The world's largest youth drama festival

How the Festival works

Simon Bamingbade and Seth Mangundu from St Joseph’s Junior School perform at a fundraising gala in aid of Shakespeare Schools Foundation.

We are proud of our inclusive ethos. Every year we welcome thousands of students and hundreds of teachers from primary, secondary and special schools.

35 students can participate from each school, and we usually work with ages 8-18.

Each school's place in the Festival is subsidised by SSF. To find out more about the cost, click here.

Here's how it works:

  • Welcome to the Festival

    Register your school for the Shakespeare Schools Festival and take your first step to transforming the lives of your students. You will be introduced to your dedicated Festival Coordinator who will guide you through the thrilling months ahead. Before you know it, your young people will be performing on a professional stage!
  • January-April: Pick your play and get your resources

    Once registered, your website login will give you access to the backstage area of our website so you can browse our extensive bank of resources. You can also read our specially abridged scripts, choose your play, share tips in our online Green Room and be supported and inspired by the SSF team and other Teacher-Directors.
  • May-June: Attend your Teacher-Director Workshop

    In this full day of CPD, SSF Artistic Associates provide you with a practical director’s toolkit. Whether you're a total beginner or a drama expert, whatever the age and ability of your pupils, we will equip you to direct a Shakespeare play with your young people in a way that is active, aspirational, fun and inclusive.
  • September-October: Attend your Company Workshop

    We bring together two local schools for a half-day workshop led by theatre professionals. We work with you and your company to develop your performance and to give you more tips and tricks to take back into the rehearsal room. We boost student and Teacher-Director confidence as the excitement builds towards your Performance Day.
  • October-November: Your students perform on a professional stage

    On your Performance Day, SSF staff lead each school in a technical and dress rehearsal and ensure that you feel ready and supported for the evening to come. In a celebratory finale to your Festival journey, you join other local schools as your young people take to the stage and share their hard work and success with your local community.

Interested?

Find out more about how the cost of the Festival is shared between the charity and the school, and more details of everything that is included here.

Ready to sign up? Brilliant! Secure your place now by filling out the registration form.

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