Teaching Shakespeare!

A Folger Education Blog

Posts Categorized: Shakespeares-plays

Ghostly Shakespeare

Shakespeare wrote some pretty scary stuff. Besides the chilling Witches in Macbeth, he wrote in several roles for ghosts. We’re familiar with the Ghost of Hamlet’s father, which appears and re-appears to spur Hamlet onto revenge (and may have been played by Shakespeare himself when the play was produced by his company). There is also… Continue Reading »


Orson Welles and Macbeth

Orson Welles had a love affair with Macbeth.  Many teachers know him from the 1948 feature film which he both directed and played the title role. Sure it’s in black & white, and yes he rearranges scenes, seems to make up bits of dialogue , and even leaves the witches out of act 4, scene 1… Continue Reading »


Shakespeare's "Lesser Known Gems"

Students in our High School Fellowship program are studying Henry VIII, Pericles, and Richard III this year.  One of my colleagues in the Education Division described the plays to potential students in the program as being among Shakespeare’s “lesser known gems.”  Richard III is most likely better known and more often staged than either Pericles  or… Continue Reading »


Macbeth at the Movies

Having a sneak peek behind the scenes of a theatrical production is always exciting. The special features on the DVD of the 2008 Folger/Two River production of Macbeth – designed especially with students and teachers in mind – reveal some of the thought processes and deliberations that went on before rehearsals began. Some features also… Continue Reading »


Henry VIII: All is True?

After an incredible summer with the Teaching Shakespeare Institute, the Folger has been overtaken by Tudor-mania! The current exhibition, Vivat Rex!, commemorates the 500th anniversary of Henry’s ascension to the throne of England, and the Theatre is rehearsing Shakespeare’s Henry VIII, also known as All is True. With all the pop-culture fervor for the polygamist king, it… Continue Reading »


Litmus Test for Romeo and Juliet

My litmus test for a good production of Romeo and Juliet is whether or not the beauty of the balcony scene can help me forget—for the moment—Act 5.


Teaching Shakespeare and ELL/ESL Students

Teaching Shakespeare to students whose native language is not English can be a real challenge for teachers.  Last year we received a number of requests for resources to help teachers introduce Shakespeare to ELL/ESL students.  In response to those requests, we created new web pages on our Teach and Learn site.   Teachers with experience teaching ELL/ESL… Continue Reading »


I have seen tempests,

…when the scolding winds Have rived the knotty oaks, and I have seen The ambitious ocean swell and rage and foam, To be exalted with the threatening clouds: ~Julius Caesar I.iii It certainly has been a tempestuous beginning to the summer!  DC has seen lots of rain, we had our first ever George Didden Capitol… Continue Reading »


Hamlet on Film (part 2)

As I mentioned yesterday, not every filmic presentation of HAMLET is wholly the play by Shakespeare, just like the play and novel adaptations are not!  The first is The Lion King.  While not so clear at first (and certainly with much happier music), the plot of the prince usurped by his evil uncle is a… Continue Reading »


Hamlet on Film (part 1)

Films offer directors and actors a chance to take their ideas either to a totally unrealistic setting and space, or to make the piece entirely real.  Both Michael Almereyda and Franco Zeffirelli accomplish the later with their heavily realistic films in the modern day and in a medieval castle.  Their actors are able to speak… Continue Reading »