News - Romeo & Juliet Wins Shakespeare Week Poll

Romeo and Juliet has been voted the number one Shakespeare play Britain’s children would most like to see...

The tragic tale of the star-crossed lovers and the idealism of youth is one of Shakespeare’s earliest plays and was picked by more than a third of the 1,700 children who voted ahead of Shakespeare Week, 14-20 March, and the 400th anniversary of the playwright’s death.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the comedy adventure set in a forest with mischievous fairies, polled second favourite place with 12% of the vote and the story of Hamlet, the ghostly tale of the Prince of Denmark was the third most popular children’s choice.

Commenting on the results, full list below, Dr Elizabeth Dollimore from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, which has led the campaign to give primary school children a great first experience of Shakespeare says, “It is fantastic that so many children were able to choose the Shakespeare play that they would most like to watch, and I hope that in voting children explored some of the less well known plays by Shakespeare. Schools, teachers and children have really been inspired by Shakespeare Week over the last three years and done some wonderful work in classrooms up and down the country to bring Shakespeare’s legacy to life in children’s worlds.”

Keilly Swift, First News’ managing editor, adds “First News was delighted to support the Shakespeare Most Wanted poll. The huge response from our readers demonstrates that, 400 years on, Shakespeare’s plays still resonate with today’s young people, who have some fantastic opportunities to celebrate this year’s extra-special Shakespeare Week.”

Schools Minister Nick Gibb also commented, “At the heart of our commitment to extending opportunity is making sure all children have access to the very best of our great literary and cultural heritage – Shakespeare has a place right at the heart of this. Shakespeare Week provides a fantastic opportunity to make these great works accessible and exciting for our primary school children, providing them with an early introduction to a wide variety of texts before they come to formally embrace Shakespeare as part of the secondary curriculum. More than 400 years on I am thrilled to see this initiative bringing these works to life for a new generation of pupils and we will continue to do all we can to make sure every child is able to experience and enjoy Shakespeare for themselves.”

About Shakespeare Week
Shakespeare Week is an annual celebration organised by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and is designed to bring Shakespeare’s works, creative legacy and England’s cultural birthright to life for everyone’s enjoyment. With emphasis on fun and engaging activities, Shakespeare Week has so far reached more than a million and a half children in over 10,000 primary schools in the UK since its launch in 2014. Throughout the week more than 10,000 primary schools will be taking part in their own performances, celebrations and activities for Shakespeare Week and will be acting out Shakespeare, crafting puppets, even understanding science, history and numeracy through Shakespeare’s world.

 A free Passport to Shakespeare, designed by award-winning children’s author Marcia Williams with contributions from Walker Books authors Michael Rosen, Anthony Horowitz and Polly Faber, is also available to children with fun activities and challenges for all the family. Libraries, art galleries, museums, heritage attractions and theatres have helped to create a national programme of activities and events for the whole family to enjoy. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has also planned a week-long celebration at the Shakespeare houses in his hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon. To see what’s happening go to

The survey

First News readers and schools taking part in Shakespeare Week were polled the following question: Which of these 16 Shakespeare plays would you most like to see? A shortlist of 16 plays was selected by a panel of children and a summary of each play was provided to help readers decide. The results are below

1. Romeo and Juliet - 34%

Two young teenagers fall in love knowing that their families are enemies - will they ever be happy?

2. A Midsummer Night’s Dream - 12%

A night time quarrel between the King and the Queen of the fairies leads to a man being turned into a donkey. Will Bottom be a donkey forever more?

3. Hamlet - 11%

A ghost tells a young prince that his uncle is a villain and should be killed, but should the young man believe the ghost’s words?

4. Macbeth - 10%

A surprise meeting with witches on a heath encourages Macbeth to kill the king. Who is to blame - Macbeth or the witches?

5. Twelfth Night - 6%

Viola survives a shipwreck and has to begin a new life in Illyria. Her first decision is to dress as a boy.... what will she do next?

6. Richard III - 5%

Cunning Richard plots his way to the crown, killing anyone who stands in his way.

7. The Tempest - 5%

Miranda sees a young man for the first time in her life - will it be love at first sight?

8. The Comedy of Errors - 4%

Two sets of twins confuse everyone when they keep popping up in different places around town. How long will it be before people realise that one person cannot be in two places at the same time?

9. Much Ado About Nothing - 3%

Claudio believes a terrible lie about his wife-to-be Hero - will she ever forgive him?

10. The Merchant of Venice - 3%

Portia must marry whoever solves the riddle to win her heart - but will she love the winner?

11. The Taming of the Shrew - 2%

Will Kate and Petruchio fall in love, or will Petruchio be left all alone at the altar?

12. Julius Caesar - 1%

As Julius Caesar bleeds to death, his murderers plan to become Rome’s new leaders - but will they be able to remain friends?

13. All’s Well That Ends Well - 1%

Helena wants to marry Bertram, but Bertram does not want to marry her. How will a king, a ring and a baby bring them together.

14. As You Like It - 1%

Rosalind falls in love at first sight with Orlando, but has to run away from him to save her own life – or so she thinks!

15. Henry V - 1%

A great king is given tennis balls as a gift.Angered, he goes on to lead his soldiers to a famous victory in France.

16. King Lear - 1%

A King decides to divide his kingdom between his three daughters, but who will get the largest share?

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