How We Transformed Lives in 2023

2023 was another big year for Coram Shakespeare Schools Foundation. Through our Theatre Festival, we engaged more than 10,000 young people in school halls and professional theatres; our international Film Festival returned, supporting schools from Glasgow to Guangzhou in producing their very own Shakespeare short films; and What You Will, our competition for 8-25 year olds, took brilliant young creatives from writers’ room to West End stage, with a one-night-only event at the Criterion Theatre.

Here’s how we transformed lives in 2023.

Our Stage

Children in multi-coloured costumes perform on a theatre stage.

“Students collaborating in this way, working alongside each other to [put on] a performance of this nature benefits them in so many ways. I love the Festival and am always blown away with the quality of the performance, particularly by students of this age. The Festival is so valuable to both the curricular and extracurricular life of the students.”
Louis, Teacher, Brighton Girls’, East Sussex

Last year saw yet more young people take to the stage with our national Theatre Festival. From seaside town to inner city, we gave young people a chance to shine, performing abridged Shakespeare scripts to paying audiences. In the almost year-long creative process, they were supported by our expert facilitators, all professional actors, directors and theatre-makers. The outcomes were truly remarkable.

Following the Festival:

  • 100% of teachers said their students had pride in themselves
  • 97% of teachers reported a stronger relationship with their students
  • 81% of teachers said their students’ academic attainment had improved, with progress in subjects beyond just English and drama

  • Our Screen

    “Simon had very low self esteem and his attendance at school was poor. Since his involvement in the Festival he has found a real love of performing, gained new friendships with his teachers and peers and consequently his attendance has improved. His mum reports that he loves going to school now and that the project was invaluable to helping him feel more positive about school.”
    Frances, Teacher, Secondary School, Belfast

    Established in 2020 in response to the Covid-era restrictions, the Film Festival is now a firm fixture in the Coram Shakespeare Schools Foundation calendar. We welcomed young people from dozens of schools across the UK, Spain, Belgium and China onto our screen, showcasing their finished films on a dedicated Coram Shakespeare Schools Film Festival website.

    Tommy, a student at Bensham Manor School in South London summed up the experience: “The Film Festival is amazing. I really like filming because if you make a mistake you can retake. The editing is hours long but it’s all worth it in the end!”

    Our Stories

    Children receive awards on a theatre stage.

    Last year, we also marked 450 years since the publication of Shakespeare’s First Folio with a brand-new competition. What You Will saw young people aged 8-25 share a speech that Shakespeare ‘forgot to write’ for a character in one of his plays. We were inundated with creative entries from young writers, actors, dancers and artists. This launched the start of our Season of Reimagining.

    The competition’s denouement saw our finalists take to the stage at London’s Criterion Theatre, performing their entries to a sell-out audience with support from actors including Ben Willbond and Alfred Enoch.

    We’re gearing up for another big year of transforming lives through the unique power of Shakespeare. Find out how you can get your school involved or support this vital work now.

    Phone: 0207 601 1800

    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