My Experience Volunteering for the York International Shakespeare Festival

Hi! My name is Grace, and I’m a second year History and English Literature student at YSJ. This year I’m volunteering for the York International Shakespeare Festival as part of my employability module. 

My role in this year’s festival is volunteer liaison and recruitment – or, to put it simply, encouraging other YSJ students to get involved with the festival and make sure everything runs smoothly for them. 

The festival so far has been a joy to volunteer for, and I’m super excited to get stuck in with all the upcoming events. Hopefully, by the end of this blog post, you’ll consider coming along to some of these events, which are taking place from Thursday 18 to Sunday 28 April – student tickets are available at a subsidised rate of £5.20, and some events are even free! 

We’ve had an amazing number of applications of volunteers this year, and we’re incredibly grateful to all those who’ve applied. If you do come along to any of our events, make sure to say hello to your fellow students who’ll be helping usher our shows taking place on the YSJ campus! 

Some of the shows taking place on campus will be a production of Twelfth Night by renowned travelling theatre company Footsbarn, a Turkish production of Macbeth, and even a performance of Shakespeare’s songs – as well as many more. Debra Ann Byrd is headlining with her critically acclaimed one woman show Becoming Othello: A Black Girl’s Journey, and YISF are working with the National Theatre of Ivano-Frankivsk and local artists, including those from the Ukrainian community currently living in York, to put on a devised show called Working Title. We’re all familiar with Shakespeare from our school days, but these productions offer so much more than a traditional outlook on his plays would. 

Being able to go into various lectures and sessions on campus to garner interest and recruit for the festival has been an absolute pleasure and I’ve loved engaging with you all. Throughout this placement, I’ve been able to build my graduate attributes and develop valuable transferable skills. 

Taking part in this work experience placement has been a great opportunity for me, and so will it be for the rest of the YSJ students taking part. I’m so grateful to be able to help put these shows in motion and spread the word about these events, and all of us at YISF really hope we’ll see you at our events this year! 

This blog was originally posted at on 9 April 2024.