More Information on The Children's Shakespeare Festivals
For information on how the project is operating in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, take a look at our COVID-19 information page.
Built upon the models and experiences of three extensive projects in 2009, The Children's Shakespeare Festivals offer the opportunity for primary pupils and teachers to become fully immersed in the worlds of Shakespeare’s plays. Part staff development, part classroom experience, part glorious celebratory performance, the festivals have proven highly popular and highly successful. Please get in touch if you are interested in joining the next festival.
Since it's humble beginning as a single festival at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, The Children's Shakespeare Festivals have grown exponentially. We are incredibly proud of the way this work has developed, and has become our flagship project.
Our family of festival schools continues to grow, and with new festivals in development, there has never been a better time to be involved. The project is designed to be inclusive and adaptable, so that it works for learners in a wide range of settings. We regularly work with special educational settings and were always happy to discuss how we might respond to the needs of your particular context.
The success of the project is due, in no small part to our close partnership working with important regional theatres, notably The Lowry, Royal Exchange Theatre, Oldham Coliseum, New Vic and Derby Theatre.
The richness of the experience… fantastic CPD for staff… there is no greater justification for spending pupil premium money!
Keith Powell, Head teacher, St Saviours Catholic Primary, Ellesmere Port
The Children’s Shakespeare Festivals are large-scale inter-school festivals which aim to inspire an excitement in Shakespeare’s plays and the use of educational Drama as a tool for deep and active learning. It is a range of projects which combine cross-curricular, classroom activity with performance by children in professional theatre spaces.
Through our projects we develop commitment to learning, raise outcomes and build confidence in your children; making them the owners of their learning and of the Shakespeare texts. Your teachers, through the powerful and sustained CPD embedded in the project, will develop skill and expertise in the use of Drama - becoming, in time, your in-house expert on this potent teaching approach.
Because the best learning comes from compelling experience; from experiences that are physically, intellectually, linguistically and emotionally rich. Our schemes of work, recently published by Routledge, are just such rich learning opportunities. They are tailored for the primary classroom and readily accessible to the willing teacher, who is ready to explore the creative possibilities of themselves and their pupils.
Our use of performance on professional stages is the final additional motivating element of the project; once our explorations are complete we have the material ready for building exciting and original plays to be seen by their peers, teachers, families and friends.
Our festivals operate over a number of time periods, some starting in September and culminating in March/ April, some starting in January and culminating in June or July. Other projects may have different time allocations. In general though, the projects operate over a period of two terms. This allows time for careful planning by staff, classroom delivery and thorough preparation for performance.
The precise time-line for your project will be dependent upon which Children's Shakespeare Festival you join.
The festival structure builds on our experience and evaluation over 6 years of operation. The project comprises three broad phases:
Introduction - Your staff are introduced to the drama approach and Scheme of Work
Exploration - Your staff (with our support) explore the text through the medium of drama
Performance - your staff and pupils co-devise an original piece of theatre for performance at our festival
For a more detailed breakdown, download our most recent information sheet.
Recruitment opens for new schools during the Autumn term each year though you can register your interest at any time. The popularity of our festivals grows, and many of our schools return year upon year. Each festival has a maximum of 8 places and tend to book early. We therefore highly recommend that you contact us at the earliest opportunity!
The cost of the project is currently £1800 (+VAT) for the first class, and £900 (+VAT) for any additional classes.
To find out more, or If you would like to attend a Festival performance (free of charge of course) to help decide if your school would like to participate, please get in touch with:
Matt Wardle, Creative Producer email firstname.lastname@example.org