Press & media

Shakespeare Schools Foundation is a cultural education charity that gives young people across the UK the confidence to succeed in life. For the 2017 Festival press release please see the download section at the end of this page.

Key information about SSF

  • SSF has worked with 280,000 young people since the charity was founded in 2000.
  • We work with pupils from every community, background and school type nationwide - from Aberdeen to Aberdare, Carlisle to Clacton. We engage diverse groups, including those with special educational needs and from minority ethnic backgrounds, and are passionate about reaching those living in areas of deprivation.
  • We use Shakespeare as a catalyst to uncover the most pressing themes of today in a neutral, creative forum. Students have the opportunity to explore topics like racism, gender equality and mental health. As a result, confidence increases and friendships flourish.
  • The annual Shakespeare Schools Festival is our flagship project and the world's largest youth drama project. Months of preparation culminate in exhilarating performance evenings in professional theatres nationwide; a life-changing moment to remember forever.
  • Alongside the Festival, we offer curriculum resources and workshops for teachers and students from all school types.
  • Every year, we help thousands of young people become better at teamwork, more confident and more ambitious. 97% of teachers say their students work better together as a team and that their students' confidence increases. 94% of students become more ambitious.
  • With us, young people change their attitude to learning: 94% of students say they are more likely to seek new opportunities and 95% of teachers say their students are more enthusiastic about learning.
  • SSF works to promote educational attainment - especially in literacy, literature and the performing arts. 86% of teachers see an improvement in their students' behaviour and 81% report that academic attainment improves.
  • To mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, we performed for Her Majesty the Queen at her 90th birthday celebration, for the Prime Minister in the gardens of No. 10, filled a West End theatre for our anniversary Gala and closed the year with our Trial of Hamlet fundraiser. Tried by real QCs in front of Lady Justice Hallett, evidence from Gertrude (Meera Syal), Claudius (Tom Conti) and Player King (Lee Mack) was insufficient to find Hamlet (John Heffernan) guilty for the murder of Polonius. SSF performers were delighted to share the stage with this extraordinary cast.

Key information about the 2017 Festival

  • The 2017 Festival runs from 16th October to 8th December.
  • Across the autumn, 292 Festival nights will take place at 136 theatres across the country.
  • Each Festival night showcases a half hour abridged performance of a different Shakespeare play from three or four local schools with one interval.
  • Up to 30,000 young people from over 1,000 primary, secondary and special schools are involved in the Festival as either performers, backstage technicians, or student directors.
  • SSF brings over 65,000 people from the local community to the theatre. Of these, 43% say they had never been to their local theatre before.

“We know that actively engaging with these plays - as they were intended, said not read - is the most astounding route to confidence that there is." Ruth Brock, SSF CEO

If you have a marketing or press enquiry please contact Helen Hasse, Marketing Officer, on [email protected] or 020 7601 1925. We have a wide range of high quality performance and backstage photos available for use in any media coverage. If you have specific requests not met by the selection below please get in touch.

97%
of teachers told us they developed strong leadership skills

We train and support teachers from primary, secondary and special schools to work actively and ambitiously with Shakespeare.

About our impact
95%
of special school teachers saw an increase in their students' resilience

We believe Shakespeare is for everyone. Every year children from very different backgrounds come together to perform on the same stage.

About our impact
79%
of special school teachers saw an increase in their students' confidence

We believe Shakespeare is for everyone. Every year children from very different backgrounds come together to perform on the same stage.

About our impact
87%
of teachers would strongly recommend the Festival to a colleague

We train and support teachers from primary, secondary and special schools to work actively and ambitiously with Shakespeare.

About our impact
As a result of the Festival process,
97%
of teachers are confident working with Shakespeare

We train and support teachers from primary, secondary and special schools to work actively and ambitiously with Shakespeare.

About our impact
As a result of taking part in the Festival,
97%
of teachers think they will stay in teaching for longer than 5 years

Every year we help thousands of young people from across the UK become better at teamwork, more confident and more ambitious.

About our impact
98%
of teachers developed a strong relationship with their students through the Festival process

Every year we help thousands of young people from across the UK become better at teamwork, more confident and more ambitious.

About our impact
97%
of teachers told us their students were better able to express themselves

With us, young people change their attitude to learning; we instil curiosity, empathy and pride.

About our impact
86%
of teachers reported that their students' academic attainment improved

We work to promote educational attainment - especially in literacy, literature and the performing arts.

About our impact
93%
of teachers told us the Festival improved their teaching

We work to promote educational attainment - especially in literacy, literature and the performing arts.

About our impact
86%
of teachers said that their students' behaviour improved as a result of the Festival

We work to promote educational attainment - especially in literacy, literature and the performing arts.

About our impact
95%
of teachers stated that students were more enthusiastic about learning

We work to promote educational attainment - especially in literacy, literature and the performing arts.

About our impact
86%
of teachers reported that attainment in English improved

We work to promote educational attainment - especially in literacy, literature and the performing arts.

About our impact
10%
of participants have English as an additional language

We have used the power of Shakespeare to improve the life chances of thousands of the most disadvantaged young people in the UK and with children with special educational needs.

About our impact
11%
of participants have a statement of educational needs

We have used the power of Shakespeare to improve the life chances of thousands of the most disadvantaged young people in the UK and with children with special educational needs.

About our impact
12%
of participants are eligible for free school meals

We have used the power of Shakespeare to improve the life chances of thousands of the most disadvantaged young people in the UK and with children with special educational needs.

About our impact
27%
of participants are minority ethnic

We have used the power of Shakespeare to improve the life chances of thousands of the most disadvantaged young people in the UK and with children with special educational needs.

About our impact
More than
1,000
schools participate in the Festival

We work nationwide - from Aberdeen to Aberdare, Carlisle to Clacton.

About our impact
Our young people will perform in front of
65,000
people nationwide

At our core is our Festival - the world’s largest youth drama festival.

About our impact
In 2018 we will work with up to
30,000
young people

At our core is our Festival - the world’s largest youth drama festival.

About our impact
96%
of teachers said that their students were resilient as a result of the Festival

With us, young people change their attitude to learning; we instill curiosity, empathy and pride.

About our impact
95%
of teachers reported that their students were better able to empathise with each other

With us, young people change their attitude to learning; we instill curiosity, empathy and pride.

About our impact
99%
of teachers said that their students increased in confidence

Every year we help thousands of young people from across the UK become better at teamwork, more confident and more ambitious.

About our impact
97%
of teachers agreed that their students were better at working together as a team

Every year we help thousands of young people from across the UK become better at teamwork, more confident and more ambitious.

About our impact
94%
of students are more likely to seek out new opportunities

With us, young people change their attitude to learning; we instill curiosity, empathy and pride.

About our impact
More than
250,000
young people have taken part in the Festival

At our core is our Festival - the world’s largest youth drama festival.

About our impact

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