Associate Schools Programme

The Associate Schools programme is our long-term partnership programme with schools and regional theatres across England.

The programme is open to primary, secondary and special state-maintained schools in England, with a specific focus on schools serving areas of socio-economic disadvantage. It is built around the principle of schools working in local partnerships to develop communities of practice.

Each local partnership consists of a Lead Associate School, who in turn recruits up to ten Associate Schools. In many cases, these local partnerships include a regional theatre as well as the RSC. See the below list of our Associate Regional Theatres and Lead Associate Schools.

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Lead Associate Schools

Lead Associate Schools will have prior experience of working with the RSC before taking on this role. They take on a leadership role because they have already seen and experienced the impact of Shakespeare's work and RSC approaches on students and teachers in their school.

If you are interested in becoming a Lead Associate School but have had relatively little contact with us, we would first ask that you experience the range of work we offer and test that our approach is right for you. Over time, you will then be able to confidently speak about the impact the work has had on students, teachers and the wider school community. This is a pre-requisite for our Lead Associate Schools. If you have already experienced our work, please email to explore how your school's engagement might develop further.

Lead Associate Schools are appointed for a two-year period with the opportunity to renew and extend their involvement at the end of this time.

Read advice from one of our current Lead Associate School headteachers about getting involved in the Associate Schools' programme: A Headteacher's Advice


Playmaking Festival

Every year we offer young people from our Associate schools an opportunity to perform Shakespeare's work and take part in a Playmaking Festival in Stratford-upon-Avon and in festivals across the country. They perform in schools, community venues and in our Regional Partner Theatres to audience of friends families and local communities. 

Playmaking Festival

Associate school partners

  • Archibald Primary School, Middlesbrough

  • Ark Alexandra Academy, Hastings

  • Bradford College, Bradford

  • Crook Primary School, Durham

  • Dowdales School, Cumbria

  • Eastbury Community School, Barking

  • King Ethelbert School, Kent

  • Mowmacre Hill Primary School, Leicestershire

  • Nelson Mandela Primary School & Anderton Park Primary School, Birmingham

  • Newburgh Primary School, Warwick

  • Northampton Primary Academy Trust

  • Nottingham City Partnership, Nottingham

  • Queenborough Primary School, Towers School & Sixth Form, and Whitfield Aspen School, Kent

  • Ormiston Bushfield Academy, Peterborough

  • Ormiston Sudbury Academy, Suffolk

  • Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Primary School and St Mary's Catholic Academy, Blackpool

  • Sacred Heart Catholic High School, Newcastle upon Tyne

  • Southcoates Primary Academy, Hull

  • Springhead Primary School, North Staffordshire

  • St Mary’s College, Hull

  • St Cuthbert’s Catholic Primary School, Hartlepool

  • St Paul's C of E Primary School, Nuneaton

  • Sydenham Primary School, Leamington Spa

  • Treviglas Academy, Cornwall

  • Welcombe Hills School, Stratford-upon-Avon

  • The Wensum Trust, Norwich

Associate theatre partners

  • The Alhambra Theatre (Bradford Theatres)

  • Embassy Theatre, Skegness

  • The Grand Theatre Blackpool

  • Hall for Cornwall

  • Hull Truck Theatre

  • Intermission Youth

  • The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury

  • The New Vic Theatre

  • Newcastle Theatre Royal

  • Northern Stage

  • Norwich Theatre

  • Silhouette Youth Theatre

  • The Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall Nottingham

  • York Theatre Royal

The Associate Schools programme is supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation, The 29th May 1961 Charitable Trust, The Goldsmiths’ Company Charity, Teale Charitable Trust and The Grimmitt Trust.

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