Spirit of Youth

6th November 2019

Guildford Shakespeare Company is a charity and professional theatre company, specialising in Shakespeare, with the aim to advance education for the public benefit by the promotion of the arts, in particular, the art of drama.

We are delighted to have supported Guildford Shakespeare Company for a number of projects, most recently, their inter-generational drama project based on Shakespeare, titled ‘Spirit of Youth,’ tackling social isolation among care-home residents and primary school children from disadvantaged backgrounds.  

Spirit of Youth takes children from local disadvantaged schools into residential care homes, within the Borough of Guildford. Under the directorship of 2 experienced workshop facilitators, the children and care home residents together create a 15-20 minute version of their chosen Shakespeare play, which is then performed to family, friends and the wider community within the care home. The project provides the opportunity for the young and old to form new relationships as they work towards a common-goal.

Participants naturally share their own experiences and stories, as they convert Shakespeare’s words into their own and switch the historical context to situations they can all relate to. Fun costumes and props help the group play together, and the elderly and the children alike are able to challenge and enjoy themselves in a risk-free environment.

“It was so good to see the young children working alongside the residents. Although my mother has difficulty in remembering sometimes, she found it good to have something to work towards and be part of a group production. I had great fun watching the performance and hope there will be more in the future.”

– Resident’s daughter

Spirit of Youth provides the opportunity for the young to inspire the elderly, whilst having their own learning supported, and creates a sense of pride for both age groups in the performing of final project.

There are a number of further benefits of the project including the reduction in loneliness and depression amongst the elderly, as well as an increase of mobility, confidence and cognitive functions. In the young, the development of confidence, communication, empathy and listening skills.

“It has been wonderful having the children around. I enjoy their company and it brightens my day.” 

– Care-home Resident (aged 97)

The Community Foundation for Surrey is a philanthropic charity inspiring local giving for local need. The grants we make to groups in Surrey such as Guildford Shakespeare Company are made entirely possible by the giving of individuals, businesses and trusts whom we work closely with to help direct their giving to causes they are passionate about. To find out about other causes we have supported, please see our Case Studies page. To find out more about how to give, please visit our Giving page.