Clarence Valley Home Educators have been working with Grafton drama stalwart Sue Kearney over the past few months to produce a delightful version of Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream.

With live music and beautiful costumes and sets, this production is sure to be a feast for the senses.

Home educator Deanne Langford said they employed Mrs Kearney for this task to give the children some drama experience as part of their curriculum.

"Normally parents would incorporate some into lessons but we aren't professionals in that field. Sue did such a great job last year with the students with Gingerbread Girl we got her back again."

Mrs Langford said the children wanted to perform a work by Shakespeare and Midsummer Night's Dream was a "good all-round play".

"There are lots of parts for lots of kids with ranging abilities and lots of fun storylines. We even have a musical fairy in this production to put our own spin on it."

(clockwise from bottom) Mariah Hassett as Titania, Duncan Sage as Oberon, Odin Sage as Bottom and Sage Kirby as Puck get reday to perfrom in A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Criterion Theatre.
(clockwise from bottom) Mariah Hassett as Titania, Duncan Sage as Oberon, Odin Sage as Bottom and Sage Kirby as Puck get reday to perfrom in A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Criterion Theatre. Adam Hourigan

With actors ranging in age from four to 19 years, around half of the 50 home-educated students in the area will be taking part in the production which has been condensed down (1 1/2 hours rather than 2 1/2) for this weekend's performances.

"There are 24 kids involved from pre-school age to one ex-home schooled student who has come back from uni to take part."

Mrs Langford said the teaching group meet regularly to have excursions and source tutors for special workshops.

"Most children are involved in extra curricular activities like sport, music or youth groups.

"Parents are aware of the importance of that so we provide many opportunities where they can be involved in the community."

With this in mind the group will be donating the proceeds of this weekend's two performances to the St Joseph's Children's Home, the home-educated students wanting to help other kids as their motivation.

Mrs Langford said the main benefit of "home schooling", as it is often referred to, is the freedom to cater to every child's individual needs and interests.

"If they are really passionate about a particular thing they can spend as much time as they want learning about it."

However she also said parents who go about educating their children at home still have to abide by the Board of Studies and comply with their program.

"They often do site visits to ensure this happens."

And while tailored teaching is the heart of the home-education program, there are some other benefits that sound pretty good too like not having to deal with that early morning rush.

"Yes that's great. You can go to school in your pyjamas if you want to."

This weekend's performances of the Clarence Valley Home Educators' production of Midsummer Night's Dream are Friday night at 7pm and Saturday matinee at 2pm. Tickets are $10 adults and $5 children under 12. U/3s free and available from Buckley's Music Grafton or Nice Rack in South Grafton. Tea, coffee and cakes will also be for sale half an hour prior to each performance and during interval.