“Thank you for providing this experience for our students. It opened up a whole new world for them, and made them believe they can tackle Shakespeare. Many of these students would not normally have access to the arts as we are over two hours from Melbourne, so travelling performances like this one provide terrific exposure, not just to the Arts, but to a world outside of their own.” Fiona Smith, teacher at Girgarre Primary School, Victoria
In 1990, John Bell AO founded Bell Shakespeare with the mission of making Shakespeare accessible to Australians of all ages. John himself led the way as he performed in the very first in-school performance team in 1991, taking the works of Shakespeare into schools across Sydney.
Twenty-seven years on, our education programme is national in its reach, and remains a core part of our business. We deliver in-school performances, workshops, residencies, scholarships, training programmes and dedicated in-theatre school productions across Australia. Our outreach work extends to regional and remote farming and mining towns, includes programmes for juvenile detainees, for young refugee students, and sees us deliver specialist work in Indigenous communities.
As Australia’s national theatre company specialising in Shakespeare, the breadth and reach of our programme is unparalleled, and through this reach we positively impact the lives of students, teachers, and the wider community.
Our in-school performance programme is Bell Shakespeare’s farthest-reaching initiative, ensuring that every child has the opportunity to receive a live performance experience in their own school.
The in-school performances are dynamic 50-minute adaptations of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, delivered in school halls and gyms. Each year our two teams of highly trained actors – The Players – travel over 50,000km around the country providing many students with their first introduction to Shakespeare.
Thanks to the generous support of the James N. Kirby Foundation in 2017 we were able to deliver four brand new productions across every state and territory – The Wonderful World of Will, Shakespeare Is Dead, Macbeth: The Rehearsal, and Romeo and Juliet: Rewind.