The Courtyard’s annual Herefordshire Schools Shakespeare Festival returns on Monday 21 January.

The Shakespeare project offers schools across Herefordshire an alternative to traditional teaching and support to teachers who may have their own concerns with the best methods for delivering Shakespeare. Practitioners work alongside teachers and students to dispel myths about the inaccessibility of the texts by introducing them at a younger age.

Amid ongoing criticisms of the introduction of an English Baccalaureate (EBacc) and the demise of arts in education, it is now more important than ever for children and young people to be provided with external opportunities to develop their creative skills. In a recent research project commissioned by London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), studies found that almost one third of British school children did not know who Shakespeare is. Through The Courtyard’s Shakespeare project, the Education Team have worked with 27 different schools, 49 different classes and 1,238 students.

“Our Shakespeare project is not just worthwhile for the students involved, but for the teachers and the practitioners as well.” Says Ellen Pitts, The Courtyard's Youth and Communities Participation manager, “Every year brings new ideas and fresh interpretations of the classic texts, but always results in high quality performances that students, schools and parents can and should be proud of. The Education team love delivering this project, mainly because it allows them to build a relationship with each group they work with. It is especially rewarding to see the positive outcomes it has for a class as a whole, but particularly for individuals who may normally struggle in a classroom environment. We feel this project really does make Shakespeare accessible to all and are proud to continue to bring the ‘Bard to the Yard’!”

This year’s Shakespeare project will culminate in a performance from each participating school for friends and family on The Courtyard’s main stage in the aptly named Bard At The Yard.

For more information about The Courtyard’s education provision visit, or email