Teacher Ambassadors

What is a Coram SSF Teacher Ambassador?

Coram SSF Teacher Ambassadors have gone above and beyond to champion the Festival and promote our values. We select Ambassadors to represent CSSF and fly the flag for Shakespeare and cultural education across the UK.

Our Teacher Ambassador team has been particularly instrumental in helping us navigate a different educational landscape this year through regular focus groups and surveys. We are very grateful for their time and commitment.

As a thank you for all their work, Teacher Ambassadors access some fantastic rewards such as merchandise, exclusive workshops and CPD training, blogging and networking opportunities. If you'd like to help us transform lives through the power of Shakespeare, get in touch with us by emailing festival@shakespeareschools.org.

What does a Teacher Ambassador do?

  • contributes to the creation of Coram SSF workshops and resources
  • advises on the curriculum and educational landscape in their area
  • acts as a voice of experience in the Festival journey and advises new Teacher-Directors
  • uses their professional networks (Teach Meets, cluster meetings, newsletters, educational conferences etc) to promote CSSF
  • champions CSSF’s process and values throughout the Festival itself, helping to bring our unique process to more schools across the UK

Meet our lovely Teacher Ambassadors below.

Teacher Ambassadors

  • Mark Rimmer

    Teacher Ambassador

    West Jesmond Primary School, Newcastle Upon Tyne

    Background

    I was thrust into the position of Teacher-Director when a colleague suddenly left, and to say I was apprehensive with the project as an NQT would be an understatement! However, from the moment I started on the first production, I haven’t looked back since and the Shakespeare production is now a real highlight of the year for me.

    I am currently working on my fourth production (The Tempest) having had great experiences with Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and definitely feel much more confident with every project.  Whether it’s the initial drama skills and character development, scheming up the lighting and sound cues, or the moment the curtain goes up on the night of the performance, there’s an unmistakable buzz for me when working with the children on the production, and the pride the children get from taking part is fantastic to see.

    Favourite Shakespearean character:

    Sir Toby Belch from Twelfth Night, because he is such a free spirit and brought such animation to many scenes in that play with his cheeky, irreverent sense of humour. I also remember him being brought to life so well by the actor who played him in our production.

    Why should schools take part in Coram SSF?

    •  A great way to get to know many of your new class/year group
    • Has built up my confidence inside the classroom as well as boosting the children’s confidence and maturity
    •  Build up your profile across the whole school
    •  Linking our Topic and English to the production means the children are able to really engage with it a lot more, and feel a great deal of ownership, therefore empathising with their characters and others
    •  Is so much fun both at the CSSF workshops and working in a more informal way with the children outside of lessons
    •  Build up professional links with other professional bodies and teachers at participating schools; we shared rehearsal time with a nearby partner school to give the children more experience of performing in front of an audience.
  • Julie Pirie

    Teacher Ambassador

    Wallace High School, Stirling

    Background

    My name is Julie Pirie and I am Acting Head of English at Wallace High School in Stirling. I have been teaching at Wallace High for over 13 years. Although we do not have a Drama department in our school, I try to give our pupils as much experience of Drama as possible, as I feel it's invaluable. I direct and produce our yearly school show, which is a full scale production and brings so much to our school community, as does the Coram Shakespeare Schools Festival, which we are currently in our tenth year of participating in. I direct our Shakespeare performance and also use it as a platform for our pupils to achieve their Bronze and Silver Arts Award.

    Favourite Shakespeare character?

    My favourite Shakespeare character is probably Bottom from "A Midsummer Night's Dream." I just love his complete lack of self awareness and he is simply hilarious. The scene in which he sings, entirely unaware of his new ass's head, never fails to make me laugh out loud.

    Why should schools take part in Coram SSF?

    Schools MUST get involved in CSSF if the opportunity presents itself. We at Wallace love it, hence our involvement for the last ten years. Our pupils get so much out of the experience: confidence, fun, and friendship. I have seen pupils start helping with make up one year, and taking on lead roles by the end of their education. It's infectious. Our pupils come back year after year and their excitement for the experience and Shakespeare is incredible. We have some wonderful memories from all of our shows and I am very proud of what we have achieved with CSSF over the years.

  • Jill Strath

    Teacher Ambassador

    Priestlands School, Lymington

    Background:

    As head of Drama at Priestlands, in the beautiful New Forest, the most significant decision I have made was the day, 16 years years ago, that I leapt into the exciting, inspiring world of Coram SSF and began the most exhilarating journey together with my cast. More than 500 Priestlands pupils have now shared the stage with over 1400 other phenomenal, young performers and have themselves developed a passion and joy for performing Shakespeare.

    Favourite Shakespearean character:

    My number one character has to be Kate Minola, Taming of The Shrew, as she provoked such fierce, relevant debate and passionate performances from our pupils.

    Why should schools take part in Coram SSF?

    The elation and genuine sense of having achieved something momentous together is incredibly powerful and it’s impact far reaching. In the world of education where the focus is on raising standards, CSSF packs a serious punch!

     

  • Emma Brown

    Teacher Ambassador

    Redmoor Academy, Hinkley

    Why did you want to become a teacher?

    I have always loved working with people, especially young people. I always loved drama (and dance) and love the passion it can bring out in people as well. English and Drama were the subjects I loved at school and my GCSE/A level drama teacher was a massive inspiration to me and I hope that in some way I can inspire others to achieve their dreams.

     

    What's your approach to drama in the classroom?

    In the classroom, drama should incorporate all the skills you need to be a well rounded person. I like the lessons to be fun, engaging and unlock the potential for each student. I love how students can come into a drama lesson and have a release from their everyday life, exploring lots of different topics and skills means there is something for everyone, therefore engaging students from different backgrounds and interests with things they may not otherwise try (like Shakespeare!).

     

    Why should schools take part in Coram SSF? 

    I love the students faces when they have performed on stage! They love the fact that they are in their local theatre, performing where they would normally be watching! This is the moment that they shine and see all the hard work they have put in come to life. The appraisal at the end of the show makes the students buzz, because no matter how big or small their role - they made a show their own! The whole process from Teacher Director workshops to the final show is an amazing experience every time, no matter how many years you have been involved!

     

    What is your favourite Shakespeare play? 

    I love Shakespeare, so it's hard to pick just one play. Taming of the Shrew has to be a big favourite, along with A Comedy of Errors. I love all of the classics, whether that be teaching, reading or watching.

  • Tim Farrer

    Teacher Ambassador

    Shaftesbury School, Dorset

    Why did you want to become a teacher?

    I didn't ever want to be a teacher but took a place on the PGCE with a view that I would set up a TIE company. From my first teaching practice however it all changed. And now there is nothing else I would want to do.

    What's your approach to drama in the classroom?

    I have always been a process drama practitioner, as opposed to performance drama. The ability to explore issues and ideas through this medium I find fascinating

    What do you love about Coram Shakespeare Schools Festival?

    Now that I am a head, this is my chance to engage with young people in the subject I love, being creative and exploring some of the greatest stories ever written in new and innovative way

    What is your favourite Shakespeare play?

    King Lear, every day of the week.

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
96%
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
98%
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
98%
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
86%
of teachers say their students improve academically

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

About our impact
More than
300,000
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