Shakespeare Schools Festival is the world's largest youth drama festival

2016 Festival Media Pack and Resources

Key information for journalists and editors:

  • Shakespeare Schools Festival is the world's largest youth drama festival.
  • The 2016 Festival begins on Tuesday 11th October, the final performances will take place on Wednesday 30th November.
  • 313 Festival Nights will take place across that time at 131 theatres across the country, with up to 25 Performance Nights happening simultaneously.
  • Each Festival Night showcases a half hour abridged performance of a different Shakespeare play from three or four local schools with one interval.
  • 30,000 young people are involved in the Festival as either performers, backstage technicians, or student directors
  • 1,259 teachers from a total of 1,132 schools will take part - directing casts of up to 30 students from their school
  • Our 2016 cast features 504 Primary Schools, 527 Secondary Schools and 101 Special Educational Needs Schools
  • Over 1/4 million young people have taken part in Shakespeare Schools Festival since our beginnings 16 years ago

Download our logo

We have a wide range of high quality performance and backstage photos available for use in any media coverage. If you have specific requests not met by the selection below please contact

Download press release

Download images for media

If you have a general marketing or press enquiry please contact

Marketing and Press Contacts

Helen Hasse | Marketing Officer

Phone: 020 7601 1925

About the Festival 

Since launching the Shakespeare Schools Festival in 2000, this year we will have worked with more than 1/4 million young people across the UK. We now work with 30,000 young people annually making us not just the largest youth drama festival in the UK but in the world. We welcome children from all areas, cultures and backgrounds and especially encourage students who don’t usually take part in arts projects. We work by training teachers to direct and stage their own Shakespeare productions, engaging directly with young people through our workshops, and finally by acting as a conduit between school and local theatre. Our unique combination of scripts, resources, training and relationships with theatres offers teachers the tools to enable a whole class, of any age and ability, to experience the life-changing experience of performing the UK's greatest playwright live on a professional stage in front of an audience.

Our Mission

We use the unique power of Shakespeare to transform lives. We are: aspirational, experiential, diverse, uniting, thrilling and transformative.

Our Impact

We know that what SSF does changes lives. Here are just a few highlights from 2015:

80% of SSF teachers say that their students have become more ambitious and 75% of students have become more confident speaking in front of adults.  All learning improves with confidence and ambition, but SSF believes that the Festivalprocess has the power to transform academic attainment.  

One class of children from deprived backgrounds found that during the Festival period the children’s progress back in the classroom accelerated; 100% in speaking and listening; 68% in reading and 59% in writing.

We want all young people to use SSF to give them the confidence to raise their aspirations – and our evaluation tells us that 90% of teachers say their students have become more confident in trying new things.

Most importantly, time and time again SSF helps young people to change their whole attitude to learning.

Press Releases

  • Hamlet found not guilty

    On 27 November, the witty defence team comprising of Shaheed Fatima QC and John Kelsey-Fry QC scored a victory as the audience jury found Hamlet, played…

  • 1/4 million lives changed!

    This year, we have reached over ¼ million people nationwide since SSF started 16 years ago. With us, thousands of young people and their teachers from…

  • SSF in Toulouse

    This month, our Education Manager Stuart Rathe took to the skies to travel to France, where he spoke at the International School of Toulouse at Education…

  • Meera Syal and Shaheed Fatima QC join…

    “O Hamlet, speak no more: Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul”

  • SSF presents The Trial of Hamlet

    Will Hamlet spend his life behind bars? Could a collection of the country’s finest QCs change his fate as we know it?

  • SSF takes Shakespeare to Downing Street

    School pupils from across the UK took Shakespeare’s transformative power to the heart of government in a magical day of celebrating ‘ShakespeareLives’!

  • SSF Volunteer Jo Del Mar receives award…

    We are absolutely thrilled to announce that the Prime Minister recognised the work of our volunteer Jo with a Point of Light award!

  • SSF launches new Play On workshops

    Are you a teacher taking part in SSF 2016? Do you want to further your teaching practice? Are you new to directing Shakespeare? Play On is the CPD workshop…