Teaching Shakespeare!

A Folger Education Blog

Posts Categorized: Shakespeare

"Have you heard the argument? Is there no offence in 't?"

~Hamlet Folger Theatre hosts student matinees for their innovative productions each season. School groups attend in droves to see fresh life breathed into Shakespeare’s texts, or a creative new concept or setting which sets the production apart from others. Occasionally, however, an audience member at one of these performances will take offense to an interpretation, a… Continue Reading »


Dear Will: Are my discourses dull?

We are about halfway through the fall semester of the High School Fellowship Program. Every year we bring students from public and private schools from DC, MD, and VA to study three Shakespeare plays from three perspectives: scholar, performer, and audience member. The students all bring unique ideas to the table and challenge themselves and… Continue Reading »


Shakespeare WAS an Adapter

Shakespeare is one of the most recognized figures in literature, and his works have been adapted and adapted and adapted over and over and over again for the last 400 years by people interested in exploring the stories and characters in new ways. And that is exactly what Shakespeare did, as well. However, Shakespeare didn’t… Continue Reading »


Bless thee! Thou art Translated!

They’re everywhere: No Fear Shakespeare, Simply Shakespeare, Translated Shakespeare. There are teachers who truly believe that their students can’t understand Shakespeare’s 400 year-old words, and turn to updated adaptations which give students the gist of the story, but none of the original poetry. I used to be ok with it. I thought that as long… Continue Reading »


Shakespeare Set Free Workshops

When teachers attend one of Folger Education’s Shakespeare Set Free  workshops, they are introduced to instructional strategies and activities for their classrooms that are designed to help students engage with Shakespeare’s language, build confidence in their ability to read and make meaning of the plays, and have fun while doing so.  Teachers actually do the… Continue Reading »


Folger Education in the UK

Bob Young and I were invited to speak at the Cambridge Shakespeare Conference: Sources and Adaptations from September 9-11 at Homerton College, part of Cambridge University. In our presentation, part of “Teaching Shakespeare in America,” we demonstrated some of the innovative approaches to teaching Shakespeare that we have developed. Here are the other Education presentations: Shakespeare’s… Continue Reading »


Which Imitates What?

Yesterday was our Theatre’s first rehearsal for Othello, where the non-Production staff of the Folger gets to learn what the upcoming production’s concept, design, and themes will look like. We can often see more of ourselves in our history than in a reflection of our present. This will not be a “modern-setting” Shakespeare where the men… Continue Reading »


Famous Actors/Famous Shakespeare Characters

Ralph Fiennes is taking on the role of Prospero in The Tempest.  As you may remember, Fiennes plays the role of Voldemort in the Harry Potter movies.  According to an interview he did for BBC Radio 4’s Front Row,  “He hopes young Potter fans, who are not usually interested in Shakespeare, could be drawn to the… Continue Reading »


Lend me your ears!

This afternoon, Lucretia asked me if I knew of any audiobooks of Shakespeare’s plays for kids. One of this year’s Shakespeare Steps Out teachers had asked for recommendations for the listening stations for students in her class. When I was a kid (and I think it’s been well-established that young Caitlin had more than a little… Continue Reading »


A Storm of Words

The weather on the east coast has been particularly nasty this week. The wind blows, the lightning cracks, and the rain spit-spouts onto every surface. Soggy socks and gray skies can lead to bored students, though, but with a little help from Bill’s Buddies, I think I’ve found a way to make the weather more… Continue Reading »