Latest Press Releases


Issue: Tuesday 12 September 2017





The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has today announced a string of initiatives that will transform experiences of Shakespeare and theatre in performance for thousands of schoolchildren and young people across the country.

  • First ever talent-based RSC young company created - RSC Next Generation ACT.
  • First Encounters with Shakespeare: Julius Caesar performs at schools and theatres nationwide.
  • Special 45-minute edit of Matilda The Musical available to 50 ‘Champion’ schools.
  • Shakespeare: Leading the culture for learning in your school – major headteachers’ conference on 22 June 2018 on the positive impact of teaching Shakespeare in your school.
  • First RSC Backstage Pass virtual tour, in collaboration with Google Expeditions
  • Live streaming from RSC rehearsal rooms into classrooms.
  • New Professional Development ‘Teaching Shakespeare’ certificate for teachers.

Talent Development:

  • 20 young people have been named as members of the RSC’s first ever talent-based Young Company, RSC Next Generation ACT. Aged between 12 and 16, the youngsters were selected by an RSC panel through a series of masterclasses which took place all over the country earlier this year.  

As well as demonstrating exceptional talent, the panel were looking for young people who might ordinarily find it hard to break into a career in the theatre. The trainees are invited to stay as part of RSC Next Generation ACT until they reach 18 years old and will hone their talents through a programme of ongoing support, tuition, training and mentoring led by some of the country’s leading actors and theatre practitioners.

RSC Associate Schools programme

  • In September, 240 new schools from 17 towns and cities across the country will join our ground-breaking RSC Associate Schools programme. The programme, which began life over 10 years ago, (previously known as the Learning and Performance Network), includes 500+ schools and 11 regional theatre partners nationwide who work together to develop Shakespeare-inspired seasons of work for teachers, young people and schools in local communities.
  • Young people from our RSC Associate Schools will also have the chance to act alongside our professional cast in our forthcoming production of Romeo and Juliet. Each night four youngsters from our Associate Schools in the Midlands, London and each of the touring locations, will share the role of the Chorus with the main cast. The play opens in Stratford-upon-Avon in April 2018 and tours the country in 2019 (venues to be announced).
  • In June, next year (22 June 2018), RSC Education is also inviting leading educators to a major headteachers’ conference Shakespeare: Leading the culture for learning in your school. This two-day conference will examine a growing body of evidence around the positive impact that RSC approaches to teaching Shakespeare can have on language and learning skills – particularly amongst students whose language skills are lower than average.

New technology:

  • The RSC is using technology to give more people the chance to go backstage at the Company’s Stratford-upon-Avon home. Working in collaboration with Google Expeditions, the first ever virtual tour of the RSC launches on 30 September. It takes users on a journey behind the scenes to learn about the Company’s history, discover what’s involved in staging a full-scale production and explore some of the many backstage careers at the RSC.
  • Students are also given a rare glimpse into the creative process when the RSC opens its doors to live-streamed rehearsals into classrooms up and down the country. As well as a unique insight into the creative journey and interpretive choices that actors and directors make before a production opens to the public, the students will also get the chance to ask the actors and directors questions.

Teacher Professional Development:

  • Teachers can now be recognised as experts in teaching Shakespeare thanks to a series of new Teaching Shakespeare certificates from the RSC. Open to teachers in any primary, secondary or special school in the UK, the certification pathway has been designed to give teachers at all stages of their careers experience in using RSC rehearsal based techniques to teach Shakespeare in their own classrooms.

Performing around the UK:

RSC Education is also taking work out to partner theatres, schools and venues across the country.

  • First Encounters with Shakespeare: Julius Caesar is an abridged version of the play for young people and their families seeing Shakespeare for the first time.  

Signaling a departure from traditional touring, the programme will ensure young audiences are actively engaged in the show before it reaches their school hall or local theatre. They will ‘complete’ the play at each performance by taking on the role of ‘Citizens of Rome’, writing songs to welcome Caesar to the citadel (which they will teach to the acting company) and making part of the set.

Schools around the country will go into rehearsals at the same time as the professional Company. The first time they meet will be on the day of the performance. Each rehearsal room will share information with the other about the play and about the controversial leader who divides a nation. 

This live and ongoing engagement gives students a direct investment in the production and includes an invitation to their parents and members of the local community to see the production at the school or their local theatre, in line with our aim that First Encounters with Shakespeare productions surprise, enthrall and inspire newcomers to Shakespeare and live theatre.

The production runs from 31 January until 24 March 2018 in schools and regional theatres in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, London, Staffordshire, Bradford, County Durham, Newcastle upon Tyne, Hull, Kent, Birmingham, and Northampton.

  • Matilda The Musical across the UK and Ireland. In March 2018, the RSC’s multi award-winning production of Matilda The Musical will embark on its first UK and Ireland tour. Running alongside the stage production is Change My Story, a new RSC education programme devised in collaboration with our regional theatre partners across the UK, and reaching more than 15,000 children.

