Young Shakespeare Workshop, a nationally recognized and awarded non-profit arts leader, is a community of young people, teaching artists, alumni and family who care deeply and passionately about performing Shakespeare. Programs are tuition free and engage a wide spectrum of individual participants.
Academic year projects and residencies provide opportunities at high schools serving predominately low-income students where theatre arts are severely limited or unavailable, while summer programs draw together participants from all around Seattle and King County, offering multi-year opportunities for continued depth of skills, growth, and community.
Young Shakespeare Workshop’s mission is to give all youth the opportunity and skills to fall in love with words and to celebrate the power of the human voice to illuminate experience.
Young Shakespeare Workshop (YSW) gathers students together to create a new community bound by a love of words. Because there is no tuition, we are uniquely positioned to draw together students from all walks of life. The only requirement is a passion for language.
YSW empowers its participants to take ownership of rich, exciting, beautiful, subtle, dangerous, passionate speech. The kind of ownership that only physical performance can give, spoken to an audience, lived in the moment of performance, breathing the life within the words as your own. Students begin work on sonnets, progressing to speeches and scenes during their first year, and work on an entire play as returning students. First Year students meet for seven weeks, five days a week, three hours a day for text, voice, and fencing classes, culminating in a recital at the Broadway Performance Hall. Returning students produce and perform a Shakespeare play, touring it to a variety of venues indoor and outdoor. During the academic year, Young Shakespeare Workshop also provides in-class and after-school residencies in public schools.
We recruit students from a mix of widely different economic, educational, and cultural backgrounds, focusing on hard-to-reach students by going into classrooms to give a hands-on experience of Shakespeare to youth who would otherwise not have the opportunity or context to care about the beauty and power of language and theatre. Students are residents of King County (and occasionally from nearby counties) with most coming from the Seattle area. Many First Year students have no previous performance or presentation experience, and a number come from immigrant families which speak English as a second language.