ShakeShops 

What is ShakeShop? 

The purpose of Shakeshop is to teach you HOW to understand (and teach, if desired) Shakespeare that keeps alive the theatrical nature of his work without the theatre! My purpose is to dispel the “I just can’t understand it. Why do they talk so funny?” mantra of our modern culture. My hope is that through your study of Shakespeare, you will learn not just about his work but you will be able to see how, like many other playwrights throughout time, he is a product of and commented on the world that surrounded him. That through the study of his work, you can also integrate studies of history, medicine, law, interpersonal communication, literature, politics and the many other subjects that are inherent to the plays.

Within the volumes of information on Shakespeare available on the market today, you will find the plays, play analyses, how to “act” Shakespeare and “illuminated texts” of the plays. What you will not find is a short, theatrically- based text and online course on how to understand and bring Shakespeare to life in your home or school…until now!

In order to get started learning Shakespeare in a new way, email the creative education office at amanda.murray@14rooms.org.

Why Shakespeare? 

From the National Endowment for the Arts4
It is not in our stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.
— W. Shakespeare
Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.
— John Dewey

Why Shakespeare?

You are sitting in a train station in Stratford-upon-Avon, England completely oblivious to the fact that you are in the presence of genius. There’s a guy in a ruff sitting next to you. He looks odd. Why does he talk so funny? Why does he want to talk about the “firmament fretted with golden fire” (whatever that is!) when you ask him about the weather? Why Shakespeare?...

Indeed! This is a good question to tackle. Why should we read Shakespeare? Why should we learn about Shakespeare and the Renaissance period in England? I will begin by saying that the Renaissance period was important because it was truly a re-birth of more than just classical thought and philosophy but also art and literature. It set the stage for a shift in Western culture that would catapult the world in an entirely new direction.

And, as far as William Shakespeare is concerned, who put it better than Ben Jonson when he remarked upon Shakespeare’s death that he was “not of an age, but for all time.” Shakespeare was hailed as a genius during the Renaissance and, today, students cannot graduate high school without having brushed elbows (sometimes grudgingly) with the Bard.

Shakespeare's Contribution

Shakespeare has contributed so much to the modern Western culture but, unfortunately, his true genius is often hidden from those who see only the “beautiful language” and his work through the study of English. Shakespeare’s language is beautiful. Shakespeare did write mostly in a “poetic” form but Shakespeare wrote for the theatre. This is a crucial point and losing the theatrical elements of the plays to study them as “literature” is missing a large portion of what makes Shakespeare Shakespeare! It is poetry but it is DRAMA first!

Shakespeare is important. I’m not the only one who believes this! Check out these links. View them right here, or click the links to view them in a larger format on YouTube.

If you haven't already, view the video near the top of this page from the National Endowment for the Arts. You may be familiar with many of these people who share some of their insight and passion about a man who has inspired generations of us for hundreds of years. Much of Shakespeare's language appears in our daily conversations! Yes, the depth of his thoughts and his words transcend time. That is his gift to us today... and the mirror he holds up to us giving us greater insight into our own lives and relationships, as well as the world that surrounds us.