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Schools Come Together to Perform Shakespeare-Inspired Performances at Stratford Playhouse In Celebration of 10 Years of Shakespeare Week

As the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (SBT) continues its 10th anniversary celebrations of Shakespeare Week this week, school children came together to share inspiring performances inspired by the new Children’s Folio at Stratford Playhouse.

Since its inception 10 years ago, Shakespeare Week has positively impacted millions of children, sparking curiosity and nurturing creativity through specially created and curated educational activities and resources provided by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s learning team.

Children performing a Bollywood style rendition of As You Like It at Stratford Playhouse
Children performing a Bollywood style rendition of As You Like It at Stratford Playhouse

On Wednesday 20 March 2024, Stratford Playhouse played host to school children from the Trust’s Shakespeare Hub regions as they shared short, Shakespeare-inspired performances to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Shakespeare Week - the annual, national celebration of William Shakespeare for primary school children.

Over the past decade, Shakespeare Week has become an influential, annual event across 11,000 schools, including 72 Shakespeare Hub Schools, and with thousands of families across the UK bringing the iconic playwright to life and creating a positive first experience of Shakespeare for all children. Each year, an estimated 1 million children have taken part in the event.

It has also evolved into a vital tool for empowering teachers and educators with the confidence and expertise to teach a subject area that can sometimes be seen as daunting. It is estimated that 22,000 teachers take advantage of the free Shakespeare Week resources and support – and this number is expected to grow.

Shakespeare Week Highlights

At the event on Wednesday, the school children showcased their special flash mob routines, which they performed on Monday 18 March as 13 cultural venues and schools across the United Kingdom launched the 10th anniversary celebrations of Shakespeare Week.

From Shakespeare’s Birthplace and Alnwick Castle to Westminster Abbey and SS Great Britain, primary school children showcased their Shakespearian learning with an exciting rendition of one of Shakespeare’s most iconic works, including Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Henry V.

At each flash mob, the incredible stories were told through an array of art forms including body percussion, classical Indian dancing and physical theatre.

School children participating in the flash mob at Shakespeare’s Birthplace on Monday
School children participating in the flash mob at Shakespeare’s Birthplace on Monday

‘’Following a successful nationwide flash mob on Monday and Joint Open Day on Tuesday, it has been brilliant coming together with our partners, colleagues and our Shakespeare Hub schools to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Shakespeare Week at the Stratford Playhouse.

‘’Seeing the young children with big smiles on their faces performing incredible Shakespeare-inspired performances has been heartwarming. It has been a day packed with excitement, joy and inspiration – thank you to everyone who joined us to celebrate, making this a day to remember.’’

Commented Sally Gray, Shakespeare Week Project Manager at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

One of the performances that took place at the celebratory event on Wednesday, which was hosted by children’s presenter, Ben Cajee and puppeteer Warrick Brownlow-Pike, was inspired by extracts from the new Children’s Folio, which is the first illustrated version of the book that brought Shakespeare’s plays together that is aimed exclusively at children.

Abridged by Dr Anjna Chouhan for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and illustrated by Emily Sutton, the Children’s Follo helps children (7–14-year-olds) to perform the plays more easily in small groups.

Audiences had the chance to see this in action when pupils from Stratford-upon-Avon Primary School performed excerpts from Romeo and Juliet in the premiere production of a script from the Children’s Folio.

‘’This event has been a great way for us all to come together to celebrate something that has positively impacted the lives of millions of school children and thousands of teachers and families nationwide.

‘’In the next decade we hope to reach more children and connect in a deeper way with communities through our incredible learning initiatives and partnerships.’’

Added Andy Reeves, Head of Learning Development at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

At the event, audiences also heard from American playwright and author Ken Ludwig, about the importance of teaching Shakespeare to young children.

Children performing a rendition of Romeo and Juliet
Children performing a rendition of Romeo and Juliet

Shakespeare Week Celebrations Continue

As the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust continues its celebrations, over the next few days audiences can expect a series of free events, including daily online broadcasts exploring Shakespeare’s language with author and poet Michael Rosen, Early Years Storytelling Sessions at Warwickshire Libraries, and a new online exhibition inspired by the women in Shakespeare’s life.

Finally, this weekend, families are invited to Stratford-upon-Avon for a series of free performances, live arts, and hands-on crafting, as celebrations continue.

On Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 March, there will be live performances of a Romeo & Juliet inspired parkour dance in front of Shakespeare’s Birthplace, as well as a drop-in creative journalling workshop with writer and illustrator Marcia Williams.

Children can also unleash their creativity with a fun workshop crafting portraits of Queen Elizabeth I with West Midlands-based artist Tat Vision. The talented team from Events From History will be performing some of Shakespeare’s most famous scenes, some with a female twist, and then inviting the audience to the stage in an interactive sketch.

For more information about the series of free events taking place this week and to access online resources, please visit