Billed as the world’s largest youth drama festival, the Shakespeare Schools Festival forms an annual focus and highlight for QE Drama during the Autumn Term.

Pupils from the upper years of the School work with QE staff and external experts from the Shakespeare Schools Foundation to stage abridged versions of Shakespeare’s plays. Through their work, boys develop a greater understanding and appreciation of the work of Britain’s greatest writer.

The process culminates in a performance evening at North Finchley’s Arts Depot, where cast and crew alike demonstrate in a professional theatre setting what they have learned from the months of preparation.

QE’s contribution to the festival has drawn wide acclaim in recent years. In 2016, as part of events marking the 400th anniversary of the bard’s death, not only did the School’s young actors perform The Merchant of Venice at the Arts Depot, but some were also invited to play key roles from Hamlet at the West End’s Wyndham Theatre in a unique VIP festival fundraiser featuring leading actors and celebrities.