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Year of Shakespeare

Friday, 28th December, 2018

Thomas Ng, Willyama High School English Teacher is a slef-confessed ‘Shakespeare nut’.  PICTURE: Emily Ferguson Thomas Ng, Willyama High School English Teacher is a slef-confessed ‘Shakespeare nut’. PICTURE: Emily Ferguson

By By Emily Ferguson

Local teacher Thomas Ng will next year be participating in the Bell Shakespeare Regional Teacher Mentorship.

Bell Shakespeare selected 30 teachers from regional, rural and remote Australian schools a fully-funded, year-long mentorship with the company.

The selected will travel to Bell Shakespeare’s Sydney headquarters for specialist teaching in Shakespeare, to collaborate and network with teachers from other regions and to see the company’s production of ‘The Miser’ at Sydney Opera House.

Thomas Ng is one of eleven teachers from regional New South Wales to take part in the program.

There are three teachers from the Northern Territory, seven from Queensland, two from Tasmania, five from Victoria and two from Western Australia. 

Thomas had to apply to be a part of the program and was one of 30 chosen. “They sent an email out asking for expressions of interest and I applied online and out of 30 people across the country I managed to get in,” he said. 

Teaching Shakespeare is one of Thomas’ favourite things to teach his students. “I don’t think we do enough of it or think we could do it in a lot more engaging way,” he said.

“I think Shakespeare has a lot of ideas that are timeless, the struggles that the characters go through the things that they experience, they’re really things that we can relate to and he does it in a very creative way.”

“I think it’s very engaging story telling in the fact that lots of movies and TV series nowadays we get to enjoy are adaptations of Shakespeare’s stories,” said Thomas.

“It really points to the fact that he has some ideas that really stand out and really strike at the core of what it is to be a person, he asks some questions that I think we would all benefit from asking.”

Thomas is very much looking forwards to the experience of the mentorship.

“I’d like to meet with other people who are also keen and receive some training on how to make Shakespeare more engaging and more relatable to students and just improve the way we approach Shakespeare not just in the senior years but also in the junior years as well,” he said. 

Thomas is very passionate about Shakespeare.

“This year I helped put together the Shrek Musical at Theatre 44, maybe in the future we can work towards a Shakespearean production kind of like the one that Bell Shakespeare do,” he said. 

Thomas classified himself as a bit of a “Shakespeare nut”. He drew a Shakespeare piece with characters and quotes which is going to be painted as a mural on a wall in the school’s English department.

To his knowledge he is the first Willyama High School teacher to attend the mentorship, although a Railwaytown School teacher attended a few years ago and assisted him with his application.

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