SSF receives global recognition

Shakespeare Schools Foundation is thrilled to be awarded the Grant for Young Artists in the 30th anniversary year of The Praemium Imperiale.

Awarded by the Imperial Family of Japan on behalf of the Japan Arts Association, the global arts prize includes five categories not covered by The Nobel Prize - painting, sculpture, architecture, music, theatre and film. The prizes are awarded for outstanding contributions to the development and promotion of the arts.

SSF uses the unique power of Shakespeare to transform lives. At its core is the world’s largest youth drama Festival. Every year, Shakespeare Schools Festival unites up to 30,000 young people from all backgrounds and abilities in a journey that increases confidence, resilience and teamwork, giving thousands of young people from across the UK the crucial skills they need to succeed in life. The six month process culminates in exhilarating performance nights from primary, secondary and special educational needs schools at up to 136 theatres nationwide, every autumn.

This year marks SSF’s 18th birthday and the charity is celebrating working with 300,000 young people since it was established in 2000.

Last year, SSF reported that, as a result of taking part in the Festival: 99% of teachers agree that their students’ confidence increased, 90% of teachers said that their students were more enthusiastic about school and learning and 93% of students said that they enjoy working as a team more.

The announcement of the award came this morning in the Royal Academy’s new Benjamin West Theatre. Festival schools, St Marylebone School and Greenfields Primary School, performed vignettes from Hamlet and Julius Caesar to an audience including The Japanese Ambassador to the UK and Lord Patten of Barnes, the UK’s International Advisor to the award.

Chief Executive Ruth Brock said:

“On behalf of Shakespeare Schools Foundation I am deeply honoured to accept the Grant for Young Artists Award. Shakespeare is the birthright of every child.  His extraordinary works with their universal themes and beautiful language can, with the right help, belong to everyone. With SSF, children make friends, do better in class and gain the skills they need for life. Further than that, art transcends borders, heals divisions, nurtures empathy and collaboration.  And as the world’s greatest playwright, Shakespeare teaches us all more about what it means to be human.

In our 18th birthday year, this is a wonderful recognition of SSF’s work so far. We are deeply grateful to the Japan Art Association and are strengthened in our determination to ensure we continue to use Shakespeare to transform children’s lives.”

Charity patron Jamila Gavin who attended the morning’s announcement said:

"Whenever children come into contact with Shakespeare, beyond the textbook and into performance, it is a revelation for them. No longer is it some writer of the distant past placed on a pedestal by some elite, but a man whose ideas and perceptions are constantly relevant to everyone and anyone, at any age, from any background and any culture. This is why Shakespeare Schools Foundation is so valuable and so exciting - and nothing is more exciting than seeing young people bringing fresh interpretations to plays which, of all that has ever been written in the English language, demonstrates the universality of the human condition. I am proud to be a patron of a charity that is ensuring that the next generation, no matter their ability, can experience Shakespeare in such a real and relevant way.”

SSF has to raise £1 million each year to continue its work. For more information on how you can support our work, click here.

Photographer: Shu Tomioka © The Sankei Shimbun/Japan Art Association

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