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One third of British children have never heard of Shakespeare - survey

The survey also found that 5 per cent of people aged 18 to 34 believe that the playwright’s most famous work is Cinderella…

The Cobbe portrait - a newly discovered painting believed to depict William Shakespeare and have been painted during his lifetime.
The Cobbe portrait - a newly discovered painting believed to depict William Shakespeare and have been painted during his lifetime.
Image: AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis

A RECENT SURVEY has revealed that almost a third of British schoolchildren under the age of 13 have never heard of William Shakespeare.

One thousand schoolchildren aged between six and 12 took part in the survey, which aimed to discover what was known of England’s most celebrated playwright.

The survey also questioned 2,000 adults – and showed that about 12 per cent of them did know who Shakespeare was. A further 27 per cent of adults said they had never read a play by Shakespeare, reports the Huffington Post.

The Vision Critical survey found that 5 per cent of people aged 18 to 34 believe that the playwright’s most famous work is Cinderella, while 2 per cent from the same age group think he is a fictional character, Channel 4 reports.

Several notable actors have called for a rethink in how Shakespeare’s classic works are taught, in response to the survey.

Meanwhile, 49 per cent identified Macbeth as The Bard’s most recognisable character.

Actor Jeremy Irons said: “I think so many people are put off Shakespeare at school and like so much of drama, you have to see it in order to be moved by it. Then you begin to go back to the text and you begin to understand the world, the imagination behind those words.”

Similarly, Paterson Joseph, who has played the role of Othello on stage, said that the classroom setting was probably “the worst place to come to Shakespeare first because Shakespeare never intended his works to be read in a classroom. He intended his works to be heard and to be seen.”

The research findings have been published as The Hollow Crown and released on DVD.

Read: Oxford scholars uncover Shakespeare’s ‘co-author’>

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