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The Young Shakespeareans:

  • Range from 9 to 22 years of age;

  • Are 97% Latinx, Black, Indigenous, and other Children of Color;

  • Many speak English as a second language with only their native tongue spoken at home.


"I used to be a very shy, soft spoken person, who really didn't participate. Theatre was a major confidence boost that has made me a more comfortable public speaker.

This whole experience has helped me recognize my potential for success and as we say, "If I can do Shakespeare, I can do anything! " 


Emily, 7th Grade

Our Partner Schools report increased student attendance, improved classroom participation and behavior, and elevated test scores. And since our schools select which students are invited to join our Programs, their siblings, cousins, and classmates strive to follow their path.

Many Young Shakespeareans participate year after year. Once in High School, they enjoy opportunities for early employment, networking, and exposure to workplace demands. In our Career Pathways Program, they exercise their creativity and leadership skills as they mentor and model exciting paths for our younger students.

To Date:
  • Workshops = 409

  • Performances = 36

  • Performing Arts Students = 396

  • Production Design Students = 104

  • Technical Arts Students = 54

TOTAL SERVED = 11,000 and counting...

Jobs Created:

  • Career Pathways Student Alumni = 83

  • Teaching Artists = 62

  • Industry Artists & Techs = 39

Volunteers = 76

Audience Members = 9,819 


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"Hearing the name William Shakespeare didn’t mean much to 5th-grade me; sure, he’s the guy who wrote Romeo and Juliet. But joining The Young Shakespeareans turned out to be one of the greatest choices I’ve ever made. Suddenly, I was excited to audition for a part in Macbeth. Honestly, I was afraid I wouldn't meet my memorization deadline, but then I found 21 lines in our version of Macbeth would become my specialty. The memories made during that year of Shakespeare were unforgettable. I became the loyal messenger, Ross, and learned the important tricks of literary devices and iambic pentameter.

Of course, the next year in 6th-grade I signed up for TYS. I was excited to be in the play Romeo and Juliet and I auditioned for the Nurse. We had been in workshops and had just had our first sword play instruction session when school closed. But it didn’t take long for TYS to find an alternative new way for us to perform that was really memorable - my entire family watched my performance online and brought flowers to my bedroom. The Nurse became one of my favorite characters from Romeo and Juliet. I admired her humorous personality and how she cared for Juliet, and the Covid Zoomie we created proved that if I could do Shakespeare, I could do anything. 

My entire online 7th-grade year was full of Shakespeare, and in my leadership class, I played 2 to 3 characters. It was a wild ride, even receiving green screen equipment and lights, and using Snapchat filters for costumes. Then during 8th-grade, I signed up for a TYS workforce program. I couldn’t believe it; I would get actually get paid to study Shakespeare - it was a match made in heaven. I had my first VoiceOver acting experience that Ms. Alison personally trained me with, and played the part of Lady Macbeth, too (5th-grade me was so happy). During this time, I also got involved in all parts of the production; I was a tech for a while, then a zombie-soldier actor and co-teacher. 

The tech experience from middle school prepared me for my most recent experience with The Young Shakespeareans where I designed the lighting and helped with the hair and makeup of West Vernon Elementary’s 4th and 5th-graders. Seeing these children who were the same age I was when I started in TYS made me realize how much I’ve grown. 

The Young Shakespeareans program has largely influenced my life. When my 10th-grade English teacher was surprised by my ease in reading Shakespeare, I smiled and answered with three letters: TYS. I’m now brave enough to spontaneously act out Marc Antony’s monologue, something I never would have even tried six years ago. TYS has definitely made me become a stronger and more confident character, and person!"

                                                            Shirley M, 11th grade

"The students' SBAC (California state exam) results have just arrived. ​ All of the young Shakespeareans in my class show significant improvements on their tests. For example, Jade got a perfect score in Math, Emily is around the 95th percentile in both Math and ELA, and Elden jumped 2 levels to "exceeds" in Math. ​ At first, I was worried that my Shakespeareans wouldn't be able to focus on their learning at the time. On the contrary, participating in The Young Shakespeareans definitely helped them improve their self-confidence. ​ More importantly, it is a great discipline for these children to set and pursue a higher standard for themselves. Your test results are the proof. ​ Thank you very much for providing such a wonderful opportunity to our students. "                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mr. So Sungwan

                                                                                                 Fifth Grade Teacher

                                               West Vernon Avenue Elementary School

"In all my years in education I have seen many after school programs but The Young Shakespeareans is the most effective in changing and improving student’s lives.

All the students have improved: the shy students like Juan D become confident and learn to trust themselves to speak publicly and project their voices; the overconfident students like Emily M learn to control their reactions and be aware and respectful of the rest of the group; everybody becomes a team player,  and a happier more excited person about life and learning. And after the final performance they all walk differently like people who accomplished something very important in their lives. "                                                                                                                                                                                               Mr. Cristin Barbu

                           Magnet Coordinator, John Adams Middle School

"This experience helped my students develop self-esteem, participate in social relationships, and also respect the ideas and beliefs of others.They are so happy to take the books home - some said that reading the books at home, their parents will also learn more English and vocabulary. "

                                                                                                         Ms. Karen Lara

                      Liaison Teacher, Nevin Avenue Elementary School 

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The Young Shakespeareans

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All Rights Reserved.

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