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This content is taken from the King's College London, Shakespeare's Globe & British Library's online course, Shakespeare: Print and Performance. Join the course to learn more.

How We Access Shakespeare - Poll Results

Before the MOOC began, we sent you a poll to complete about ways you’d accessed Shakespeare. So far, 151 people have answered and accessing Shakespeare through print is top of the list with 89% of respondents having read a play or play script.

Live performance comes second with 90% of respondents having experienced a production of a play live at the theatre. This is perhaps unsurprising considering that many of us study Shakespeare at school and that the number of productions of Shakespeare each year tends to be high and widespread.

However, a high numbers of learners also stated that they had encountered Shakespeare in performance through non-live mediums including seeing films at cinema, on television, and on DVD.

I was interested to see that 40% of respondents had accessed Shakespeare via a live cinema broadcast despite this being a relatively new medium. And then whilst other new media such as YouTube, internet downloads, and online live streams did feature lower in the results, these had all been used to access Shakespeare.

The fact that 12% of people selected other methods shows that this list is certainly not exhaustive, and I’ll be incredibly interested to hear in the discussion the other methods and media by which you’ve encountered Shakespeare. Of course, a poll such as this can only give a limited snapshot of the ways in which audiences are accessing Shakespeare, and the impact that this may have had on their perception of Shakespeare.

In the discussion, you might want to think about how your own encounters with Shakespeare have shaped your perceptions, understandings, and enthusiasms. Is it important to you, for example, to encounter Shakespeare live? Or do you value access over the live experience? Do you associate certain kinds of Shakespeare adaptation with different media? And are your viewing habits changing because of new methods available to you?

I’m really looking forward to reading your own reactions to the poll results and hearing about the other ways that you’ve accessed Shakespeare in the discussion. It’s been really fascinating to read peoples defining accounts with Shakespeare shared on Twitter and in the welcome discussions. Please do keep sharing and discussing these. It will be interesting and extremely useful to draw on this diversity of experience throughout this course.

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This article is from the free online course:

Shakespeare: Print and Performance

King's College London