Coram Shakespeare Schools Foundation hosts the world’s largest youth drama festival. In the final week of January, Coram SSF are presenting an exhilarating evening of live theatre, featuring a series of unique abridged Shakespeare productions by local schools at the Rose Theatre in Kingston, Surrey.
Coram Shakespeare Schools Foundation is a cultural education charity that gives young people across the UK the confidence to succeed in life. Every year, the charity works with thousands of pupils from every community, background and school type across the UK. Months of preparation culminate in exhilarating performance evenings in professional theatres nationwide. The charity exists to instil curiosity and empathy, aspiration and self-esteem, literacy and teamwork – giving young people the confidence to see that all the world is their stage.
Philip Pullman, author and Coram SSF patron said, ‘every child in every school ought to have the chance to experience this magical process’. Coram SSF has transformed the lives of over 300,000 young people and their teachers. In 2016, 27,550 young people from 1,093 schools performed abridged Shakespeare plays in 131 theatres across the UK. SSF staged performances at 10 Downing Street, in Westminster Abbey and a West End Gala and at Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday.
Pupils from Danes Hill School will perform Henry V on Wednesday 25 January at the Rose Theatre, Kingston alongside three other local schools. Coram SSF offers an enriching approach with months of rehearsals and workshops which culminate in a special performance for friends, family and members of the local community. The charity hosts workshops for the schools which are led by professional actors and directors, they bring the Shakespeare scripts to life. Martin Leonard visited the Danes Hill pupils in December. They explored the Shakespearean language, the characters in the play, the techniques of performing on a larger stage, ways to make Shakespeare’s language accessible to younger audiences, projection and vocal work.
One of the Danes Hill School pupils commented, ‘it has been a really memorable experience for us all, when I heard about the play, the opportunity to perform in a real theatre was an unmissable experience!’
Maxine Shaw, Head at Danes Hill School said ‘our pupils were overjoyed to embark on their journey with the Coram Shakespeare Schools Foundation. Our budding actors have embraced the opportunity to work with Shakespeare’s play, Henry V. I had the pleasure of watching the cast’s dress rehearsal, it was an utterly outstanding performance.’