Highfield and Brookham honoured for involvement with Shakespeare festival

The independent school, which performed Macbeth in the school’s woodland due to closed performance venues, was given a silver award by the Coram Shakespeare Schools Foundation

A Hampshire independent school has been honoured for its long-term involvement with a Shakespeare festival.

Highfield and Brookham Schools, based in the South Downs National Park, was given a silver award by the Coram Shakespeare Schools Foundation (CSSF) after taking part in its annual festival for the last five years.

When the pandemic meant that pupils couldn’t perform their production of Macbeth at Guildford’s G Live arts centre as planned, the school turned the tragedy into a pastoral play by erecting an outdoor stage in the school’s woodland, so that the show could be performed to teachers and peers.

Highfield and Brookham’s previous productions have included Henry V and Much Ado About Nothing, as part of what CSSF claims to be the world’s largest youth drama festival.

The cultural education charity says its aim is to “instil curiosity and empathy, aspiration and self-esteem, literacy and teamwork – giving young people the confidence to see that all the world is their stage”.

“We want to recognise those schools who have pledged to keep creativity high on the agenda, providing hundreds of students over the years with the opportunity to create and learn through the unique power of performing Shakespeare in our festival,” said Ruth Brock, managing director of CSSF.

Thousands of students and hundreds of teachers put on performances under its festival umbrella every year, with each production featuring a maximum of 35 pupils from any one school.

Speaking after the Hampshire school was bestowed with CSSF’s silver award, Highfield’s headmaster, Phillip Evitt, said: “We are honoured our efforts have been acknowledged by such an esteemed organisation. We embed personal development across our school curriculum and provide inspiring opportunity to help build crucial transferable skills for the future.”

The award will see Highfield and Brookham receive a digital workshop, printed certificate and digital badge for the school website.

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