We’ve hosted student Shakespeare festivals each spring since 1980, drawing hundreds of students from Washington, DC and the surrounding area. Many participants return as teachers or commentators—and even as parents to watch their children perform! Over and over again, we hear that their festival experience is one of the most memorable of their lives.
One of the best ways for students to enjoy Shakespeare—to learn something about the characters, to make the language leap—is to perform the plays. The opportunity to collaborate with fellow students, to discover a play together, and then to perform in front of others and share that experience with students from different schools and backgrounds is of long-term educational value. Whether on stage or in a classroom, festivals provide the natural culmination to performance-based teaching of Shakespeare.
After thirty years hosting student Shakespeare festivals at the Folger, we only have two rules:
First, festivals are a celebration, not a competition. We are all educators and share with you the goal of learning more about Shakespeare and celebrating the spirit of human creativity as we enjoy the students’ accomplishments.
Second, make it fun! We want the students at our festivals to have a good time, a great time, and maybe even the time of their life.
Director of Eduation
Folger Shakespeare Library