‘Eke out our performance with your mind’: Teaching Shakespeare in the New Millennium

Diana Denley


There are hundreds of How-to-Teach-Shakespeare books flooding the market, and more tomes pile up annually. Some are geared to elementary and high school teachers, others to teachers of literature and drama at tertiary level, and of course many too are aimed at current performers of Shakespeare. Having directed or performed about half of Shakespeare’s canon, as well as having created many anthology plays based on his work, I am constantly on the lookout for new ways to bring life to Shakespeare. I have also been privileged to work at London’s rebuilt Globe Theatre. Although the experience of playing Shakespeare outdoors is not new, that of playing in this reconstructed space is, and lessons from that experience cannot help but have affected all my subsequent work and readings. This article will examine five recent texts that, with varying levels of success, discuss varying approaches to opening up his works. The scope is wide and the authors aim to assist both teachers and students of Shakespeare, whether from a practical hands-on approach to the text or through an analytical theoretical approach.

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