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Social Roundup: The Public Weighs in on How Shakespeare Should Be Taught in Schools

How do YOU think young people should be exposed to Shakespeare?

Social Roundup: The Public Weighs in on How Shakespeare Should Be Taught in Schools

As BroadwayWorld reported last week, Dame Helen Mirren recently chatted with Royal Shakespeare Company's artistic director Gregory Doran over Zoom, stating, "I don't think Shakespeare should be taught in schools. All young people's experience of Shakespeare should be live theatre."

Mirren believes that a classroom setting may pose a challenge when trying to make the "sometimes archaic language alive and accessible." She said that "droning through" Shakespeare at the age of 11 or 12 risks making children dislike the work forever. Instead, she suggests that children's first experiences with Shakespeare should be watching, rather than reading.

Mirren's thoughts on the Bard have caused quite a stir, inciting a range of response on social media. Check out just a few:

Johnny Hohenstein: "Yes, encourage students to SEE IT LIVE when theatre is back in full swing. The language is not meant to be read aloud by 15 year olds sitting in class a classroom and still comprehended. Let them experience it being performed!"

Elliot Broadfoot: "I totally agree! My love for Shakespeare came from watching it, but I know so many young people who are turned off by the name because it is analysed in an English class instead of performed in a drama class"

Alberta Brown: "Guess I'm alone! I loved studying Shakespeare! Especially when I had a good teacher who loved it. I liked learning the word-play and what it all meant! When my school skipped reading "Julius Caesar", it was okay because I had read it a year earlier when my brother studied it. I love performances, too!"

Peter Kline: "Shakespeare live is a much richer experience indeed! His works should absolutely remain part of modern English curriculum."

Arron Dixon: "Hard to disagree. While Willy's life, themes and structure are an essential part of English literature. Slogging through Hamlet for 9 months isn't beneficial."

Curtis Romey: "As an English teacher I totally agree and I always start with saying that Shakes was meant to be seen and heard-not read. I do not make my kids read Shakes bc they just butcher it and they need to hear it and experience it. Given that our chances of seeing a live performance in rural Florida, I use filmed performances as I teach it."

Rosalind Elise Parenzan: "I thought Shakespeare was the most antiquated and exhausting thing to read as a teenager and couldn't understand why we still taught it at all. Then I got to hear the brilliance of the iambic pentameter in a live production of Midsummer and it truly breathed life into the text. I don't know when we started divorcing Shakespeare from theatre but it's a real disservice."

Kimberley Cetron: "Agree to disagree. You can certainly use a performance-based approach in the classroom."

How do you think young people should be exposed to Shakespeare?


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