"The richness of the experience, the confidence it builds, the impact on writing... this is a wonderful project!"

Keith Powell, head teacher

St Saviour's Catholic Primary School, Ellesmere Port

Image by Andrew Billington Photography

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The Children's Shakespeare Festivals

 For information on how COVID-19 is affecting the Children's Shakespeare Festivals, see our information page. 


The Children's Shakespeare Festivals are large-scale, inter-school performance festivals, which enable pupils to explore Shakespeare through compelling drama in the classroom, before bringing together up to 8 schools to perform on the stage of prestigious professional theatres across the North West and beyond.

In 2018 the project celebrated ten years of unlocking Shakespeare for primary aged children and special educational settings. During this time the project has worked with more than 15,000 children and young people, 500 school staff and over 250 schools across the region.

The project was a finalist in the 'Outstanding Drama Initiative' category at the Music and Drama Education Awards in 2020.


Whilst each festival uses our tried and tested model, each is unique and aims to celebrate the diverse creativity of the children whom the school communities serve, as well as developing teacher confidence in using drama in the classroom. Here you can find out more about the individual Children's Shakespeare Festivals, and if you are interested in participating email us.

*North West Drama is an Artsmark partner and Arts Award Centre. Find out more about the CSF Arts Award and CSF Artsmark Resources.


Want to request more information about the Children's Shakespeare Festivals or register your interest in joining?


Matt Wardle | Creative Producer



Royal Exchange Theatre

Children's Shakespeare Festivals                   


Our original and hugely popular project, developed and delivered through a highly productive formal partnership with The Royal Exchange Theatre. Through our shared aims and objectives, North West Drama and the Creative Learning and the Royal Exchange Theatre continue to offer the opportunity for schools to perform in this stunning 'in the round' theatre. We are ever grateful to Amanda Dalton and Chris Wright for their help to develop the project.


Each performance has a capacity of 8 class groups. Please be aware that this is a highly popular CSF, and as such it may not be possible to accommodate your class. 


Festival Director: Sue Harding


If you'd like your school to be involved click here to get in touch.

Image by Andrew Billington Photography


The Lowry Children's Shakespeare Festivals                 


Now in its eighth year, we are delighted to be continuing our partnership with The Lowry. Here we set out to bring the experience of the CSF to schools in Salford and Manchester, but also further afield (currently including Bolton, Trafford, Ellesmere Port, Birkenhead, and Blackburn) with the final performances on the stage of the wonderful Quays Theatre


Since 2014, we have worked in partnership with the Learning and Engagement team to bring our plans to fruition. We are ever grateful to Lynsey O'Sullivan, Emily Harwood, Iain Black, Steve Cowton and Gillian Sherwood for their support and enthusiasm.


Each performance has limited capacity, and may require early booking.


Festival Director: Matt Wardle (The Lowry CSFs)

                            Sue Harding (Wythenshawe Catholic Cluster CSF) 

If you'd like your school to be involved click here to get in touch.

Image by Andrew Billington Photography


Stockport Children's Shakespeare Festival                   


We are thrilled to offer The Children’s Shakespeare Festival to schools in Stockport. This vibrant project will work specifically with schools in the Stockport LEA, and bring their performers to the Quays Theatre at The Lowry. 


Through our partnership with The Lowry, we are delighted to continue to develop this highly successful festival, Our capacity has recently doubled, due to very high demand. As with all of our festivals, early booking is usually required.


Festival Director: Peter Kennedy     


If you'd like your school to be involved click here to get in touch. 


Image by Andrew Billington Photography


Oldham and Rochdale

Children's Shakespeare Festival                   


Through our unique and close collaboration with Oldham Coliseum Theatre Learning and Engagement Department, we continue to offer our CSF model to schools across Oldham and Rochdale. 


Due to the commitment and hard work of the learning and engagement team at Oldham Coliseum (led by Carly Henderson), this satellite festival means we are able to engage an increasing number of schools with the bard, utilising their local producing theatre. We are indebted to our friend Richard Hall (former head of learning) for his commitment to establishing the work in its early years, and to Chelsea Morgan for her support during the development of this highly successful festival.


Festival Director: Peter Kennedy  

If you'd like your school to be involved click here to get in touch.


Image by Andrew Billington Photography


New Vic Children's Shakespeare Festival                    


Our Festival based at the New Vic Theatre is now in its fifth year and we are delighted to be providing high quality drama experiences for schools in Staffordshire and Cheshire East.


As we continue to expand the festival group to include new local schools, so we continue to develop our relationship with the fantastic New Vic. The project is possible due to the commitment and support of  Lynne Parry, Jill Rezanno and the team at the New Vic.


Festival Director: Sue Harding     


If you'd like your school to be involved click here to get in touch.

Image by Andrew Billington Photography


Derby Children's Shakespeare Festival              


We're delighted to introduce our newest Children's Shakespeare Festival for schools in Derby, through a new partnership with Derby Theatre. 

We are very grateful to Caroline Barth, Alix Manning-Jones, Jenny Langlands and the team at Derby Theatre for their support in establishing this exciting new project.

Festival Director: Sue Harding 

If you'd like your school to be involved click here to get in touch.

Contact us:


Creative Producer:                                                                                                                                                      Join us on social media:

Matt Wardle                          matt@northwestdramaservices.co.uk                                                             


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