Emily Jordan Folger Children’s Shakespeare Festival

Important Announcement: Due to our upcoming building renovation project, we will not be holding a Spring 2020 Children's Festival onsite at the Folger. Folger Education will be on the road and out in the community in 2020 with new programming. Stay tuned for new opportunities to engage your students with Shakespeare's language! 

About the Festival

You're never too young for Shakespeare. In fact, young students are some of the most enthusiastic Shakespeare scholars.

Every spring, the Emily Jordan Folger Children's Shakespeare Festival brings hundreds of students in grades 3–6 together on our stage to perform Shakespeare for one another.

Students engage with Shakespeare's language and characters by performing scenes and learning from the performances of others as they work together to create an abbreviated version of a single play to life.

The Festival, which is open to schools in the DC, Virginia, and Maryland metropolitan area, features a full Folger experience and memories that will last a lifetime.


Folger Education believes that the best way to engage with Shakespeare’s words is to get students on their feet and exploring the language with their bodies and voices. The Children’s Shakespeare Festival is a time when you and your students become a part of the Folger legacy.


FAQ for Teachers

What do you need to do to prepare?

You and your students will visit the Folger Shakespeare Library for a day of team-building, exploration, and most importantly, diving into Shakespeare’s words. There is no need to have anything prepared before you arrive—just come to the Folger and the magic will happen.


What is the format?

We are calling the overall concept a “play-in-a-day”. Students will be grouped in “acting companies”—meeting students from other schools in their group—and will learn how to work together to make a scene from a Shakespeare play come alive on stage. The end product will be a low-pressure, final sharing of their scenes to create an abbreviated version of a single play. The final performance is NOT intended to be a polished production, but a demonstration of your students’ learning and engagement with Shakespeare’s words.

To get there, every acting company will rotate through several workshops, each exploring a different way to engage with Shakespeare in their particular scene. The workshops will focus on getting students moving to bring the words, characters, and atmosphere of the scene to life.


What is your role that day?

You and your chaperones, along with our workshop leaders, will work with students—your own and from other schools—during the workshops. You will participate with your acting company and encourage students to learn and grow through active participation.


What’s the schedule?

The day generally starts at 9:30am and ends at 1:30pm, with a short lunch break.


More information

For more information, please contact Kate Long at klong@folger.edu or (202) 675-0316.