Playing the king

Arts Award - Explore

Arts Award - Explore

Updated 2 July. Following government guidance, some of the outdoor spaces at Hampton Court Palace are now open Wednesday-Sunday. Palace interiors will reopen 17 July. The Magic Garden and Maze remain closed. Please read our visit information

About this session

Key Stage 2 | Subject: History, English (spoken language), Art & Design | Topics: Tudors | Session Type: Classroom-based

Challenge the traditional stereotype of Henry VIII, plotting his life from his early reign through to his final years as king.

Led by an experienced drama specialist, this session encourages children to take part in drama activities to find out about key changes in Henry’s life that shaped him both as a monarch and a man.

This session especially focuses on the changing role of a monarch through drama, enabling children to understand that performance can be a tool for understanding by putting themselves in someone else’s shoes.

Learning objectives

Children will:

  • Discover that there was another side to the iconic image of “Henry the old tyrant”.
  • Learn that performance can be a tool for understanding the past by putting themselves in someone else’s shoes.
  • Understand the causes of the changes in Henry VIII’s personality.

National Curriculum links

This session supports:


  • Understanding the methods of historical enquiry, how evidence is used to make historical claims.
  • Discovering a theme in British history that extends chronological knowledge beyond 1066.


  • Discovering the artistic practice of drama.


Booking information

10.45 and 12.45
90 minutes
Up to 35 pupils
£105 plus admission

Book your school visit

Lesson ideas

Classroom ideas for before and after your visit.

Download lesson ideas (.pdf) Download lesson ideas (.doc)

Session notes for teachers

Key information for your school visit to Hampton Court Palace.

Download session notes for teachers