ALL the world’s a stage — and young thespians trod the boards to encourage more people to watch, read and perform the Bard’s work.

This year marks what would have been Shakespeare’s 450th birthday and a new national celebration has been organised by The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to encourage more people to explore and develop a love of the great plays.

Girls from Bolton School were given a Shakespeare passport to encourage them to become Shakespearean travellers.

They set off on a quest to invent new words, just as Shakespeare did, learn lines, see a play, design postcards and a host of other activities — including following in his famous footsteps by visiting Stratford–upon–Avon.

Those who successfully completed the challenges received a personal letter of congratulations from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust from “William Shakespeare” himself.

Pupils dipped into Shakespeare stories, created storyboards, made masks and invitations for the Capulet Ball, designed Elizabethan and modern costumes for Titania.

Year five pupil Holly Stevenson went a step further and baked a Hard Tack biscuits, eaten in Tudor times aboard ships.

The girls also learned about his three different genres — comedies, tragedies and histories and acted out scenes from Much Ado About Nothing, Julius Caesar and Macbeth and as an added treat were the first to watch the school’s joint production of Romeo and Juliet.

Year Six teacher Mary Worsley, who organised the events, said: “Shakespeare is as relevant today as he was in Elizabethan times.

“His work is timeless because it simply deals with human beings and their experiences.

“Wonderful storytelling is at the heart of his work and I want our pupils to have the privilege of learning about that from an early age.

“Some people may think that Shakespeare is too sophisticated for seven- to 11-year-olds. On the contrary, I believe it is essential for children to be introduced to his works, for them to enjoy them and that the stigma and fear factor associated with studying Shakespeare is removed.”

Ellie Bridge, aged 11, said: “I really enjoyed dressing up in Shakespearean clothes as I love acting as other people.

“I found acting out Julius Caesar really fun. I think Shakespeare is amazing. The pieces that he wrote are hard to understand at first but when you get to know them they become so interesting.”

Stephanie Holland, aged 10, said: “My favourite part was going to the library and reading all of his stories. I also read about him and his life.

“My favourite story was Hamlet.”