Teaching Shakespeare!

A Folger Education Blog

Posts Categorized: Shakespeare

Play, Play, Play

~by Kevin J. Costa Sometimes I wonder if the performance-based approach to teaching Shakespeare, which we promote at the Folger, is seen only as an “entry-level” tool for students and teachers intimidated by Shakespeare. For sure, this is a major audience. But performance-based work on Shakespeare doesn’t have to stop there. In fact, I think… Continue Reading »


"You Shall Piece it Out With a Piece of Your Performance"

There are parts of my middle school English curriculum that I find to be really boring to teach.  For example: grammar.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m as much a geek for grammar as the next – but teaching it can be a drag… explaining rules, drilling through sentences, fighting the wavering attention spans… When… Continue Reading »


The Bard is Alive and Well

Ben Jonson once wrote of Shakespeare, “He was not of an age, but for all time.”  Now, almost 400 years after Shakespeare’s death, we live in a world where it gets more difficult every day to convince students of the Bard’s relevance. Cell phones, iPads, and video games seem to have taken center stage in… Continue Reading »


Audio Shakespeare

We’ve been thinking a lot about the benefit of having students listen to Shakespeare’s language.  With the recent release of the digital edition of Othello, we are in the process of producing an audio recording of the play that follows the Folger edition.  The goal is to enable students to read and hear the text… Continue Reading »


Filming the Text

~by Rick Vanderwall My fall semester Introduction to Literature students were a great group. This course is a required, entry level lit course for first year students.  Everybody takes this course and instructors are encouraged to develop unique, engaging themes for the course. I came up with “Journeys through Danger, Temptation, and Violence”. Although this… Continue Reading »


"Shall we go draw our numbers, and set on?"

~by Julia Perlowski (title quote from Henry IV, part 2) In my high school honors English class, my well-meaning teacher decided to have us read Macbeth.  I was thrilled.  I had been in classes where teachers played records of famous Shakespearean monologues read by famous people with thick British accents.   Who can forget “Oh, pardon… Continue Reading »


Titus Andronicus

In a recent article in The Guardian (1/1/13), Brian Cox talks about his first performance for the Royal Shakespeare Company, playing the lead character in Titus Andronicus which, if you’ve read some of my other blog entries, you’ll remember is my favorite Shakespeare play. Cox notes that the role of Titus was “… the most… Continue Reading »


Is Shakespeare Literature?

~ By Kevin J Costa Late this fall, at McDonogh School where I teach drama and run the Institute for Shakespeare and Renaissance Studies, my Institute students and I were talking about AP exams. And then one junior asked, “would it be acceptable to write about Shakespeare on an English AP exam?” You just smiled while… Continue Reading »


Sneaking Shakespeare

~by Gregg Long These days, Shakespeare has a rather furtive presence in my classroom. Like designer jeans smuggled behind the Berlin Wall, we pull out our copies of Hamlet or the sonnets on the side, with an eye cocked towards the door. Not out of any guilt on our part: you can use The Bard… Continue Reading »


Shakespeare’s Soliloquies: The Original Cutaways?

~by Josh Cabat It is a trope with which we have become extremely familiar, from endless reality shows higher quality fare like Modern Family and The Office. A scene is played out, only to be interrupted by what in the business is known as a cutaway. Here, the character breaks the fourth wall, addresses the… Continue Reading »