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This content is taken from the British Council's online course, Exploring English: Shakespeare. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 6 secondsWelcome to this Exploring English course on the life and work of William Shakespeare. I'm Anthony Cosgrove, your tutor on this course, and I'm in the house in Stratford-upon-Avon where William Shakespeare was born. In the next six weeks, you'll learn about some of Shakespeare's greatest plays, including "Hamlet" and "Romeo and Juliet." You'll hear from well-known Shakespearean actors, who'll tell us what they love about his plays, and what it's like to perform them in some of the greatest theatres in the world. We'll explore how the work of Shakespeare is enjoyed all around the world, even today, 400 years after his death. And we'll see how Shakespeare has influenced the English we speak today.

Skip to 0 minutes and 56 secondsWe hope you enjoy learning with us, and that you'll share your views and ideas with us, and with other learners around the world, throughout the course.

Welcome to the course

2016 was the four hundredth anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. How did this English playwright come to be loved and studied all over the world? This course looks at the life of Shakespeare and the impact that his work has had over the centuries up to the present day.

In the next six weeks, you will also meet several actors who have appeared in Shakespeare plays all around the world, including in Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Japan. You’ll also hear from Shakespeare experts from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and other institutions.

Along the way we’ll look at some of the words and phrases that Shakespeare introduced to the English language which are still in use today. Quizzes and language explanations will help you practise your own English. Anthony, your video tutor, will guide you through each week’s content.

At almost every step you will be asked to share your opinions, ideas and questions with other learners.

There’s also a chance to interact live with the team, starting with a Facebook Clinic on Tuesday 2 March. You’ll find details of other live events later on in the course.

If this is the first course you’ve taken on FutureLearn, visit the How it works page which explains all about the website’s features.

Meet the team

We have a global team of educators waiting to answer your questions and join your conversations.

Your lead educator on this course is Genevieve White. Genevieve is based in Shetland.

Working with Genevieve on this course are:
Neil McLaren (Slovak Republic)
Tina Pole (Italy)
David Lewis (Romania)
Sally Trowbridge (Spain)

Take a moment now to visit our FutureLearn educator profiles and click the Follow button. That will make it easier for you to see our comments during the course.

Introduce yourself
Now you’ve met us, we’d like to meet you! Post a comment below, telling us:

  • who you are
  • why you’ve joined this course

Click the pink ‘Comments’ link below to read what other learners have said, then post a short comment of your own to tell us about yourself.

There is no assessment on this course. It is our belief that your learning will come from participating in the course activities, sharing your experiences and engaging in discussions with your fellow learners.
However, if you complete at least 50% of the steps in this course you will be eligible to purchase a Statement of Participation, which comes in the form of either a digital or a printed certificate. Just make sure that when you complete each step, you mark it as ‘complete’.

Need some help?
If you need help with anything, try posting your question in a comment, or click the question mark icon in the bottom right-hand corner of the page.

Your progress
This pink button, at the bottom of every step, helps you to keep track of which steps you’ve done. Any steps you’ve completed will turn blue. You can check your progress by clicking the ‘Progress’ button at the top of the page. This tells you what percentage of the course steps you’ve marked as complete.

Well done, you’ve reached the end of this step. Now click the pink ‘Mark as complete’ button below, then click ‘Next’ to move on.

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This video is from the free online course:

Exploring English: Shakespeare

British Council