The world's largest youth drama festival

Theatre Festival

Each year thousands of young people from primary, secondary and SEND schools across the country unite in the world’s largest youth Shakespeare festival.

Our programme was developed in 2000 from the BBC’s much-loved classroom resource, Shakespeare: The Animated Tales.

The comprehensive Festival process culminates in exhilarating performance evenings; young people aged 8-18 playing Shakespeare in professional theatres, raising aspirations and unlocking the potential of students and teachers alike.

Registration for our 2024-25 Festival is now open.

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What is it?

Shakespeare Schools Theatre Festival is a cultural education project that supports young people to perform abridged Shakespeare plays on professional theatre stages. From Northern Stage in Newcastle to Gwyn Hall in Neath, we work with some of the country's most outstanding regional venues to give thousands of young people each year a vital cultural experience.

Over approximately eight months, our young people will be supported to prepare their production with workshops led by professional actors and directors, and a range of award-winning resources. Our Shakespeare scripts have been abridged by acclaimed writers including Sir Tom Stoppard and Jamila Gavin, and our dedicated Programme Coordinators are on hand to support teachers through each step of the process.

Join the Festival now and give your students the chance to shine onstage.

Register Now

Read our Theatre Festival FAQs or ask us a question.

How does it work?

Step One

Connect with likeminded Teacher-Directors for an illuminating full-day, in-person CPD session.

Guided by our expert drama facilitators, novice Teacher-Directors will learn all the key skills they need to take on the project, while Festival veterans will develop new skills and practices, taking their teaching to the next level.


 Step Two

Your students will be joined by a Coram Shakespeare Schools Foundation facilitator for a half-day workshop, in your school.

Learn the secrets of theatre staging, uncover the hidden intentions and flourishes in Shakespeare's scripts, and get expert support and advice from a theatre professional, tailor-made to the needs of your performance.


Step Three

The Festival process culminates in a celebratory performance on a local, professional theatre stage.

Your students will deliver their Shakespeare production to a paying audience of family and friends, alongside other local schools, in a spectacular celebration of creativity.


“This has made me more confident in nearly everything. It was the best thing in the world. I want to do it again and again.”
Denisas, age 11, previous Festival participant

When does it take place?

Our Theatre Festival runs across two phases.

Schools participating in the Autumn Phase will prepare for a performance in October-November 2024, while our Spring Phase schools will take to the stage in February-April 2025.

To find out which phase your local professional theatre is part of, get in touch here.

Autumn Spring
Registration November – June January – September
Full Day Teacher CPD at regional hub (ALL school types) June/September October/November
Full Day Inclusive Teacher CPD at regional hub (SEND provision schools only) September/October September/October
Half Day Student workshop & creative consultancy in your school Roughly 1 month before your performance Roughly 1 month before your performance
Your tech/dress rehearsal & performance in professional theatre October – November February – April
Teacher-Director and students prepare and rehearse for their performance in school. Creative quandaries and logistic questions will be supported by one of our regional Festival Coordinators. We'll support you every step of the way!

Feel like you’ve missed these dates? Don’t worry, they're only a guide to help you visualise the Festival! We understand that every school we work with is following a different timeline.

Contact our friendly outreach team to learn more about how the Festival journey looks in your local area.

“The legacy of this project has been long-lasting. Now, the children are all much more willing to read out loud in class, and they are more focused and independent in their learning.”
Haf ap Robert, Headteacher, Ysgol Bro Hyddgen, Powys

Try before you buy! Click the link below to download a selection of our National Curriculum-aligned resources on Macbeth and A Midsummer Night's Dream absolutely free.

Download Resources

How much does it cost?

State Primary, Secondary & SEND Schools Independent Schools
Cost £1,291 +VAT £2,019 +VAT
Cost Per Student £37* per student £57.68* per student
Includes CPD, workshop, resources, dedicated coordinator support, and performance night experience included in fee
The fee you pay covers half of the actual cost. As a charity, we fundraise throughout the year to cover the rest.

Looking for fundraising ideas to help finance the project? Click here.

*For a cast of 35 students

Register Now


Or, take a look at the other exciting programmes that we're running this year:

More than
young people have taken part in the Festival

Our flagship project is the Festival - the world’s largest youth drama festival.

About our impact

Coram SSF is a cultural education charity that exists to instil curiosity and empathy, aspiration and self-esteem, literacy and teamwork - giving young people the confidence to see that all the world is their stage.

Learn more about us