A YOUNG thespian from Brierley Hill has been chosen to perform a famous Shakespeare monologue at 11 Downing Street.

Jacob Naylor, aged 11, of Peters Hill Primary School, is one of five students from across the country to be invited to take part in the reception, organised by the Shakespeare School Festival next Tuesday (February 11).

The festival encourages youngsters to study and perform abridged versions of the works of the Bard of Avon and gives them the chance to tread the boards at a local theatre.

When Jacob was portraying Claudius in a production of Hamlet at the Artrix Theatre, Bromsgrove, last year, he was asked by festival organisers if he would like to take part in a fundraising event in Knightsbridge.

His performance went down so well he was asked if he would like to perform at the event at Downing Street.

The head boy jumped at the chance and has been practising the "to be or not to be" speech from Hamlet to ensure he is word perfect for the big day.

Deputy headteacher Tracy Curnin, said she would be accompanying Jacob on the trip to London but was unsure who would be in the audience: "We've had our security briefing through and it sounds very important, I think there will be some high profile government ministers there and influential people from the world of arts and entertainment. Jacob is very excited, it is the opportunity of a lifetime."

She said over the two years the school had taken part in the festival, the pupils who are involved have developed a keen interest in Shakespeare's work: "All of the children that take part are fantastic, they have a real understanding of Shakespeare and who he was.

"I think Jacob was chosen because he performs with real conviction."