1000 Schools Signed Up to Shakespeare Week

1000 primary schools signed up for first national celebration of Shakespeare

05 September 2013

More than 1000 primary schools have registered to join a new national schools and culture campaign to give every child in Britain a great first encounter with Shakespeare.    More than 70 organisations, including many leading arts and heritage venues, have also joined the campaign to bring Shakespeare’s cultural legacy to life for schools and families across the country. With six months to go before the first Shakespeare Week from 17-23 March 2014, organiser the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust says the initiative could reach three times as many children as expected in its first year.

Shakespeare Week is a new annual calendar event that will unite schools, theatres, galleries, museums, cinemas, libraries, musicians, publishers and historic places in a nationwide celebration of Shakespeare’s cultural and creative influence.  The campaign is organised by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, the independent charity that cares for the world’s greatest Shakespeare heritage sites in Stratford-upon-Avon, and promotes the enjoyment and understanding of Shakespeare’s works, life and times all over the world.  The campaign aims to involvemore than three million children and their families and schools in Shakespeare Week by 2018.

Shakespeare Week was announced last April with strong support from UK arts and heritage organisations and high profile education, culture and political leaders.  Within days, teachers up and down the land were downloading a bank of free classroom resources from the Shakespeare Week website in their thousands, and ordering the campaign’s Passport to Shakespeare that will give every pupil taking part access with their families and schools to Shakespeare-related events and activities organised by local and national arts and heritage venues throughout the UK. 

“We have been bowled over by the response from teachers and from organisations planning to take part in Shakespeare Week,” said Jacqueline Green,Head of Learning and Participation at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.  “This demonstrates the strength of demand for creative new ways to engage a new generation with Shakespeare and his rich creative legacy.  At this rate we could well reach 1,500 schools, and up to 200,000 children and their families in our first year – three times our initial target.  We hope that many more schools and partners will sign up to make the first Shakespeare Week marking the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth in 2014 a truly national celebration.”

At the heart of Shakespeare Week isa growing ‘bank’ of free cross-curricular teaching resources that have been specially created by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and other arts and heritage organisations. They are listed on the site by National Curriculum subjects but they can be linked and used by teachers in and out of the classroom. The majority of resources are currently targeted at 9 – 11 year olds, however many are suitable for younger primary school children or can easily be adapted.   The most popular categories so far include Food and Recipes, English, Drama and Maths; the most frequently downloaded resources include an introduction to Caliban the ‘monster’ from The Tempest, Shakespearean Insults and Shopping in Shakespeare’s Time.

Every child taking part through their school will receive a Passport to Shakespeare – an ongoing attainment record that rewards holders with incentives and discounts to attend productions, exhibitions and events run by participating organisations, thus encouraging an evolving relationship with Shakespeare and cultural heritage.

Shakespeare Week has been awarded public funding by Arts Council England* to support the campaign’s establishment over the next two years.  The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is seeking additional funding and working with organisations across the worlds of education, arts and heritage and politics to make Shakespeare Week an annual fixture in the primary school calendar.

For more information visit www.shakespeareweek.org.uk.




Notes to editors:

· The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust was awarded £150,000 from the ACE Renaissance Strategic Support Fund to support the first two Shakespeare Weeks in 2014 and 2015.


For more information, please contact: Laura Sullivan / Nancy Collantine at Fido PR:

e. nancy.collantine@fidopr.co.uk  or laura.sullivan@fidopr.co.uk   |   t. 0161 2743311


About the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust:

· The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is the independent charity that cares for the world’s greatest Shakespeare heritage sites in Stratford-upon-Avon, and promotes the enjoyment and understanding of Shakespeare’s works, life and times all over the world.

· The charity runs formal and informal educational programmes for people of all ages. 

· It holds the world’s largest Shakespeare-related museum and archives open free to the public, a collection which is designated as being of international importance.

· The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust receives no direct revenue funding; it depends on income generated through the support of visitors, donors, grant funders, volunteers and Friends.

· For further information visit http://www.shakespeare.org.uk