"During the rehearsal process, I learned we had to work
together to make our play perfect." – Student, P.S. 180

"Each time I participate in the festival, I learn new avenues to unlock my students' creativity." -Teacher, Fordham High School for the Arts

"It was one of the most rewarding things
I've ever done in my classroom." -Teacher

"I've learned that theater can make a big difference in someone's life." -Student

"It was entirely our own, we created it." -Student

"I enjoyed how the play can be hilarious and sad and epic." -Student

"It felt like I was doing a piece of history." -Student


NYC Student Shakespeare Festival

Register by June 13th for a discount on the participation fee


Do you want to have a transformative experience in the classroom?  Do you want creative, interactive ways to address the Common Core Standards?  Do you want to see students' ideas and energies engaged in constructive ways?  Do you want to bring the arts back into your school?  Are you PASSIONATE or TERRIFIED or CLUELESS about SHAKESPEARE?

Founded in 1993 on the belief that Shakespeare is best learned in the act of performing his words, CAT's NYCSSF has provided over 10,000 young people and 400 teachers with a chance to create their own work of original theatre using Shakespeare's text and to perform their work on an off-Broadway stage.  

Now under the artistic direction of Jon Stancato (The Stolen Chair Theatre Company), NYCSSF is a unique opportunity for educators and students to celebrate the raw power, dazzling beauty, and timeless, universal themes of Shakespeare's work. 

Find out more:

New York City Student Shakespeare Festival Brochure

2013 NYCSSF Yearbook

Click here for a map of the schools that have participated over the past 20 years!

NYCSSF in CAT's blog.

NYCSSF in the "Shakespeare in the City" blog.

"I learned that if I try something new and work on it, I can make a beautiful thing."

-2012 Participating Student

"CAT's Festival was one of the most rewarding things I've ever done in my classroom."

"I was thoroughly impressed by CAT's training, the support from the teaching artists, and the way my students grew as a result of their experience."

"I've been with the Shakespeare Festival for many years, and this has been the best year yet! It amazes me that the Professional Development days and the Teaching Artists just keep getting better and better. There's always more for me to learn and try out with my students." 

- Participating Teachers

Participating groups get:

  • Professional Development Fridays for Teachers - 10-15 hours of interactive, hands-on professional development that will prepare you to lead your students in the creation of an original work of theatre using Shakespeare's text. Fridays at CAT: December 6, 2013, January 10 and February 7, 2014, 9AM-2PM.  Lunch and CUNY Certificate of Participation provided.

  • In-Class Mentoring - A representative from the festival's team of Shakespeare experts will visit your classroom three times to provide you and your students with support and guidance as you develop your scene for the Festival. 

  • Culminating Performance - In late March, you and your students will join groups from across the City as you all present your 5-8 minute scenes at the historic off-Broadway Lucille Lortel Theatre. During your Festival day (9Am-2PM), you and your students will also be treated to Shakespeare-themed games and activities, feedback by teaching artists and peer groups, and official recognition of the strengths or innovations of your work.  

  • Materials - You will receive comprehensive resource guides and thorough lesson plans from each professional development. Your school will receive Shakespeare texts, provided by Penguin USA.  All involved will receive CUNY Certificates of Participation, and student-designed Festival t-shirts.  The Festival experience will be archived through video, photos, and a Yearbook (final report) for you to re-live your successes with your students and colleagues.

  • To provide an original and compelling way for educators to strengthen their ability to address English Language Arts Common Core Standards and NYC Arts Education Blueprint standards.  (Click here to view the Common Core and Blueprint standards)
  • To provide ELL and special-needs teachers with a means to offer high-expectation subject matter and strengthen students' abilities in literacy and theatre skills.
  • To support the integration of student-centered learning strategies into the participating teachers' fundamental approach.
  • To provide teachers of grades 2-12 with the tools to overcome discomfort and develop strategies for integrating Shakespeare (and other "difficult" works) into the classroom.
  • To complement existing school drama programs and fill a need in schools that do not have them – by providing opportunities for students to play active roles onstage, in scene development, and in stagecraft.
  • To bring a worldly and high-caliber level of theatrical knowledge to participating schools.

CLICK HERE to see the 2013 Festival Yearbook

CLICK HERE to see the 2012 Festival Yearbook

Teachers report that CAT’s Shakespeare program helps them discover new ways of using drama as a teaching tool.  They also note students’ improvement in key literacy, critical thinking, and social-emotional skills: 

  • Listening
  • Speaking
  • Reading
  • Observation
  • Critical thinking
  • Ability to work well in groups
  • Interpreting
  • Self-expression

Click here to view Common Core and Blueprint Standards regularly applied to NYC Student Shakespeare Festival activities

CLICK HERE to see the 2013 Festival Yearbook

CLICK HERE to see the 2012 Festival Yearbook

  • Leadership
  • Collaboration

  • Communication
  • Exploration of love, conflict, anger, and other emotions

  • Understanding and appreciating dramatic text

Jon Stancato
Festival Director




Krista Fogle
Program & Marketing Coordinator


© 2014 Creative Arts Team

101 W. 31st Street, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10001 | (212) 652-2800 | info@creativeartsteam.org

With a little help from Blueprint Interactive