The Playing's The Thing: Teaching Shakespeare Through Performance and Play

Dawson, Megan
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Although teaching Shakespeare is a requirement in English Classrooms in the US, many students struggle to enjoy Shakespeare or reap the intended benefits from his works. To combat student distaste and disinterest in Shakespeare, English classrooms should eliminate the text from the classroom and switch from a primarily reading-focused method of study to performance methods. Not all performance methods are the same, and there are different strategies and approaches to help teachers teach Shakespeare through performance. These include The Folger Method, The Royal Shakespeare Company’s Rehearsal Room Practices, and other unnamed approaches like using prop boxes or teaching Shakespeare through YouTube. These methods are defined, dissected, and discussed in this thesis along with sample lesson plans for each method. Teaching Shakespeare in these ways will have tremendous benefits for students. Performing Shakespeare can make the works feel relevant to students’ lives, can help them better understand the language and themes, can increase their confidence, and can engage them in ways that reading cannot.
Shakespeare, performing arts, education, English, drama, theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Folger Shakespeare Library, lesson plans, literature, Honors College
Dawson, M. (2020). The playing's the thing: Teaching Shakespeare through performance and play (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.