Quick Links: General Sites | Online Texts | Lesson Plans
General SitesIn Search of Shakespeare is a companion site to the four-part Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) series on William Shakespeare. An extensive timeline includes biographies of people and places important to the playwright's life and discussions of primary documents used in the research. A complete list of Shakespeare's works features short synopses and 25 video clips from the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC). A teachers' section, developed in partnership with the Folger Shakespeare Library, comprises six thematic strands: Shakespeare's Language, Shakespeare on Film, Performance, Primary Sources, Teaching Shakespeare to Elementary Students, and Teaching Shakespeare with Technology.
Shakespeare: Subject to Change is an entertaining interactive multimedia exploration of some aspects of Shakespeare's works. A section on Shakespeare's language presents words and expressions that the playwright originated, such as "What the dickens?," "Dead as a doornail," "cold-blooded", "puke," and "zany." Users can find out how and by whom Shakespeare's wording was changed, and compare different text versions. Another section leads students through an analysis of two film interpretations of Hamlet.
Shakespeare for Kids, from the Folger Shakespeare Library, provides Shakespeare resources for younger students. Simple facts about Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth, jigsaw puzzles and coloring pages from images in the Folger's library, and definitions of some "weird words" from the Bard are among the features. Printable activities, such as creating Shakespearean insults-"Thou greasy, clay-brained rabbit-sucker"-or compliments-"Thou fruitful, honey-tongued pigeon-egg"-may be popular with some students. Also included are simple scenes for students to act from several Shakespeare plays.
The University of Victoria's Shakespeare's Life and Times provides a very extensive biography and lots of background information, such as "The History of the Histories" and in-depth exploration of issues in some of the plays.
The Arts and Humanities Data Service Performing Arts Collections at the University of Glasgow provide several databases for Shakespeare research. Scroll down to "Theatre and Drama resources" and then choose a database:
- Designing Shakespeare was developed to illustrate the rich history of theatre design for Shakespeare's plays during the last 40 years of the previous century. It offers images and information from many performances, audio and video interviews with set designers, and VRML models of theatre sets.
- The Royal Shakespeare Company Archives is a detailed record of all performances of the RSC and its predecessors in Stratford from 1879 to the present, including full cast lists and bibliographic data relating to contemporary reviews for productions up to 1990.
- The King Lear Performance Photographs Collection features photographs of performances by the RSC from 1976-1993.
Much Ado About Something explores the continuing controversy over the actual identity of Shakespeare. This site, from PBS's Frontline, examines the life of Christopher Marlowe, and features a teacher's guide that invites teachers and students to think about both the political and literary ramifications of the authorship question and about the nature of Shakespeare's language. The site includes a link to The Shakespeare Mystery, another Frontline site that examines the case for Edward De Vere as author of Shakespeare's works.
The Shakespeare Authorship Roundtable briefly presents various views on the identity of the author of the Shakespeare canon.
Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, from the University of Reading (UK), tells the story of the original Globe theatre, including details such as the dimensions of the theatre and a selection of Renaissance illustrations showing London, the Globe Theatre, and the other London playhouses. The site also gives information about the building of the New Globe, a reconstruction project that was finished in 1997. This section includes a virtual tour of the Globe and photographs and detailed information about the parts of the theatre.
Encyclopedia Britannica's Shakespeare and the Globe site provides information about Shakespeare, his plays, the Globe Theatre, and the Elizabethan period. The site contains more than 500 articles and essays; more than 200 photographs, drawings, and maps; and several dozen audio and video recordings. The Special Features section includes interactive maps, such as one that shows the settings of Shakespeare's plays.
This online exhibition presents images from director Peter Brook's 1970 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream by the RSC. It illustrates design and production choices that made Brook's work a landmark in contemporary theatre history, and shows how his production contrasted with those that preceded it and influenced those that came after. The exhibition is part of the British Library's Touchstone site.
The Shakespeare Home Page, from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, features information about Shakespeare's life, including a discussion of what he looked like and the history of some well-known images of the playwright. Another section gives photographs and descriptions of houses connected with Shakespeare's family in the Stratford-upon-Avon area.
The Library of Congress Exhibit The New Deal Stage features artifacts from several productions of Hamlet by the Federal Theatre Project from 1935-1939. Included are playbills, production notebooks, photographs, and sketches of costume and set design. A special article, The Play that Electrified Harlem, tells the story of the all-black version of Hamlet directed by Orson Welles and set in 19th century Haiti.
