Today marks the beginning of Shakespeare Week – a celebration organised by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to give primary school students a great introduction to the bard himself. This is a cause I can definitely relate to – I can hardly remember being taught Shakespeare at primary school but I certainly harboured ambivalent feelings towards William until secondary school…
It was a sunny day in a warm, stuffy classroom. An excited energy filled the room as our Year 7 English class had been told we would be watching a film in class today…and then it came on. Trevor Nunn’s 1996 adaptation of Twelfth Night. Here was Shakespeare that was funny. I could understand what was happening. And there weren’t any maddened kings, boring wars or impossible-to-follow family connections but simply hilarious cases of mistaken identity and lines like “If music be the food of love, play on…”.
Okay so I’ve exercised a little poetic licence here but you get the gist…and since that moment I haven’t been able to get enough of Will and his work. That moment opened up a whole new body of literature to me that I’m still in love with today. Just think about all those wonderful performances, all the sonnets, all those goosebump-inducing lines kids will miss out on if they have a bad first impression of the playwright that they can’t get past.
Anyway, I may not be a teacher but I do think an education in Shakespeare is important (at any age) so here are 5 ways you can indulge in a little Shakespearean drama this week…
- You can stream previous productions from The Globe
As in you can watch performances of Shakespeare…in your home….for about £3. https://www.globeplayer.tv/videos/othello
- You can study Shakespeare for free at FutureLearn
Previous online courses have been taught by eminent Shakespeare academic Jonathan Bate and some even look at the plays in performance, like this one about Much Ado About Nothing: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/much-ado-about-nothing
- You can watch Will brought back to life
(sort of)in Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
I saw this late last year and it was hilarious, full of song and dance and there’s even a dog too!
- You can visit Shakespeare’s birthplace and watch Royal Shakespeare Company productions in his home town
Stratford-Upon-Avon is a magical place for Shakespeare fanatics. I’ve visited his birthplace a couple of times now and it never fails to send chills down my spine. And it’s the perfect way to kill time before a performance at the Royal Shakespeare or Swan Theatres.
- You can grab yourself some Shakespeare jewellery at the Literary Emporium
What better way to show-off your Shakespeare love than with some statement jewellery? Like this Twelfth Night inspired necklace that *might* be in my own jewellery box right now…
You can find out more about the work that the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust does here.