March 18-22, 25-26, 2013
Applications for this Festival are now closed. Accepted schools will be notified by February 1. Thank you for your interest!
"We love to see the students take Shakespeare and make it their own. We see how Shakespeare isn't this antiquated art form; it's very much a part of today, these students' world."
Make a scene at the Folger!
Our Secondary School Shakespeare Festival for students in grades 7–12 is held each March. It is open to schools in DC, Virginia, and Maryland.
“The Folger Festival helped us to find direction and purpose…”
Students come to the Folger for a full day and perform prepared pieces from Shakespeare for each other.
“Thank you for giving us the opportunity to grow.”
Performances usually run for 25 minutes. Abridged versions of the plays or theme-based montages are welcomed, although all text should be in Shakespeare's original language.
"Eight years ago, I began directing a group at Banneker High School. Once those ninth graders perform a Shakespeare play, they have the keys to the kingdom. They are bursting with justifiable pride, and full of confidence. When they return from the festival, they rule!"
While we regard the festival as a celebration of the Bard and not a competition, festival commentators—drawn from the professional theater and Shakespeare education communities—recognize exceptional performances, student directors, and good spirit amongst the students with selected awards at the end of each day. They are also available to share feedback with the students.
"One of the most amazing things about the festival is how it gives students a chance to 'own' a piece by Shakespeare. Having performed it themselves, students not only enjoy and understand the performance, but they positively revel in it. No amount of reading Shakespeare can bring the stories and characters to life the way performing can. It is nothing short of miraculous. Students now know that if they work at something they can produce a thing of beauty."