Complete Shakespearience & CD

Author: Peter Thomas, Publisher: Phoenix

The Complete Shakespearience is a practical guide to teaching Shakespeare in the secondary school. Peter Thomas provides a stage-by-stage programme for introducing students to Shakespeare as a living dramatist for a popular audience. Using practical drama techniques for classroom, individual and group work, the book shows how to make  Shakespeare’s scriptcraft the basis for satisfying activities which appeal to all students.

Starting from the principle that Shakespeare was an entertainer and impresario, and that his original audience enjoyed theatre as a physical, visual and auditory experience, this book creates a sequence of classroom activities to promote confidence and enjoyment in performances which do not need great dramatic skill but which get to the heart of Shakespeare's dramatic genius. Beginning with a section on building confidence, there are further exercises in voice, action and group practice, as well as reading to appreciate Shakespeare's stagecraft and how his scenarios relate to our 21st century world.

The Complete Shakespearience also offers edited versions of many scenes from a range of plays which can be presented, practised and performed as stand-alone dramatic experiences. In the upper secondary school, these can form the basis for written and/or Speaking and Listening work and lay the foundation for further study.

A chapter on The Screened Shakespearience will serve as a valuable guide to what is available on film and offers ways to explore and compare both film and stage versions of the plays. The section on Shakespearience for teachers provides a section of short articles on aspects of Shakespeare's thought and writing that will develop the subject specialist expertise of any secondary English teacher.

The chapter on assessment is directed at UK examinations but nevertheless has a lot of valuable suggestions which can be applied in any context.

An accompanying CD contains adaptable, photocopiable material from the book which will help teachers create resources and use scripts in the classroom.

Peter Thomas has had a lifetime's career in teaching, teacher training, writing and curriculum development for the Gifted and Talented. He was formerly a Lecturer in the Institute for Learning at Hull University and now works from Cumbria as an educational consultant.


Throughout the book, the CD icon is used to indicate that there is electronic copy available on the CD which contains files of resources separated by chapters 1-8 as listed below. Click on 'How to use this CD' to find a full list of contents.

1. Introduction

  • Getting Shakespeare into them and them into Shakespeare                           
  • Shakespeare, youngsters, culture and literary heritage                                   
  • Shakespeare and education in general                                                               
  • Shakespeare and 'English'                                                                                       
  • Shakespeare and dramatic tradition                                                                     
  • Shakespeare the impresario                                                                                   
  • A manifesto for classroom Shakespearience                                                                                                                                     

2. The close Shakespearience: teaching Shakespeare in the classroom

  • Developing confidence                                                                                           
  • Preparing the ground                                                                                              
  • Approaching the play - some guidelines                                                              
  • Starting with beginnings - understanding scriptcraft                                        
  • Voice practice: speaking Shakespeare                                                                  
  • Shakespearian Insult Kit                                                                                          
  • Elizabethan and modern: a glossary of common 17th century words           
  • Practise your Elizabethan                                                                                       
  • Action practice: doing Shakespeare                                                                      
  • Getting a grip on story structure and detail                                                        
  • Responding to textual cues: miming The Tempest                                             
  • Story through tableau and mime to performance                                             
  • Group practice: sharing Shakespeare                                                                  
  • Getting it together: performance of a Shakespeare text                                  
  • The tragic love and death of Pyramus and Thisby                                             
  • The Mechanicals' first rehearsal                                                                            
  • Reading practice: appreciating Shakespeare                                                     
  • Working with sound cues                                                                                       
  • Imagery                                                                                                                       
  • Syntactical patterning                                                                                             
  • Embedded stage directions                                                                                    
  • Advanced embedded stage directions for performance                                  
  • Relating Shakespeare to our world                                                                             
  • Creating a context 1: the press conference                                                                
  • Creating a context 2: chairing a meeting                                                                   
  • Shakespeare's stagecraft and dramatic devices                                                          
  • Props for revealing and concealing                                                                          
  • The repertoire of devices                                                                                           
  • The ultimate in theatrical craftsmanship
3. The collaborative Shakespearience: working with scenes

  • Ten scripts for classroom study and performance - introduction                               
  • Men and women
  • How do you get a man/woman to change his/her mind? (from Much Ado About Nothing)
  • A tricky business of some rings (from The Merchant of Venice)                                    
  • The best way to train a woman? (from The Taming of the Shrew)                                 
  • Schemes and plots
  • Falstaff and the robbery (from Henry IV Part 1)                                                         
  • Falstaff the Great Lover (from The Merry Wives of Windsor)                                        
  • Getting his garters in a twist (from Twelfth Night)                                                      
  • Wit and witlessness
  • Life, death, some dreadful jokes and a song in a graveyard (from Hamlet)                 
  • Maintaining law and order (from Much Ado About Nothing)                                       
  • Getting on in politics
  • How to get elected (from Coriolanus)                                                                          
  • How to do it/How not to do it: Roman public relations (from Julius Caesar)            

4. The screened Shakespearience

  • The range of digital and screen resources                                                                
  • Focus and use                                                                                                          
  • Romeo and Juliet                                                                                                    
  • Twelfth Night                                                                                                          
  • Richard III                                                                                                              
  • Using multiple screen versions                                                                                 
  • Hamlet                                                                                                                   
  • Othello                                                                                                                    

5. Alternative Shakespeariences

  • Hamlet variations                                                                                                 
  • Shakespeare's developing stagecraft: textual variants                                           
  • Textual adaptation: ancient and modern                                                              
  • Reduced versions of Hamlet for performance                                                        
  • Graphic Shakespeares                                                                                          
  • Alternative responses to texts                                                                               
  • Finding your own Shakespearience                                                                       
  • The RSC Shakespeare                                                                                          

6. Shakespearience for teachers: the wider picture

  • Shakespeare, the man, his mind and his craft                                                       
  • Shakespeare, himself in his poems                                                                       
  • Shakespeare on writing and drama                                                                       
  • Holding the mirror up to nature 1: the way we live                                              
  • Holding the mirror up to nature 2: how we speak and write                                  
  • Shakespeare the thinker                                                                                       
  •  History                                                                                                           
  •  Politics                                                                                                          
  •  The world without and within                                                                        
  • Shakespeare's imagery - using what his audience knew                                          
  • Shakespeare, life and theatre                                                                               
  • Shakespeare himself - a personal view of this bloke from the Midlands                       

7. Shakespearience and examinations

  • GCSE                                                                                                                   
  • Assessment Objectives                                                                                        
  • Grade criteria                                                                                                    
  • Teaching and learning priorities                                                                           
  • Controlled assessment                                                                                       
  • Awarding body recommendations for suitable approaches                                   
  • A level                                                                                                                  

8. A selective Shakespeare bibliography

More Information
ISBN 9781904709275
Subject English