When William Shakespeare and Williams Nicolson Collide: The Williams Nicolson Award

Applications are now open to ensure underfunded and underrepresented schools can access quality Shakespearean education from working theatre practitioners.

The Williams Nicolson Award 2022 will bring live theatre and active workshops which are crucial educational tools to engage with Shakespeare's verse. The six workshop packages to schools across England will be funded in full by Williams Nicolson.

Bard in The Yard is a Covid-inspired project which consists of two shows. The audience can help poor Will Shakespeare, stuck for inspiration in plague quarantine, write either ‘King Leonardo’ or ‘The Scottish Play’. The team behind Bard in the Yard wanted to reconnect with an audience and continue to bring the joy of live performance while waiting for physical theatres to reopen, and they are now touring the country with their grassroots revolution.

Victoria Gartner, Artistic Director of Will & Co, explains: “At Will & Co, we believe that Shakespeare should be accessible to all. That is why we created Bard in the Yard: a pandemic-born and critically-acclaimed project that brings Shakespeare straight to your garden, park, local pub or school. The past few years have been tough on all of us, but particularly on children’s mental health and education — and funding cuts mean that it will soon become even harder for the next generation to access Shakespeare in a playful way. So, this season, we are delighted to announce that Williams Nicolson will help us take the Bard to school yards across the country. We are immensely grateful for their support and cannot wait for more pupils to help Will Shakespeare with writer’s block!”

Partner and co-founder of Williams Nicolson, Louise Nicolson said: “Shakespeare was the most influential writer in the history of our language. He invented thousands of words we use today. Without Shakespeare, we wouldn’t have ‘swagger’ or ‘bedazzle’ or ‘fashionable’. And words make worlds. At Williams Nicolson, we are passionate about the power of language to change minds and make business better. We are thrilled to support Bard in the Yard as they teach us all how to better connect and communicate, one performance at a time.”

Applications for funding round one are open now: Apply here The Williams Nicolson Award Application

Dame Helen Mirren, Godmother of the project, said: “Bard in the Yard is a simply wonderful project which brings Shakespeare to everyone, delivering humanity, connection and inspiration just when we need it the most. If you’re looking for an unforgettable theatrical experience, I highly recommend it.”

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You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
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Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
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Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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