We provide all the resources you need in order to help your school put on a Shakespeare performance in a professional theatre.
The process is simple. We'll guide you every step of the way, so whether you're experienced in drama or have never directed a play before, you'll have support and guidance from the first step to the final curtain.
A brief overview of the six stages of taking part in Shakespeare Schools Festival is below, and if you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact us.
Register your school
Once you're registered, you'll have access to the resources - including scripts, resources, training and framework - you'll need to direct Shakespeare with up to 30 of your students. We will assign you to a local theatre, where your workshop and performance will happen.
"SSF has done more than anybody to jazz up the once-dreary curricular approach to our greatest playwright." - Libby Purves, The Times
Pick your play
We provide 21 abridged Shakespeare plays, including 9 that have been specially abridged for Primary Schools and 10 for Special Schools, so you can choose the script that best suits you and your students.
"The best experience I have had in the five years I have been teaching. Really inspirational." - Teacher, Risca Community Comprehensive, Wales
Get your resources
Your website login will give you access to all the rehearsal resources you need to take your production from the page to the stage. This will also give you access to the SSF community, so you can be supported and inspired by the SSF team and other teachers taking part.
"The whole experience was so positive for pupils, parents and staff in bringing Shakespeare to life and inspiring the whole school" David Dee, All Saints CEVA Primary School, Ipswich
Attend your Teacher Workshop
If you're a first-time director, it might seem daunting, but don't worry! SSF is for all teachers, regardless of their experience. This CPD day will give you a toolkit of exercises and ideas that will make Shakespeare accessible and exciting for your young people.
"The best thing I’ve done in twenty years of teaching" - William Davis, Bushmead Primary School, Luton
Your cast attend a Cast Workshop
We'll match you up with another local school for a half-day student workshop with theatre professionals. This workshop includes work on storytelling, character, voice, ensemble building and staging techniques; your students will leave feeling inspired and excited about their Performance Day.
"We are thrilled that the new skills they have learnt and the confidence they have gained will last for much longer than one night – SSF has helped our young people look to the future" - Sue Jay, Queen Elizabeth II Special School, Horsham
Your cast perform!
The big day! Each school has a half-day technical and dress rehearsal with professional technicians before performing on a professional stage alongside three other local schools in a celebratory finale to the Festival experience.
"The standing ovation made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up" - Student, Erw'r Delyn Special School
Yes! We believe that, with the right support, Primary School students can understand and perform Shakespeare. We have seen them succeed time and time again.
SSF offers a learning opportunity for teachers as well as students, giving you the confidence and skills to take on the challenge of directing a Shakespeare play for young people.
We support Primary Schools with:
- A choice of nine Shakespeare scripts abridged to suit younger children
- Director's notes to complement these scripts
- Guidance on involving more students in other roles - from marketing teams to technical students - so the whole school can be inspired
Absolutely! Our Workshop and Performance Days are fully inclusive and supportive. Students relish the opportunity to interact with other schools, and rise to the challenge of performing in front of family and friends.
SSF gives Special Schools:
- An additional Teacher-Director workshop which explores directorial techniques that will suit the needs of your students, and gives you the opportunity to share best practice with experienced Teacher-Directors
- The freedom to adapt an SSF script to cater for specific students
- 10 scripts that have been adapted by other Special School teachers
- Contribution to academic accreditations including GCSE, BTEC and Arts Award
- An opportunity for students to explore emotions, relationships, motives and consequences
- A unique language-learning experience, helping students to find greater articulacy and communication skills
Definitely! There is no greater challenge than performing Shakespeare in a professional theatre before a paying audience. Students will gain invaluable skills and experiences such as:
- Time management with deadline-focused project work
- Creative ownership
- Interaction with industry professionals
- Becoming a model of behaviour and an aspirational figure to younger participants
As well as performing on a professional stage, students will have opportunies such as:
- Directing - 16-18 year olds can direct their peers and attend Teacher-Director workshops; re-abridge their own half-hours; and use the Festival for the Gold Arts Award.
- Marketing and Social Media
- Technical and stage management
Oui / ja / si / da! SSF offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for you to perform on a professional stage in the United Kingdom.
- Scripts and resources, technical and artistic support, theatre hire and publicity
- The opportunity for schools from different backgrounds and cultures to meet in a professional setting for a celebratory night of theatre
"My students have undergone a nearly magical transformation, revealing incredible acting potential. It was an amazing opportunity for professional development and some students have seriously matured during our trip to Edinburgh, being responsible as never before. "
Ksenia Gusarova, Teacher Director from School No.1514, Moscow
Registration costs £699 for International Groups.
Alternatively, if you would like to buy some of our specially abridged scripts for use in your country please email email@example.com.
Certainly. Shakespeare Schools Festival is a fully-inclusive Festival which involves schools from all corners of Northern Ireland.
The Festival is open to students from P5 all the way up to Lower Sixth, and is the perfect opportunity to let students access Shakespeare in an exciting, professional, community-centred manner. Many Northern Irish Schools take part in the Festival using part of their Extended Schools Funding. In line with the DENI’s Extended Schools Criteria, Shakespeare Schools Festival is the perfect opportunity to:
- Work with schools in your cluster
- Be part of a non-formal education project and lifelong learning opportunity that will benefit students in years to come
- Raise the standard of pupils' achievement through an appropriately targeted activity that links to the curriculum
Of course! SSF is nationwide, and participating students in Scotland range in age from Primary 5 up to Sixth Year. SSF fits perfectly with experiences and outcomes outlined in the Curriculum for Excellence.
It involves an inclusive, practical and exciting experience in a professional venue, whilst promoting improved literacy by accessing the words and characters of Shakespeare through play and performance.
SSF can help create:
- Successful learners – through engaging with and understanding Shakespeare in a fun, practical setting
- Confident individuals – by delivering their work as a team to a paying audience
- Responsible citizens – by helping a local venue gain audience
- Effective contributors – by working collaboratively with their teachers other schools in their community
Yes! The Shakespeare School Festival (SSF) began in Wales in 2000 at the Torch Theatre in Milford Haven, when just eight schools performed over two nights.
Now children perform in either language in theatres across Wales. From Year 4 to Year 13, SSF fully supports the Welsh Government’s curriculum targets:
- Personal and social well-being, self-esteem and self-confidence develop as children perform alongside other local Primary, Secondary and Special schools
- We promote a positive attitude to learning, so Shakespeare becomes something children love through performing at a professional Welsh theatre
- The SSF experience will develop skills in your pupils which are transferable for participation in the Urdd National Eisteddford’s Youth Theatre initiative for 2014