ShakespeareIs Education Overview

Begin by watching this video introduction from Shakespeare educator, Line Marshall:

This ShakespeareIs Education Site was developed with the generous support of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. Designed specifically for New Jersey teachers, it is open to all lovers and teachers of Shakespeare. Our site draws on the wisdom and the insights of some of the world’s leading Shakespeare practitioners, elicited in many extensive interviews conducted by Peabody-Award winning producer Steve Rowland with actors, directors, playwrights, and scholars. Provocative excerpts from the interviews are woven into resources that will enrich the teaching of Shakespeare.

The important elements are KEYWORD SEARCH (on the right), themes chosen by our advisors that illuminate topics that will be important to English, Language Arts and Theater classes; CLASS ACTIVITIES (below) are launched and electrified by fascinating clips from the interviews; SHAKESPEARE THEATERS (below) gives New Jersey teachers a look at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, and will eventually list theaters around the nation.


We invite you to immerse yourself in this pilot project that brings the extraordinary world of Shakespeare to educators in a new and compelling manner.




Class activities are heightened and triggered by the insights of Steve Rowland’s interviewees.


“The Duke at Bardland” [described by Line Marshall]

by Line Marshall, Columbia High School, Maplewood NJ

Most students find popular music as accessible as they find Shakespeare’s language and meter challenging. This lesson utilizes jazz and popular music to reinforce a previous lesson on the basic technical aspects of iambic pentameter or blank verse. Before starting the lesson, students should have been introduced to the basics of Shakespearean sonnet structure (14-line lyrical poem) and iambic pentameter (i.e. ten syllables per line, alternating stressed and unstressed syllables etc.). Focusing on how Shakespeare’s signature style of poetry and its meter are reinterpreted by more recent composers and musicians renders Shakespeare’s writing style more accessible and relevant to students, thus empowering them to develop their own metrically accurate interpretations in the forms of original sonnets or soliloquies.

Download the full lesson plan for “The Duke at Bardland”


“Shakespeare Diary”  [described by Line Marshall]

by Theresa Wilson, Warren Hills Regional School District, Washington, NJ

The goal of this assignment is to get students to interact with and analyze the situations of Shakespearean characters. The student will select a character and follow that character’s development and decision-making closely throughout the play. The students will then create a diary for that character which describes the narrative of that character, filling in missing information and showing a thorough explanation of the character’s thoughts and actions. The assignment was originally created to be used for Hamlet, but may be used for any play; it may be especially useful as a transitional activity for the student to perform a scene as the character upon which the diary entries are based.

Download the full lesson plan for “Shakespeare Diary”

Download the grading rubric for “Shakespeare Diary”


“Creating the Fairy Kingdom” [described by Brian Crowe]

 by Brian Crowe, Education Director, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey

[Fairy Kingdom intro]

Download the full lesson plan for “Creating the Fairy Kingdom” 





As a leader in arts education, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is committed to providing compelling education programs for all ages, with a special focus on developing future generations of audiences and artists. Taking over the reins of the company in 1990, artistic director Bonnie J. Monte conceived and implemented a major initiative to make education a vital component of the Theatre’s mission. Today, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey offers a variety of interdisciplinary programs for students, educators, artists-in-training and the general public. Many of these programs are interconnected, designed to lead participants through ascending levels of discovery and potential. After more than 20 years and over a half of a million young people directly impacted by this initiative, the stories abound of children and teachers for whom one of these programs was the springboard for personal growth, transformation and inspiration.

We look to the years ahead with great anticipation as we embark on new adventures: expanding our educational repertoire and creating exciting new ways to experience and understand the classics.For more information, please call 973-845-6742 or visit