Transforming lives through the unique power of Shakespeare

Coram Shakespeare Schools Foundation work with schools across the UK to give young people the opportunity to build their confidence, skills and knowledge by learning about and performing Shakespeare.

Our award-winning Shakespeare Schools Festival inspires curiosity and empathy, builds aspiration and self-esteem, and enhances literacy and teamwork for thousands of children and young people from diverse backgrounds every year – giving them the confidence and skills to succeed in life.

The world’s largest youth drama festival – for all

Since Coram Shakespeare Schools Foundation was founded in 2000, we have worked with around 300,000 young people from primary, secondary and special schools and Pupil Referral Units to create the world’s largest youth drama festival.

In addition, our workshops led by professional actors and directors, international Film Festival and award-winning curriculum resources reveal the relevance and power of Shakespeare. We are committed to reaching young people living in disadvantaged areas: last year, 40% of schools we worked with were located in the top 30% most deprived areas of the UK.

"I really enjoyed the Shakespeare Schools Festival. It felt like I had just conquered the world. It was the best day of my life!"
Student, Age 9, Old Catton Junior School, Norwich
“One girl in our cast was reluctant to take part as she struggles with basic English skills such as reading and she also finds it hard to remember things. After the performance, she stated that it was the best thing she had ever done. She remembered all of her lines and gave a really strong performance.”
Teacher-Director, Park Lane Primary School, Nuneaton

Global recognition 

The quality and impact of the Coram Shakespeare Schools Festival have been widely recognised by teachers, children and families. Our awards include Education Resource Provider of the Year, The Praemium Imperiale Grant for Young Artists and the Big Give Christmas Challenge Award.

In 2022-23, more than 9,000 young people from over 380 schools will perform abridged Shakespeare plays in 57 professional arts venues around the UK as part of Shakespeare Schools Festival, the world’s largest youth drama festival.

“When I first started at this school, I was worried I wasn’t going to get anywhere in life. I thought people would label me as having gone to a ‘naughty school’. Since then, I’ve come a long way. Taking part in Shakespeare Schools Festival has played a big part in that. When I switch into character, I feel like I can let my real emotions out. It helps me to find out who I am and escape my pain. I feel like I’m proving everybody wrong… I’ve realised that if there’s something you want to do in life then there’s a way to make it work.”

– Lauren, a student at a Pupil Referral Unit who took part in Shakespeare Schools Festival

“Our school has taken part in the festival every year since 2016 and the children absolutely love it – it’s the big school event that gets talked about the most. It’s incredible to think how far some of the students have come. For example, one of our actors has a history of speech and language difficulties. To see him perform, you would never know. He’s grown massively in confidence.”
Hannah Henson
Teacher at Beecroft Garden Primary School, Lewisham