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Course overview

Young actors in training with Shakespeare and his company would sometimes be entrusted with the all-important role of Messenger.

During a fun and creative session, delivered online, you will perform two speeches and receive individual feedback, ideas to try and ways to develop your acting.

To gain the Messenger Award requires an achievement of 25 marks out of 50 marks.

  • The Award is a self-contained session so you can choose the assessment date that suits you.

During the assessment:

  1. You will connect with a RADA tutor in a one-to-one online session.
  2. You will first perform a speech from section one.
  3. You will then perform one of the speeches from section two.
  4. After delivering the speeches, you will be given some live suggestions of things to try out to explore the text.
  5. You then deliver your speech from section two again.

After the assessment

You will receive your results and any feedback by post within one month.

The Awards have greatly benefited me in many ways outside of the theatre such as giving me opportunities to connect with people I otherwise would have never met and giving me a great love and appreciation for Shakespeare. They have also helped me greatly in my confidence and public speaking.
Sonny Chatters, Awards participant
The Award has opened up new doors for me, without it I might never have gotten into Shakespeare.
Becca Hall, Awards participant

Further details

  • Assessment time: 15 minutes
  • Designed for single candidates 12+, ideal for those between 12 - 14
  • You may choose any of the speeches, regardless of gender
  • You must act from memory to gain your Award (without reading a script)
  • The next level to gain after completing the Messenger is the Bronze Award

Award dates

If you would like to enquire about booking an online Shakespeare Messenger Award assessment, email the team on


    What should I wear?

    The main thing is to feel comfortable: and feel free to wear something that helps you feel a little “in character”. But avoid any conscious attempt at decorative costuming or dressing-up, as this is bound to waste time and be distracting.

    What should I have with me?

    It may help to take notes, but we strongly recommend that you do so immediately following the assessment, rather than during it. In order to progress, and to gain the fullest value from the assessment, it is important you reflect on the suggestions and pointers you were given by the assessor; and likewise to consider - and record - your own feelings afterwards. Do remember to have a bottle of water in front of you, of course, as it’s important that you don’t dry out!

    Should I supply props?

    Very simple props, yes – a letter, perhaps - but only supply props that are strictly needed for the speech or scene.

    Will I be able to 'warm up' before my assessment?

    You should aim to prepare carefully before the time of your online assessment. Remember, some gentle, deep breathing - in through the nose and out through the mouth - can help with nerves (gently sip your water as well). There will be no time allocated during the warm-up itself, but you should take a moment for a little shake-out, a brrrrrr-ing of the lips, perhaps: things that you know can help relax and “bring you back to yourself”.

    And remember, the assessors are on your side: they want to help you get the most out of your experience.

    Should I use a different voice to my normal one?

    If you have an “accent” (and who doesn’t?), do not feel you have to play it down or “posh it up” for the assessment: the assessor will be looking, above all, for clarity and good, natural projection – in short, a confident use of your normal voice. (In any case, the sound made by the actors in Shakespeare’s time would be nothing like what we know nowadays as “standard English”).

    Do I need to memorise the speeches and scenes?

    Yes. Apart from the sight-reading element of the Gold Award, adequate performance from memory is part of the Award assessment. The assessors will be patient with you, of course: and let you begin again, or repeat a passage, if need be.

    Should I speak to the assessor as if they were the other character in the scene?

    Better not to. But do choose an eye-line that, while not in direct contact with the assessor, still gives her or him a full-face view of you. In a speech, avoid acting side-on to the assessor too much: in a scene, try to ensure you face the assessor for some of the time.

    What happens if I fail?

    The assessor will report on your efforts to the Awards Director; and he or she will then write to you with some encouraging feedback. Beyond that, RADA Awards staff cannot undertake to advise you. It is important to remember that a failure to meet the requirements of an award is not the end! You will, we hope, feel encouraged to try again; incorporating the feedback you have been given.

    Will I know how many marks I got?

    Following assessment, you will find out if you gained the Award; or failed: but we don’t release marks with the results, as the RADA Shakespeare Awards are about much more than marks and numbers. We encourage you to focus more on the process than the result, since engaging fully with the in-the-room feedback, taking time to reflect, making notes and discussing your assessment will help you learn and grow in a deeper way. The focus of the Awards is your growth as a person and as a performer. We want to encourage you to think of this less as an exam - with marks or points - and more like a rehearsal which will challenge, inspire and develop you.

How to apply

Download an application form

Complete and send the application form, along with a cheque or card payment details to RADA:

RADA, 62-64 Gower Street, London, WC1E 6ED.

Alternatively, you can scan the application form and email it to

Once we have processed your application, we will be in touch with you to confirm your place and provide further details about your online assessment.

