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The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) today announces the launch of the annual Playmaking Festival’s brand-new online platform. Over 1,500 young people from over 80 RSC Associate Schools have submitted 21 filmed performances, each inspired by one of Shakespeare’s plays. For the first time in the history of the festival, submissions have also included performances by adults from the RSC’s Shakespeare Nation Community programme, creating an intergenerational Playmaking Festival. These performances are now available on the newly launched online space:

The Playmaking Festival’s new online space has been developed in partnership with fishinabottle. Audiences can navigate the site by clicking on one of three zones, which will then take them through to an interactive map. Within each zone, audiences can access performance pieces created by different groups, according to their region.

The three zones have each been inspired by a line of Shakespearean text:

“Something wicked this way comes”

“More strange than true”

“And now, let’s go hand in hand”

Schools, theatre partners and Shakespeare Nation groups have all been provided with bespoke toolkits to support their performances. These include original music pieces composed by Tarek Merchant plus music and movement sessions with Tarek and Tanushka Marah. Schools have also had the opportunity to rehearse with Associate Learning Practitioner Director-Mentors: Marieke Audsley, Sam Colborne, Amy Draper, Oliver Lynes, Julia O’Keefe, Aaron Parsons, Luke Pearson, Abigail Sewell, Martha Toogood, Chris White, Leigh Wolmarans and Roberta Zuric.

Jacqui O’Hanlon, RSC Director of Leaning and National Partnership said:

This is an important time of reconnection for children, young people and adults across the country: reconnection with each other, with classmates, teachers and with local communities. The Playmaking Festival celebrates their creativity and resilience as we all come together to shape and make responses to Shakespeare’s work. Theatre and the arts play a vital role in our collective recovery; these aren’t ‘nice to have’ experiences. They are an essential part of growing up, of being alive, of feeling connected to other people, and of developing the agency we need to make positive changes in our lives. The festival invites makers and audiences of all ages to play and discover. We are so proud of the work and the achievements of the schools, communities and theatres we are privileged to work in partnership with.




Also online this summer, the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 74th Summer School is available for students to access from Monday 23 August – Friday 27 August. The week-long programme includes a series of online talks, sessions with actors, insights and provocations from theatre makers, academics, and reviewers, all to be enjoyed from the comfort of your home.  

The week will explore RSC productions past, present and future, including gems from our archive, special insights into our summer season production of The Comedy of Errors and an exclusive peak into our 2022 programme.

Each day will include two streamed sessions as well as a ‘Green Room’ discussion to round off the day where summer schoolers can connect and reflect together. In addition, the week will include access to two full length RSC productions that will streamed specifically for summer school participants.

For more information on the RSC Online Summer School, visit:

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For more press information please contact:

Bethany Arnold
Media Relations Officer, Royal Shakespeare Company




The RSC Associate Schools Programme is the RSC’s long-term partnership programme with 261

schools and 11 regional theatre partners nationwide that aims to immerse teachers and students in new ways of learning about and teaching Shakespeare’s plays. The programme creates pathways for

teachers, students, and artists to develop their talents and skills; build leadership capacities; and become ambassadors for Shakespeare, theatre, and arts in their communities.

The Associate Schools programme is built around the principle of schools working in local partnerships to develop communities of practice inspired by Shakespeare’s work. We aim for each local partnership to consist of a Lead Associate School who in turn recruits a number of Associate Schools. In many cases these local partnerships include a regional theatre as well as the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Schools that are interested in becoming a Lead school need to demonstrate a commitment to the teaching of Shakespeare at levels of the school, including governors and senior leadership. They also recruit and coordinate a cluster of up to ten Associate Schools in their area. The programme aims to enrich the teaching, learning and performance of Shakespeare’s work nationally.

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



The RSC is supported using public funding by Arts Council England

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

The work of the RSC Learning and National Partnerships department (including the Associate Schools Programme) is generously supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Adobe, The Clore Duffield Foundation, The 29th May 1961 Charitable Trust, GRoW @ Annenberg, Samsung, The Polonsky Foundation, The Schroder Foundation, The Wyfold Charitable Trust, Stratford Town Trust, The Goldsmiths’ Company Charity, The John S Cohen Foundation, Teale Charitable Trust, The Grimmitt Trust, George Fentham Birmingham Charity, and The Misses Barrie Charitable Trust

The Shakespeare Nation adult engagement work is generously supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

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.

The Royal Shakespeare Company creates theatre at its best, made in Stratford-upon-Avon and shared around the world.  We produce an inspirational artistic programme each year, setting Shakespeare in context, alongside the work of his contemporaries and today’s writers.

We have trained generations of the very best theatre makers and we continue to nurture the talent of the future. We encourage everyone to enjoy a lifelong relationship with Shakespeare and live theatre. We reach 530,000 children and young people annually through our education work, transforming their experiences in the classroom, in performance and online.

Everyone at the RSC - from actors to armourers, musicians to technicians - plays a part in creating the world you see on stage. Registered charity no. 212481

We recognise the climate emergency and work hard to embed environmental sustainability into our operations, creative work and business practice and have made a commitment to reduce continually our Carbon Footprint.  We have measures in place from green electricity to replace energy consuming equipment with high efficiency, using low carbon equipment, and delivering programmes to raise environmental awareness across the RSC. We acknowledge that sharing our work with audiences across the world will involve travel and that we need to mitigate the impact of that on our carbon footprint.

To keep your RSC and support our mission to transform lives through amazing experiences of Shakespeare and live theatre, please consider donating.

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