When the Hurly Burly is Done: Shakespeare in the Classroom

Author: Dr Wendy Michaels, Publisher: Phoenix

This work throws down the gauntlet to all those concerned with the study of Shakespeare’s plays. It invites them to enter the lists, pole to the ready and engage in the sport.

The work is divided into two main parts. Part One focuses on the first encounter with Shakespeare’s plays and is directed at middle secondary years although suggested approaches are readily adaptable to other levels. It is not presented as a script to be slavishly followed. Piece out its imperfections with your own thoughts and improvise to suit your own space and needs.

Part Two outlines some teaching strategies derived from drama games and theatre sports which can be readily adapted to explorations of any text.

Finally there are some suggested units of work that can be implemented or improvised in the classroom.


Prologue the second

Prologue the first

Part One

  • ...in five acts with an epilogue

Part Two

  • The Wooden O, theatrical form, social and cultural context, public and private theatres, the thrust stage, doors, pillars, roof, players, non-naturalistic acting style, soliloquy, aside, on stage audience, costumes, role doubling, fluid scenes, lightened auditorium, stage directions, play-within play, rhymed verse, blank verse, line sharing, iambic pentameter, prose, play adaptations, language.

Part Three

  • The Theatre, language, narration, investigative reporting, visual recording, sculpting, frames, storyboarding, blocking, model making, designing,composing, casting, improvising, reading,producing, film/video, audio tapes, adapting the text, writing, planning a unit of work

Part Four

  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, Macbeth, Henry IV Part 1; blocking plans, reviews

About the Author

Dr Wendy Michaels is an Honorary Research Fellow in the School of Humanities, Faculty of Education and Arts at the University of Newcastle, where she previously lectured in English, Drama, Creative Writing and Gender Studies. She is currently the Heritage Convenor for The Women’s Club Sydney and Director of the Rose Scott Women Writers Festival. She was formerly English Inspector, NSW Board of Studies and National Education Director, Shakespeare Globe Centre Australia. Her awards include the National Council of Women Recognition Award for Promoting the Status of Women, 2014, JEDA Award for Drama Writing, 2012, Minister for Education and Training Quality Tertiary Teaching Award, 2005, and Drama NSW Life Member, 2004.

Wendy’s publications include Playbuilding Shakespeare 1996, King Lear: On the Page and on the Stage, 1995, Played upon Shakespeare’s Stage. 1994, Teaching Shakespeare, 1993, Gaze on Cleopatra, 1992, The Dogs of War, 1991, The Theme of Honours Tongue, 1991, Played Upon a Stage, 1990, Inside Drama, 1987.

More Information
Year Level Year 7, Year 8, Year 9, Year 10
Date of Publication 2016
ISBN 9781925169089
Subject English