Emmeline Constanti Crosby- An SSF volunteer talks about her 2 week placement

At SSF, we are delighted to have the support of volunteers from all walks of life. Anyone from any background can contribute to our life-changing work. We can’t do it alone and are hugely appreciative of the time our volunteers give.

Emmeline has just finished her A-levels at The Tiffin Girls School and is currently on her gap year with aspirations to study English Literature. With results day just around the corner (Good luck Emmeline!), she got in touch with SSF HQ because she was interested in volunteering in the office, gaining administrative experience and generally seeing how things work at an ambitious, cultural education charity.

Her interactions with SSF started in Year 7 at Lady Margaret School, where a passionate English teacher (Drama was not a department at her school due to education cuts) stood up in assembly and spoke about auditions to be involved in the school’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Her older sister suggested she audition. She did, and got the part That night, her Dad brought home a Shakespeare film-  “probably a Kenneth Branagh one”, she recalls, and from that moment she knew that “Shakespeare is what I want to do ... I watched so many more films in the next few months”. The whole process sounded like loads of fun, with Emmeline meeting two of her current best friends during the process “I just have so many good memories with them ... It was just really pleasant.”

Emmeline then went on to do Antony and Cleopatra in Year 8, and was keen to continue her acting journey. Her school didn’t take part in the Festival when she was in Year 9. “It was a shame,” she told me, “as bigger roles were generally given to Year 9 students.”

Emmeline “didn’t know anybody” when she joined her new school. She credits her Festival experience for helping her to integrate with her fellow students:

“The whole team cast thing… apart from in sports, you don’t get that in school - but you’re not trying to win a game”.

She also spoke of how the experience “moulded my first intention” to do English at university.

Emmeline also has fond memories of her Teacher Director.  She reminisced about how he “talked about shaping the words. Always after English lessons I would think about shaping the words … If it wasn’t for him it would not have been as exciting”. Here at SSF, we champion teachers who inspire their pupils and are passionate about the arts

Experiencing Shakespeare in a vital and active way is at the core of what SSF does, and Emmeline agrees that it’s a good idea:

“Having an interaction with the text made me appreciate it a lot more, rather than just sitting in the classroom and reading it - whether you see it on stage or screen, or do it yourself”.

In regards to volunteering at SSF, Emmeline was “thinking back to things I had done” and where she could give her time. SSF was the obvious choice:  “SSF has stayed with me, it honestly has  ... it was so much fun, it was fascinating. Even if I didn’t have a gap year, I would have wanted to volunteer with SSF.”

Happily the experience of volunteering lived up to expectations. She worked on a variety of tasks across the organisation that allowed her to see what goes on behind the scenes. “I genuinely do appreciate it a lot more now - learning about … the scale of the Festival and the relationships the Co-ordinators build up with each school. There was a real sense of community in the office.”

What was her favourite task?

“I loved doing the rehearsals schedules.”

The overall experience?

“I have genuinely loved it … I didn’t expect to be so fascinated by it all and learn so much. I can’t express my appreciation enough” She tells me that she’d definitely volunteer for SSF again.

Get in touch with caspar@shakespeareschools.org to discuss how you can support our work. Come join the SSF Volunteer Community


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.

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