A COTTINGLEY school is partnering with the Royal Shakespeare Company to help transform the way the Bard's works are studied in the area.

Samuel Lister Academy was chosen by The Alhambra theatre and the RSC to play a key role in the company's national education programme, the Learning and Performance Network.

During the three-year partnership, pupils and staff will be trained using the same techniques RSC actors use and get the chance to take part in a Shakespeare festival at the Alhambra Theatre - all in an attempt to make Shakespeare's plays more accessible to young people.

As the ‘hub’ school for the region, Samuel Lister Academy will also recruit up to seven other local ‘cluster’ schools to develop the same skills and techniques.

The partnership will culminate in a showcase performance in Stratford-upon-Avon - the birthplace of Shakespeare - in 2017 on one of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s main stages.

Work will start in the new school term in September and will include specific activities to mark the 400th anniversary of the playwright's death.

Principal of the Samuel Lister Academy Bec Osborne said: "We are absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to develop a long term working partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company. I am convinced that this partnership will be of enormous benefit to the students and staff at the Academy, and will bring an awareness and appreciation of Shakespeare, theatre and performance to our young people.

"Our core team of staff, who will be driving this partnership forward, are both excited and highly committed to this project. The Academy is also looking forward to being to work and collaborate with other schools in Bradford to enhance their experience of Shakespeare."

Jacqui O’Hanlon, the director of education at the RSC, said: "We are thrilled that Samuel Lister Academy will be joining the LPN and are really looking forward to starting work with them at the start of the new academic year.

"Unlike a lot of initiatives, we don’t just work with a school on a one-off basis, rather we develop an enduring relationship with a school that means both pupils and teachers can benefit from a huge range of different experiences from professional development courses for teachers to creative lesson plans, live theatre performances, events, workshops and performance opportunities.

"Most young people first encounter Shakespeare when they are at school and our mission is to make that introduction as exciting and relevant as it possibly can be."

The LPN is currently made up of more than 400 schools.