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Shakespeare: Print and Performance

As part of Shakespeare400, learn about Shakespeare in print and performance around the world, from early modern times to today.

24,327 enrolled on this course

Shakespeare: Print and Performance
  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    2 hours

Why do we continue to read and perform Shakespeare’s works around the world today? How were his plays performed and printed 400 years ago, and how has our conception of Shakespeare changed over the centuries?

As part of the Shakespeare400 consortium of events, marking 400 years since his death, King’s College London has partnered with Shakespeare’s Globe and the British Library to explore how Shakespeare’s works continue to delight audiences around the world.

Join academics, curators, publishers, actors, musicians and theatre directors, as we find out more about Shakespeare’s early modern world and consider his construction as a global icon today.

Go behind-the-scenes at The Globe

We will take you on to the stage of the Globe Theatre, to find out about performance practices both in the present day capital and in Early Modern London.

We’ll meet practitioners at the Globe and we’ll step into the world of the early modern actor to examine the processes and conditions that were at the heart of the Shakespearean playhouse.

Explore rarely-seen priceless manuscripts

The British Library has given us exclusive access to some some priceless manuscripts and early printed texts in their archives. We’ll also discover how the early modern book trade shaped the journey of Shakespeare’s text from stage to page.

Share your own insights with other learners

‘Global Shakespeares’ is one of the key themes which we will explore on the course. When you join Shakespeare: Print and Performance, you will become part of a diverse international learning community, and we will draw on everyone’s experiences of Shakespeare to enrich our discussion.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds “Oh, young Prince Hamlet, the only flower of Denmark. He is bereft of all the wealth he had! The jewel that adorned his feature most is filched and stol’n away– his wits bereft him. He found me walking in the gallery all alone.” Shakespeare was one of the most successful playwrights of his generation. And today he continues to delight readers and audiences all around the world. As part of the Shakespeare 400 season of events, King’s College London has partnered with Shakespeare’s Globe and the British Library to explore his place on the page and on the stage, both in the early modern period and now, in the 21st century.

Skip to 0 minutes and 51 seconds Join academics, curators, publishers, actors, musicians, and theater directors as we find out more about Shakespeare’s early modern world and consider his construction as a global icon today. “What is your pleasure, madam?” “You know, Helen, I am a mother to you.” “Mine honorable mistress.” “Nay, a mother– why not a mother? When I said a mother, methought you saw a serpent.” We’ll take you onto the stage of the Globe Theater to find out about performance practices, both in the present day capital and in early modern London. We will explore the role of the publisher and the editor and think about textual transmission through the centuries and the impact this has had on how plays are performed and understood today.

Skip to 1 minute and 40 seconds We’ll take a look at some priceless manuscripts and early printed texts in the British Library archives. And we’ll also discover how the early modern book trade shaped the journey of Shakespeare’s text from stage to page through the centuries. We’ll meet practitioners of The Globe and we’ll step into the world of the early modern actor to examine the processes and conditions that were at the heart of the Shakespearean play house. The words are all you’ve got. And the cues are so little that it hardly tells you anything. So actually, it was quite scary. We hope you’ll join us on this free four-week online course in which we explore Shakespeare’s works in print and in performance.

What topics will you cover?

  • Performing Shakespeares

  • Early Modern Print

  • Shakespeare in Print Today

  • Global/Local Shakespeares

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Reflect on Shakespeare as a global cultural icon
  • Discuss early modern performance practices and the development of the theatre industry
  • Investigate how the print industry developed in early modern England
  • Discuss early modern literary culture and the ‘instability’ of the early modern play text
  • Evaluate the impact of editorial policy on the way in which Shakespeare is read and performed today
  • Explore Shakespeare in performance around the world today

Who is the course for?

A curiosity and interest in William Shakespeare’s works are the only prerequisites you need to join this course!

Familiarity with Shakespeare’s works or prior study relating to Shakespeare will be helpful, though not essential.

Who will you learn with?

Dr Sarah Lewis is Lecturer in Shakespeare and Early Modern Literature at King’s College London.

I am Professor of English and Director of the London Shakespeare Centre at King's College London and academic director, Shakespeare400. I have published widely on Shakespeare and his contemporaries.

Who developed the course?

King's College London

King’s College London, established in 1829 and a founding college of the University of London, is one of the world’s leading research and teaching universities, based in the very heart of London.

Shakespeare's Globe

Founded by the pioneering American actor and director Sam Wanamaker, Shakespeare’s Globe is a unique international resource dedicated to the exploration of Shakespeare’s work.

British Library

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world’s greatest research libraries.

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