Bringing stories to life is what the KL Shakespeare Players (KLSP) are all about, especially for primary school students.
Come August to October 2023, KLSP will be traveling to various schools across seven states in Malaysia – Perlis, Pahang, Penang, Perak, Kelantan, Negeri Sembilan and Sarawak, to stage their lively shows.
KLSP will conduct a total of 42 live, in-person storytelling sessions that will mainly cater to primary school students.
While KLSP’s appeal has been mainly for pupils in Years 4 and 5, their performances have been known to captivate the attention of even younger audiences.
Since the pandemic, KLSP has also been conducting storytelling sessions over Zoom.
An upcoming Zoom session on July 12 and July 13, will feature a Japanese folktale, Hana Saka Jiji.
The story is about two contrasting couples – one, who is good and kind, and the other; evil and conniving.
In these online video sessions, KLSP actors make the most of every opportunity to engage with children in real-time. This notable distinction sets them apart from other theater performances. Even in their live shows, they typically involve their audiences in a two-way interaction.
When KLSP goes on their seven-state tour to Malaysian schools between August and October, primary school kids will get the chance to witness the live performers’ storytelling for themselves.
Through storytelling, KLSP hopes to provide young students with an immersive English language environment.
During the storytelling sessions, dilemmas will be posed to the students. This allows the storytellers to provoke higher-order thinking in students through open-ended questions. This is done to assess the students, to see how they construct their worlds, what is important to them and more.
KLSP hopes that through the interactions, students become more aware of different cultures, different perspectives and values. The actors’ group also hopes that the students will be, “Happy children who more readily engage with the world and with less fear.”
In an email interview, KLSP executive director, Lim Soon Heng shared that the response to KLSP’s projects have been good.
“It brings the students joy, pleasure and delight,” he said.
Lim added that KLSP hoped to show primary school students that learning could be entertaining.
KLSP’s focus on performing local and international folktales, is mainly to create an avenue for these folktales to be known by the younger generation, many of whom, may have not heard of them.
“The fact that these stories are still accessible suggests that much is to be gained by hearing them,” said Lim.
These folktales also do well over a variety of cultures and across borders because they are about people and the challenges they face which are things that people can easily relate to.
For children who believe that learning English is boring and dull, KLSP’s interactive storytelling can serve as an eye-opening experience.
The general public can also experience KLSP’s shows for themselves at live storytelling sessions held at PJPAC in One Utama, Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya.
These shows are between 2pm and 3.30pm every first Sunday of the month throughout 2023, and likely to continue into 2024 as well.
*** This article was written by Anna Anthon from The Write Teen class by Brigitte Rozario. The class seeks to train teenagers to write non-fiction for the real world. Youngsters are taught to research, think and write about current topics; share their opinions; and feature articles requiring journalism skills.