Mr. William Shakespeare and the Internet provides many resources, including a list of Shakespeare's works and approximate dates of publication, a biography, a genealogical chart, and a timeline that places the events of Shakespeare's life in historical context. Many links to academic Shakespeare sites on the Internet also are listed.
Shakespeare at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre: 1906-1960 includes historic photographs from Shakespeare performances at this theatre in England. This exhibition is from the British Library's Touchstone site for Shakespeare resources.
The Royal Shakespeare Company Web site provides basic information about Shakespeare, as well as plot synopses for his plays. The Explore section presents details about Shakespeare's life and about some of the well-known plays, including photographs, character lists, and other details about performances. The Resource Library provides packets of information for teachers for many of Shakespeare's works.
The English Renaissance in Context (ERIC) site, from the Schoenberg Center for Electronic Text and Image, features a set of multimedia tutorials on some of Shakespeare's plays and on the making and selling of books during the Early Modern period. These are fascinating but appropriate for teachers or advanced students only; be ready to use the pause button! The tutorials are linked to a database of scanned texts from the University of Pennsylvania's Furness Shakespeare Library.
The BBC's Bitesize English Literature site features units on Hamlet, Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing,Othello, Romeo and Juliet and The Merchant of Venice, designed to help British high school students with Shakespeare studies.
Education Opportunities from the Utah Shakespeare Festival includes study guides for many plays.
The Elizabethan Theatre is an illustrated lecture by Dr. Hilda Spear of the University of Dundee, Scotland, which gives an introduction to the context in which Shakespeare produced his works.
Online TextsThe Complete Works of William Shakespeare are provided online by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT's) student newspaper The Tech.
Shakespeare Resources at the Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library include early Quartos, the complete 1623 First Folio, and early playhouse promptbooks. A "frames" function gives a side-by-side presentation of the First Folio and Globe Edition of Shakespeare's works, for easy comparison.
The University of Victoria's Internet Shakespeare Editions provides texts of early published versions of Shakespeare's plays in their original spelling and works the playwright used as sources. The site also includes an introduction to Shakespeare's life and times.
Macbeth Plugged s is an online version of the play that includes links to a glossary of terms, a summary of each scene, and a list of character descriptions. The site was created by high school students for theThinkQuest contest.
Lesson PlansTeaching Shakespeare, from the Folger Shakespeare Library, provides lesson plans and suggestions from teachers and Folger staff. The Primary Sources section allows users to browse documents in the Library's archives, accompanied by teacher-generated suggestions on how to use them in the classroom. Most lessons are at the high school level, but some for elementary classes are included. Be sure to check the Archives, which is where most lessons are found. Registered users may join a discussion with other teachers from around the country.
Rewriting Romeo and Juliet is an excellent WebQuest designed for high school English students. Groups of students are challenged to update one scene from the play into a more current time period: the Wild West, 1920's Chicago, 1950's Suburbia, or 1960's Counterculture. They must then pitch their idea to Hollywood studio executives, including performing the scene and creating a Theatrical Portfolio. Student roles include the linguist, the artistic designer, the director, and the historian.
Shakespeare's Macbeth: Fear and the 'Dagger of the Mind' is a lesson plan for grades 9-12 from the National Endowment for the Humanities' EDSITEMent website for teachers. This lesson is designed to help students understand how Shakespeare's language dramatizes one emotion: fear. Many other lesson plans may be found on this site by entering "Shakespeare" on the search page. Other lessons include Hamlet Meets Chushingura: Traditions of the Revenge Tragedy (gr. 9-12), Shakespeare's Othello and the Power of Language (gr. 9-12), and more.
Hamlet on the Ramparts provides a collection of texts, images, and film relevant to Hamlet's first encounter with the Ghost (Act 1, scenes 4 and 5). The site was created by the MIT Shakespeare Project and includes electronic texts of three major modern editions, page images of The First Folio, The First Quarto, The Second Quarto, artwork, photographs, and sequences from three film versions-the Forbes-Robertson film of 1913, the Svend Gade adaptation of 1920, and the filmed record of the Richard Burton-John Gielgud production of 1964. The site also features lesson plans and interactive tutorials.
Last updated 10/26/2010
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