Shakespeare Schools Festival (SSF) takes the power of the Bard to transform lives. Since its inception sixteen years ago, the organisation has reached over 250,000 people nationwide.
Through SSF, thousands of young people and their teachers from primary, secondary and special schools from across the UK have developed the confidence to take on whatever life holds for them.
One 14 year old pupil who has been learning in a behaviour unit for the last three years describes his experience with SSF:
“At school, I found it difficult to work with other people…I was scared and worried because I wanted to get on with other people, but I couldn’t. I found out about Shakespeare Schools Festival and I felt like I wanted to be part of it. I have made a lot of friends around school now and I am a lot calmer and happier. When I was on stage I felt like the atmosphere was calm and peaceful in my brain. I have learnt that there is nothing to be ashamed of. I am proud of what I achieved.”
To mark the Bard’s 400th anniversary, SSF last year took over 30,000 young people to 131 stages nationwide. Marking the playwright’s legacy, the organisation delivered over 320 performances in local theatres nationwide and in special celebrations in the West End, for Her Majesty the Queen and for the Prime Minister in Downing Street’s renowned rose garden.
SSF’s Chief Executive Ruth Brock said: “We’ve wanted to show that the true test of 2016 had to be whether the joy of Shakespeare is brought to everyone. Actively engaging with these plays – as they were intended, said not read – is the most astounding route to confidence that there is.
“I don’t think that should belong to the few, I think it’s the birthright of every child. So, in this 400th anniversary year, we’re looking forward; working to ensure these extraordinary plays are used to transform lives this year, next year and for hundreds of years to come.”
The Festival is dependent on the support of its doners, who help make up the £1 million-plus to make it happen every year. Help change more lives by donating here, or sign up for this year’s festival.