Children across the East of England stage Shakespeare in lockdown

Children across the East of England stage Shakespeare in lockdown

Thousands of children from over two hundred schools nationwide will be performing the works of Shakespeare this coming week in a unique initiative, One Night of Shakespeare, to be broadcast online at 7pm on Friday 20 November. Over 20 schools from across the East of England are taking part, from St Albans to Southend-on-Sea.

In a year of unprecedented disruption due to the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns, Coram Shakespeare Schools Foundation (CSSF) has adapted its annual festival. Children and teachers have worked remotely and under Covid-secure conditions to rehearse performances that demonstrate their creativity and show that theatre lives, despite the closure of arts venues.

The annual Festival is the flagship project of award-winning charity CSSF. In a usual year, after months of preparation, children perform on professional stages in arts venues up and down the country.

Throughout the pandemic, the charity has worked to innovate and adapt its programme so that children can continue to gain the crucial life skills that the arts and performance give. This has included creative online CPD sessions with teachers, sending specialist theatre practitioners into schools to run workshops, and providing a wealth of resources to enable teachers to guide their students through the Festival journey and become directors in their own right.

Schools have responded with creativity and ingenuity, filming their performances, rehearsing in bubbles and online and finding innovative ways to persevere, providing their school and wider local community with moments of joy and celebration in what continues to be an otherwise dark time.

Primary, secondary and special schools from right across the UK are participating and patrons of the charity including Harriet Walter, Hugh Dennis, Paterson Joseph, Alfred Enoch and John Heffernan are helping to celebrate the achievements of young people and their teachers.

Ruth Brock, CSSF Managing Director, says: “This is a unique Festival in a unique year. Thousands of children from communities from every corner of the UK will lead the way and show us that out of the hardest times, children can show incredible resilience and creativity. Using our greatest writer, CSSF is giving children the skills and creativity they need for life and teachers the tools to accelerate learning. The arts prepare children for their future and help build a better society; this year, next year and far into the future.”

One Night of Shakespeare is supported by a grant CSSF received as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future.

Watch the live broadcast at 7pm on 20 November at

Interested in what they do? Want to get involved? visit the CSSF website for more information

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