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380 young people from across the country performed on the world-famous Royal Shakespeare Theatre stage last week as part of the RSC’s annual schools’ Playmaking Festival.

The Festival ran from 11-15 July 2022 and was the first ‘in person’ celebration of its kind in nearly three years. Divided into two parts: National and Local, young performers from Cornwall, Blackpool, Hull, North Staffordshire, Cumbria, County Durham and Suffolk performed their interpretations of Shakespeare’s much-loved comedy, Much Ado About Nothing on the 12 July. On the 13 and 15 July, 10 schools and 1 college from the local Stratford-upon-Avon area got their chance to perform on stage.

Over the past two terms, the pupils have worked with a team of RSC Director Mentors as well as creatives and practitioners from the RSC’s Theatre Partners to rehearse a segment from Shakespeare’s well-known play. On arrival in Stratford-upon-Avon, the schools came together to work with the same creative team to weave the segments together and create a unique collaborative performance.


All the young people who took part in the festival are part of the RSC’s Associate Schools’ Programme or the RSC’s Stratford Schools’ Partnership. An online Playmaking Site will also celebrate the performance work created by young people across the country throughout 2022. The site has been designed by artist Cathy Mager to celebrate 16 regional Playmaking Festivals that have been taking place over the past few weeks in regional theatres and schools across the country, supported by hundreds of family and community audience members cheering them on.

Final performances took place in front of an audience of family and friends, local school children and other Associate Schools on the RST stage. The schools worked with a specially edited version of the script developed by Marieke Audsley. This abridged version has also been performed by thousands of young people up and down the country as part of Regional Playmaking Festivals in 16 different performance events since March.

Commenting on the Festival, Jacqui O’Hanlon, Director of Learning and National Partnerships at the RSC, said: 


‘We were thrilled to welcome young people back to Stratford-upon-Avon to perform on our stages. Young people have missed out on so much during the pandemic, so this is not only a celebration of the brilliant work they’ve been doing in difficult circumstances but it was a great opportunity to reconnect, make new friends, share ideas and see some great live theatre.’

For more information about RSC Learning and the RSC’s schools work nationwide, visit


For more information contact: Jo Hammond on 07739 330294 or 

Notes to editors:

The RSC is supported using public funding by Arts Council England 

The work of the RSC is supported by the Culture Recovery Fund

The RSC is generously supported by RSC America

The work of the RSC Learning and National Partnerships is generously supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation, The Clore Duffield Foundation, The 29th May 1961 Charitable Trust, GRoW@Annenberg, The Polonsky Foundation, Stratford Town Trust, The Goldsmiths’ Company Charity, Teale Charitable Trust, The Grimmitt Trust and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.


Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) - The Royal Shakespeare Company creates world class theatre, made in Stratford-upon-Avon and shared around the world, performing plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, as well as commissioning an exceptionally wide range of original work from contemporary writers. Our purpose is to ensure that Shakespeare is for everyone, and we do that by unlocking the power of his plays and of live performance, throughout the UK and across the world.  


We believe everybody’s life is enriched by culture and creativity. We have trained generations of the very best theatre makers and we continue to nurture the talent of the future. Our transformative Learning Programmes reach over half a million young people and adults each year, and through our Creative Placemaking and Public Programme we create projects with and for communities who have not historically engaged with our work. We are a leader in creative immersive technologies and digital development. 


We have a proud record of innovation, diversity and excellence on stage and are determined to grasp the opportunity to become an even more inclusive, progressive, relevant and ambitious organisation. 


We are committed to being a teaching and learning theatre – in which we create world class theatre for, with and by audiences and theatre makers of all ages. We provide training for emerging and established theatre makers and arts professionals, for teachers and for young people. We share learning formally and informally. We embed training and research across our company, work and processes. 


We recognise the climate emergency and work hard to embed environmental sustainability into our operations, creative work and business practice, making a commitment to continually reduce our carbon footprint. 


Keep Your RSC supports our mission to create theatre at its best, unlocking Shakespeare and transforming lives. Thousands of generous audience members, trusts and foundations and partners supported Keep Your RSC since 2020, alongside a £19.4 million loan from the Culture Recovery Fund, we are thrilled to be welcoming audiences back. It will take time to recover, to reopen all our theatres, and many years to repay the loan and the support and generosity of our audiences is more important than ever. Please donate at 


Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. 

About RSC Associate Schools Programme 

The Associate Schools Programme is our long-term partnership programme with regional theatres and schools across England. It currently consists of 246 schools and 12 regional theatre partners. It is built around the principle of schools working in local partnerships to develop communities of practice inspired by Shakespeare’s work and based on the techniques RSC actors use in rehearsals. 


The Associate Schools programme is open to any state-maintained primary, secondary and special schools in England, particularly those serving areas of socio-economic disadvantage. Further information can be found at


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