Terms and conditions

    Read here

    This document sets out the terms and conditions between the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (“RADA”) and any individuals participating in the RADA Shakespeare Awards (“Awards”). You should read these terms and conditions carefully as it contains important information. These terms become binding on you when RADA receives your application for assessment under the Awards. These terms and conditions are binding as and when RADA receives your application for assessment under any level of the Awards. As part of your contract you agree to be bound by these terms, including the Regulations for the conduct of the Award listed below. Where the Awards are taking place at a host centre, you have a right to expect that the room will be suitable for purpose, with adequate space for movement and appropriate lighting, in accordance with RADA’s regulations. If suitable space is not provided, then this is a matter between you and the host venue and RADA will not be held liable for the host venue’s failure to provide you with appropriate space for assessment. RADA will provide assessors who meet its requirements for delivering the Awards and will provide assessment, feedback and tuition with reasonable care and skill. RADA may, on occasion, be compelled to change syllabus material, but it will not do so for individuals already booked for assessments. The result of the Assessment will be provided within two weeks. The Assessor’s decision is final and RADA will only consider an appeal (in accordance with the Award regulations) if the proper process has not been followed, not on the grounds of the Assessor’s professional judgment of your performance. RADA may from time to time revise the terms and conditions of the contract including the rules and regulations referred to in these terms and conditions in the following circumstances:

    • 6.1 where RADA reasonably considers this to be necessary for the enhancement of its provision in the best interests of participants.
    • 6.2 in circumstances which are caused by matters outside our control; and/or
    • 6.3 in circumstances which reflect changes in relevant laws.

    All Award fees must be paid in full prior to any scheduled assessment. If fees have not been received at least 14 days prior to the assessment, it will not take place, but you may still be liable for costs associated with the assessment. Fees paid for Workshops and Assessments are non-refundable as a result of cancellation (subject to the provisions of clause 9 below). You have the right to cancel this contract under the Consumer Contract (Information, Cancellation and Additional Payments) Regulations 2013 within 14 days without giving any reason. The cancellation period will expire after 14 days from the day of the conclusion of this contract.10.1 The contract is governed by English law and subject to the jurisdiction of the English courts. However, if you are a resident of Northern Ireland you may also bring proceedings in Northern Ireland; if you are a resident of Scotland, you may also bring proceedings in Scotland; and, if you are a resident of any country in the EU, you may also bring proceedings in that country which is your national country.

    RADA Awards: Regulations
    These regulations apply to all candidates taking RADA Shakespeare Awards and any Centres offering the Awards. The RADA Shakespeare Awards are progressive and candidates must follow them in order. There is no limit on the number of times an individual candidate may take each level of Award, including repeating passed levels. Candidates must arrive on time for their Award assessment. Failure to arrive at the appropriate time, may lead to the assessment being cancelled, and the candidate will still be liable for the Award fees. Where the Awards take place outside of RADA’s premises, the Centre hosting the Award must provide an appropriate rehearsal space. This must include adequate space for movement (including a suitable flooring), sufficient lighting for both practical work and for the Assessor to produce written notes, a table and chair, and water for the Assessor and candidates. Candidates should be suitably dressed for the assessment: wearing comfortable clothes and shoes, suitable for the practical style of the Award assessment, and which give the candidate freedom to move and breathe without restriction. Though candidates may wear items that help them to “feel” their way into character, there should be no attempt at literal costuming. RADA expects candidates to behave towards the Assessor in a polite and respectful manner. Threatening or abusive behaviour will lead to the Assessment being terminated and no refund will be made. Right of Appeal: unsuccessful candidates may only appeal against the outcome of an Assessment if they believe that:

    • 6.1 the candidate’s performance was affected through extenuating circumstances that could not have been reasonably reported at the time of Assessment.
    • 6.2 The Assessment was not conducted in accordance with the prescribed guidance.

    Appeals against the decision of an Assessor should be made, in writing to the Director of Short Courses at within fourteen days of the date of the assessment. The appeal will be investigated by a member of the Awards team not connected to the delivery of that particular Award or Assessment and the result communicated to the candidate. The Academy’s decision in relation to this appeal will be final and there is no further right of appeal.

    Further information for Candidates

    RADA welcomes applications for Awards from people of all backgrounds. RADA welcomes applications from candidates of all abilities and, to enable the provision of additional support as appropriate, encourages applicants to disclose relevant information regarding any disability when completing their application form, in order to ensure they have everything needed to get the most out of their Award assessment and experience. Dyslexic applicants must submit a full report from a chartered educational psychologist with their application. Candidates should note that the RADA Awards are a developmental teaching tool stemming from the Academy’s decades of offering drama training and not a formal qualification regulated by Ofqual. The Awards are not offered by RADA as preparation for or a requirement of entry to its full-time acting programmes: obtaining a RADA Award is in no way a qualification for RADA’s 3-year acting degree course, as the processes of assessment are entirely unrelated; and admission to RADA’s Foundation Course in Acting and BA (Hons) Acting is by audition.