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Secondary School Shakespeare Festival 2024

The Folger Secondary School Shakespeare Festival is back on May 22nd and 23rd , even before our building re-opens!

The Folger Secondary School Festival has brought all kinds of middle and high students to the Folger for over 40 years. It’s a treasured memory for generations of people from Washington, D.C. and the wider DMV. Students and teachers come together for a day of learning by doing. After a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Secondary School Shakespeare Festival returns for a two-day mini festival on Wednesday, May 22nd and Thursday, May 23rd.

Why does the Folger have a festival?

  • Kids from all over the DMV come together, meet one another, celebrate themselves and each other . . . and interact with this playwright who has had so much to say to so many for so long
  • An excellent and powerful way for students to connect with Shakespeare is to get that language in their mouths and just do it!
  • Tons of learning happens in the process described above, and that’s what we’re after.
  • It’s big fun for all!
  • In no way is the Folger Secondary School Shakespeare Festival competitive, nor is it a drama festival focused on acting talent.

What happens during the Folger Secondary School Shakespeare Festival?

  • You’re a group from an English class, an afterschool program, a drama class, a school club, or maybe you just started teaching the play or just started teaching, period.
  • Student performers, student musicians, student editor, student directors put together a 15-minute (by the clock) piece of Shakespeare, edited and produced any way you’d like.
  • You can’t modernize Shakespeare’s language . . . the real thing is the real thing . . . but this year, we’re looking for some cool adaptations. More on those later!
  • No full-on costumes, only costume pieces (hats, capes, etc.) and minimal props
  • You perform on the Folger stage, and we’ll be so happy to see you there!

What does a day at the festival look like?

  • Your group of student cast and crew members, dramaturg and/or director arrives at the Folger at 8:00 am and you stay until the day ends at 1:00 pm.
  • You perform your 15 minutes and you’re a fabulous audience for the groups performing for you.
  • As always, the Mistress of Revels will play an important role in the joyous and wonderful community you’ll create.
  • SWAG!

What are the next steps to get involved?

  • We’ve selected the schools for our May 2024 festival, but if you’re interested in participating the next time around, email to learn more about the Folger Secondary Shakespeare Festival.