Change My Story has been devised on a region-by-region basis and includes a national search for up to 50 Change My Story Champion Schools who will work with the RSC and their regional theatre to stage a special 45-minute edit of Matilda The Musical as their school play. Any state maintained school will be able to apply for one of the 50 places which involves committing to a two-year programme of creative work, including professional development and training opportunities for teachers and working with five other local schools to share the skills and knowledge from the programme.

Other RSC Education activities accompanying Change My Story and Matilda The Musical tour include:

  • Training and development for artists and teachers in each region
  • Mrs Phelps’ Storytelling Library - a mixture of RSC and regional theatre artists will deliver this special one day programme that can be booked by any school or group.
  • Discovery Sessions – pre-show events to look at the creative choices made in staging and performing the production
  • Student workshops
  • Backstage Pass – opportunities for young people to find out more about the technical and production roles involved in making and touring a production

Further information can be found at:

Jacqui O’Hanlon, Director of Education at the RSC, said:

“Our growing bank of evidence shows that using RSC approaches can stimulate a child’s use of vocabulary and confidence with language, as well as support them to develop resilience, empathy and meta-cognition. All of the initiatives we’re announcing today are aimed at making those approaches available to as many young people as possible and helping to develop their confidence with language, reading and writing in a way that makes them better equipped to take their place in the world”.


Further information about all of the above initiatives can be found at

For further information contact or 07739 330294

Notes to Editors

Schools’ Broadcasts are generously supported by Virgin Media


The Associate Schools programme is supported by THE POLONSKY FOUNDATION and THE ERNEST COOK TRUST

The work of the RSC Literary Department is generously supported by THE DRUE HEINZ TRUST

About RSC Education

RSC Next Generation and RSC Next Generation ACT

The RSC has trained generations of the very best theatre makers, but recognises that the industry remains unrepresentative of the society in which we live in today.

RSC Next Generation is the first programme of its kind and gives talented young people who wouldn’t ordinarily get the opportunity, the chance to explore a career in acting, directing or working backstage.

The programme has three strands:

  • ACT: 20 talented youngsters aged 12-16 will join RSC Next Generation ACT to become the RSC’s first ever young company and develop their skills as actors.
  • DIRECT: This strand is for young people aged 18+ who demonstrate the obvious creative leadership and directing skills needed to take a play from page to stage.
  • BACKSTAGE: Each year 40 - 50 students aged 13-18 are given a ‘Backstage Pass’ to discover what goes on behind the scenes to bring each production to life.

Introducing the members of RSC Next Generation ACT company:

  • Joshua, aged 14, from Uxbridge.
  • Scout, aged 13, from Yorkshire.
  • Hassan, aged 12, from Yorkshire.
  • Haaris, aged 13,, from Bradford.
  • Kieron, aged 14, from Middlesbrough.
  • Adam, aged 14, from Middlesbrough.
  • Paige, aged 12, from Middlesbrough.
  • Daisy-Mai, aged 13, from Cornwall.
  • Sahana, aged 15, from Cornwall.
  • Jerminah, aged 13, from County Durham.
  • Olivia, aged 12, from Faversham.
  • Dorcas, aged 12, from Northampton.
  • Holly, aged 12, from Northampton.
  • Sahib, aged 12, from Northampton.
  • Megan, aged 15, from Northampton.
  • Mohamed, aged 14, from York.
  • Stephanie, aged 14, from York.
  • Callum, aged 12, from Stoke-on-Trent.
  • Jacob, aged 14, from Lancashire.
  • Nico, aged 15, from Lancashire.

RSC Associate Schools

The RSC’s Associate Schools Programme is our schools’ partnership programme with primary, secondary and special schools across the country. There are 17 Lead Associate Schools who all have a Regional Theatre Partner and a ‘cluster’ of Associate Schools in their local area. Together with the RSC they work to create Shakespeare-inspired seasons of work for teachers, young people and schools in local communities.

Lead Associate Schools and Regional Theatre partners

  • Treviglas Community College, Newquay and Launceston College. Theatre Partner: Hall For Cornwall
  • Canterbury High School and King Ethelbert School, Thanet. Theatre Partner: The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury
  • Springhead Primary School. Theatre Partner: The New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme
  • Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Primary School. Theatre Partner: The Grand Theatre Blackpool
  • St Mary's College, Hull. Theatre Partner: Hull Truck Theatre, Hull
  • York High School. Theatre Partner: York Theatre Royal, York
  • Crook Primary School, County Durham. Theatre Partner: Theatre Royal, Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Sacred Heart Catholic High School, Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Uxbridge High School. Theatre Partner: Intermission Theatre, London
  • Bradford College. Theatre Partner: The Alhambra Theatre, Bradford
  • Primary 6 Partnership (a consortium of 5 Nottingham Primary Schools). Theatre Partner: Theatre Royal, Nottingham
  • Archibald Primary School, Middlesbrough. Theatre Partner: the RSC
  • Lings Primary School, Northampton. Theatre Partner: the RSC
  • Eastbury Community School, Barking. Theatre Partner: the RSC
  • Nelson Mandela School, Birmingham. Theatre Partner: the RSC
  • Captains Close Primary School, Melton Mowbray. Theatre Partner: the RSC
  • St Paul's C of E Primary School, Nuneaton. Theatre Partner: the RSC

You might also like