News & Views

Three big ideas to keep Shakespeare in UK schools

by Contagious Team

At last week's Now / Next / Why London, we set a workshop challenge for our delegates with social enterprise Shakespeare Schools Festival. The organisation is the UK's largest youth drama festival and works with over 1,000 schools and 150 theatres every year. It provides teachers with the tools and resources to help students perform their own Shakespeare production in front of a paying audience. 

With the day's theme focus on 'Obsessing Experience', the audience was asked to apply the learnings and principles from the day to SSF's challenge: how to improve the experience for teachers in order to improve retention and social impact.

Bonnie Austin, programme director at SSF, said of the winners and the day itself: 'It was wonderful to see a room of brilliant minds focus on working through ideas and solutions while applying some of the great learning from the day.' 

The top ideas were chosen on the basis of originality, feasibility and quality of explanation. The following delegates get the glory of appearing on these hallowed pages alongside the knowledge that your brain cells are helping a fantastic cause to make an even bigger impact. 

1. Make the teachers cry(!)

To ensure that teachers get the recognition they deserve, this idea featured a tool that would help participating pupils send a personal 'thanks' to their teachers after the performance of their production, reminding them of the amazing impact they've had and encouraging them to do the same again next year.

Drew Spencer, Despark, and Alan Haywood, Open Reply, take a bow!

2. Multi-year resource rollout

This idea meant that a school would receive different types of tools and resources over the course of a three year cycle. For example, year one would focus more on acting skills, year two production management and year three's tool would show students how to be mentors.

Catherine Cooke, Andy Cooper, Zara Intin and Sophie Nicholas from Fleishman Hillard, take a bow!

3. Post Festival Celebration Pack

This digital package of pictures, video and voxpops would be distributed, where possible, to students, teachers and, crucially, parents with the aim of reminding people of the festival's impact and driving future signups.

Gillian Davies and Anna Karwata (IHG Hotels), Alice Brandvik, Andrew Tomkins, Colin Blackwood, Shaun White (Electronic Arts UK) and Stefan Becker (Buzzin Monkey), all please take a bow!

The entire session saw plenty more ideas being generated, all of which are helping SSF explore new opportunities to increase its impact. Thanks to everyone for participating.

Join Contagious at Now / Next / Why 2015. Limited tickets available; book now:


CHICAGO / 19 MAY  (in partnership with SOCIALDEVIANT)

SAN FRANCISCO / 9 JUNE (in partnership with BSSP)

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