Project information

Shakespeare for everyone

SSF unites; this project gives 125 special schools the chance to perform Shakespeare alongside their mainstream peers on professional stages across the UK. Through including young people with all educational needs, SSF’s work ensures confidence, tolerance and inclusivity flourish
for everyone.

January 2017 - December 2017

Charity information

Shakespeare Schools Foundation

Shakespeare Schools Foundation logo
  • Need


    “It’s nice when people don’t know that we’re special needs; it’s an even stage; we’re all the same.” Confidence is vital in giving all young people a sense of well-being and self-worth. Barriers to the arts are more pronounced for young people with special educational needs and opportunities to participate alongside their mainstream peers are limited. There is no other fully inclusive, national arts platform.


    SSF provide a life changing experience. By 2018, over 3,750 young people with disabilities and learning needs will be performing in Shakespeare plays in professional theatres as part of the Shakespeare Schools Festival. By providing a non-competitive, inclusive process in which everyone is equal, young people are given a unique opportunity to be seen – and see themselves – in a new light. It is an opportunity to exceed expectations.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Enable young people from special schools to gain confidence and challenge expectations.


    » School Outreach Officers and Teacher Ambassadors will work with our team to increase the participation of special schools.
    » Special school teachers access inclusive training to build skills in making Shakespeare accessible, exciting and relevant to their students.
    » Special schools partner with schools from other backgrounds at an acting workshop, promoting integration and social cohesion.
    » A full day of technical and dress rehearsals, culminating in performances by special schools alongside mainstream primaries and secondaries.

    Stage the 2017 Shakespeare Schools Festival with 125 special schools taking part.

  • Impact


    The project will improve the life chances of SEN young people, giving them equal access to the theatre and helping them develop a love of theatre and the arts. Perceptions of SEN young people are changed through collaborative working.


    Our biggest challenge is signing up new special schools to the Festival as, before they have participated, they often believe it is too hard and not for them. Dedicated Outreach Officers will work closely with schools new to the project to give them the knowledge and confidence to take part.


    Progress will be detailed via email, letters and social media. All donors will be invited to join us at the Festival in 2017 and receive a full report in January 2018.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £163,385

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £57,595 Artist and Festival staff Professional actors and directors run our performance evenings
      £17,394 Overheads Keeping our office running and our staff happy!
      £15,120 Outreach/Marketing/Evaluation Getting schools to take part, creating expert resources, evaluating our impact
      £29,894 Workshops Teachers and students receive expert acting and directing training
      £43,382 Theatres Professional theatres host our workshop and performances

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Sobell Foundation £20,000 Guaranteed
    Registration fees £73,992 Conditional
    Box office income £34,889 Conditional
    Programme sales £1,780 Conditional
  • Background


    The project runs throughout the UK, on professional theatres stages from Aberdeen to Aberdare, Plymouth to Portsmouth, Carlisle to Clacton.


    2500 special school students who may otherwise never visit a theatre, let alone perform in one. 50 teachers are trained and 5000 family, friends and local community members see their young people stage a unique performance of Shakespeare.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    SSF guides teachers and students through a five stage process, culminating in a performance night in which four schools perform abridged Shakespeare plays; registration, teacher training, rehearsal, cast workshop, performance (see Appendix one for details). Each teacher has a mentor Coordinator who guides them through the process and supports teachers throughout the whole year. Special school teachers have an additional workshop to help them tailor the process to their students’ needs.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Joanne Skapinker

    Project Coordinator - Experienced in inclusive practice, Joanne will lead on creative development and project quality.

    Nicola Miles-Wildin

    Artistic Associate - Artistic Director of TwoCan inclusive theatre company, Nicola will help develop the projects creative content.

Shakespeare Schools Festival: Parayhouse School