Updated 5th October 2020

What is One Night of Shakespeare?

On 20 November 2020, hundreds of casts from every corner of the UK will take part, together, in one unique night of theatre in their schools. We’ll show the world how our children and our schools are the best hope for the future.

With the UK’s theatres closed, Coram SSF will bring theatre to your school and keep creativity and drama on the agenda in the autumn.

How will it work?

In person, on the phone, online, Coram SSF and our Creative Associates will give the ideas and support you need to inspire your pupils and stage this unique theatrical event at your school. We’ve also added some new elements to the process to support your journey.

There will be four stages to One Night of Shakespeare:

Digital CPD Sessions
4 twilight sessions streamed online and available Backstage until November
Covers everything you need to prep your production before the summer
Additional sessions for special school teacher-directors.

Further Digital CPD and Support NEW
More digital CPD sessions covering everything you need to stage and design your show.
Videos and resources to support your rehearsal process.
A buddy system to link schools across the UK

In-school Workshop NEW
Led by an SSF creative practitioner
Includes a 2-hour workshop with the Company
AND a 90min CPD session for the teacher-director, production team or whole department

One Night of Shakespeare (20th November 2020)
Schools across the UK participate in the in a truly unique evening of live theatre
Hosted virtually by Coram SSF patron with schools linked across the country via video
We will help you plan where and how to stage it, and send you a pack of goodies to decorate your venue
Audience watches the production in your school for free

What will the result be?
During lockdown we’ve been hearing from schools about pupils who are finding new ways to be creative. One Night of Shakespeare will give students the opportunity to showcase their achievements, reinvigorate their communication skills and work as a team. 

We’ll work with you every step of the way to support children and communities to reconnect and rediscover how Shakespeare and performance can enrich and inspire.

Festival 2020 is a programme of hope and renewal. Together, we’ll show that out of the darkest times, we can demonstrate the best of ourselves. Performing Shakespeare’s plays will continue to give children the skills and creativity they need for life, teachers the tools to accelerate learning and families the chance to celebrate what is possible.

Why haven't you cancelled/postponed the Festival?
Every year the Festival project transforms the lives of thousands of young people, building their confidence, engaging them in school and raising their aspirations of what they can achieve. We didn't want this to be the year, of all years, when pupils missed out, and we have worked hard on a plan to stage the Festival at a time when theatres and most arts organisations are closed. We want the 2020 Festival to be a programme of hope and renewal, showing that out of the darkest times our schools and young people can demonstrate hope, resilience and creativity.

How is One Night of Shakespeare funded?

Where does the registration fee go?

What if theatres have re-opened by November?
More and more of our partner theatres are now planning their re-opening in 2021, and no theatre knows if they will be able to open in the autumn. It takes months of planning to organise the Festival across all our theatres. With this continued uncertainty, a Festival model that brings theatre into schools is the only way to give certainty to participating teachers and pupils.

What if social distancing is still in place in November?
Whilst we're all hoping that current restrictions won't be in place in November, we are confident that we can follow professional shows in finding innovative ways of staging these stories. We will look at this in our digital CPD sessions in the autumn and are here to support you with the individual staging at your school.

Are you able to offer refunds?
We appreciate your support at this exceptional time for the charity and also understand that schools are facing an unprecedented situation.

Each year CSSF raises nearly half the money needed for you to take part in the Festival. We’ve worked hard to ensure a Festival can go ahead so that your young people can have the chance to catch up on the skills they need in this unprecedented year, when there are very few school drama and arts programmes available. We are therefore not in a position to offer refunds at this stage.

Please talk to our team about how we can support you to take part in One Night of Shakespeare or one of our workshops. In common with most arts organisations, we are working on a skeleton team as we weather this unprecedented period, so thank you for your patience.

We want to be here this year, next year and for many years to come - and we want to work with you to find a way for you to join us.

What training and support is available for me as a Teacher-Director?
More support is available to teachers this year than ever before, including 12+ hours of Digital CPD, a bespoke workshop in school, a bank of resources, a UK-wide network of teacher-directors, and the dedicated support of a Festival Coordinator. This year we are also organising a network/buddy system for all schools, and especially support for brand new teacher-directors.

Tell me more about the digital CPD sessions.
There will be two sets of twilight CPD sessions. The first will kick off on 17th June, with four weekly sessions covering everything you need to prepare as a director and how to get started with your pupils. This will include starting points, story, setting, character and language. The second set of sessions in September will focus more on staging and design, bringing the magic of theatre into your school.

Who can come to the digital CPD?
Attendance at the live event is limited to one teacher per cast. The sessions will also be recorded and available on your BackStage account until November, so can be shared with other teachers in your team.

Can I bring a Student Director to the digital CPD?
Absolutely. As usual, they must be aged 15 or over and there is a limit of one student per cast per session. Please tell us if you intend to bring a Student Director.

Tell me more about the in-school workshop.
This two-part session at your school is led by one of our creative practitioners. It will include a two-hour workshop with the Company AND a 90 minute twilight CPD session for the Teacher-Director, production team or even your whole department. We can focus on whatever you most want support with, from how to create a theatrical spectacle in your school to a text masterclass.

I have two casts - do I get two workshops in school?
Yes! We will discuss how you would like to run this. You might like two separate sessions with your two companies, or one session with both working together and some time separately (more like our traditional Company Workshop).

Will SSF staff be hosting the performance evening?
With all schools performing at once, we sadly can't manage to be everywhere. This is partly why we'll be visiting all schools to deliver an in-school workshop for the company and for teachers. Our team will be in as many schools as possible on the night itself, and the whole event will be hosted digitally by Coram SSF patrons.

Do we still get an appraisal?
Even though we can't be in all schools on the big night, we would love to watch and appraise your performance afterwards. If you are able to film and share it with us, we will send you a personalised appraisal. If that's not possible, we will send you a template to create your own.

Do the usual Festival rules still apply?
We still have some hard and fast rules (e.g. 35 pupils at the workshop), but in other cases the reason behind the rule no longer applies (e.g. no set). This is the year to crack open the glitter!

Can I change plays?
Yes! Just let us know asap so we send you the right resources.

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
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
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
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
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
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