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Text on the right says "Romeo and Juliet Study Guide". On the left, Vanessa Sears and Jonathan Mason. Photography by Ted Belton.



Romeo and Juliet



Romeo and Juliet

By William Shakespeare
Directed by Sam White

House Program

Grade Recommendation
Grade 7+

Content Advisory

This show includes some mature subject matter including sexual innuendo and explorations of homophobia and sexism. It also includes coarse language. Please see the show page for a detailed audience advisory.


When two young star-crossed lovers lock eyes across a crowded dance floor, their fate-and the fate of two rival families, the Capulets and Montagues-is sealed. The most celebrated romance of all time, Romeo and Juliet is a cautionary tale, timeless in its warning against insatiable revenge, blind hatred and familial pride.

Curriculum Connections

Global Competencies

  • Citizenship, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Creativity, Metacognition, Self-Awareness

Grade 7-8

  • The Arts
  • Health and Physical Education
  • Language
  • Science and Technology
  • Social Studies, History and Geography

Grade 9-12

  • The Arts
  • Canadian and World Studies
  • English
  • Health and Physical Education
  • Technological Education

Grade 11-12

  • Social Sciences and Humanities


  • Suitable for courses in disciplines such as Arts, Cultural Studies, Creative Writing, Dance, Drama, English, Fine Arts, Gender Studies, History, Human Rights, Music, Social Development Studies, Teacher Education and Theatre



  • Actions and Consequences
  • Big and New Feelings
  • Change and Conflict
  • Cycles of Violence
  • Familial Responsibility
  • Fate, Freedom and Choice
  • Generational Relationships and Rifts
  • Language and Communication
  • Life and Death
  • Loyalty
  • Parents and Children
  • Patriarchal Structures and Oppression
  • The Power of Poetry
  • Rebellion and Retribution
  • Young Love, Courtship and Marriage
  • Youth and Coming of Age





  • What do you already know about Romeo and Juliet? Recall how you know what you do about this story.
  • What do you think makes Romeo and Juliet an enduring story? What factors have contributed to it still being produced and studied in Canada and the US today? Why do you think the Stratford Festival selected this play for the 2024 season?
  • What causes intergenerational conflict? Is it inevitable? Explain your thinking.
  • Do you believe in "love at first sight"? Why or why not?
  • What are the three most important qualities in a good relationship? Do the most important qualities change depending on the type of relationship (e.g., filial, romantic, or platonic)? Why or why not?
  • To what extent do you believe young people are capable of making their own decisions? What are some consequences of young people not having agency in their lives? How can adults support young people without disempowering them?
  • What does it mean to be part of a family?
  • Who do you look to for advice when going through a tough situation? Have you ever supported someone when they were making a difficult decision? In what ways do you think you were helpful? Is there anything you would do differently in the future?
  • What does freedom mean to you? Is freedom a value that you prioritize in your life? Do you think this will change as you get older? Why or why not?
  • How do young people today uniquely foster social and cultural change? Can you think of any examples of young people who have changed the world?


  • Director Sam White speaks often about the importance of representation and racial diversity on stage. What was the impact on you as an audience member of having a biracial couple in the title roles?
  • What did you notice about how Romeo and Juliet spoke to each other? What did you notice about their words? What about the actors' delivery enhanced their connection?
  • Had Romeo and Juliet survived the play, what do you imagine their lives might have been like? Do you believe they would have had a "happily ever after"? Call back to moments in the production to support your thinking.
  • What were your first impressions of the environment that the designers created?
  • Consider the ongoing feud between the Montagues and Capulets and the impact of this feud on all of the characters' lives. Do you think the tragic ending of the play was inevitable or could the characters have made different choices amid this societal and familial pressure?
  • How did gender expectations impact the characters differently? How did Juliet navigate the consequences of her rebellion?
  • Reflect on the relationship between Romeo and Mercutio and discuss whether you believe this was a healthy friendship. Use examples from the play to support your argument.
  • How did director Sam White's vision shape your understanding of the play? Were there any creative decisions that you found especially effective or intriguing?
  • Examine what loyalty looks like between different characters (e.g. Romeo and his friends, Capulet and Lady Capulet, Juliet and her Nurse). How does loyalty in these relationships influence the characters' decisions?
  • In your opinion, at what point in the play did things begin to go wrong? Who, if anyone, is to blame? Support your answer using examples from the play.
  • Are there any unintentional harms that might be caused through the production of this play? If so, what are they and what might be done to take care of the artists and audience members participating in the work?


Objective: This exercise invites students to explore their relationship to Shakespeare, some of the themes in the play and their personal responses to them. 



  1. Let students know that you will share a series of statements to which they will be invited to express their agreement/disagreement on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being "completely disagree" and 10 being "completely agree."
  2. You may wish to share the statements with students by reading them aloud or in print.
  3. Students may express themselves through a variety of means based on your student group/teaching context, but some examples include having them move to a particular place in the room along a spectrum of agreement, voice their opinion, show their position with their hands or type/write down their numbers on a piece of paper.
  4. After students have a chance to respond to the statements, invite them to reflect on the debriefing questions independently, in conversation with a partner or in small groups, or in a written reflection/essay.

 Debriefing Questions:

  • Did any of your own responses surprise you?
  • Did any of your peers' responses surprise you? Share why or why not.
  • Have your opinions on any of these statements changed over time? Do you think your opinions might change in the future? Why or why not?

Possible Extensions:

In Role
After reading or seeing the play, students will repeat the Minds On exercise above "in role" as different Romeo and Juliet characters in order to explore the differences and connections between them.

Director's Pitch

  1. Reflecting on Sam White's directorial vision as expressed in the production and in her notes in the House Program, students will create a physical or digital collage to express how they would direct a production of Romeo and Juliet.
  2. Students should include the following elements: a directorial vision statement, key themes they wish to focus on, the setting of the play, casting considerations and two to three songs and images that inspire/resonate with their vision. 
  3. Provide students the opportunity to share or present.


This will be the 14th production of Romeo and Juliet produced by the Stratford Festival, and not the first one to feature a biracial couple in the title roles. Such casting was first employed in 2008. What was the impact on you as an audience member of having a biracial couple in the title roles in 2024? How do you imagine its impact might have compared to when it was staged more than 15 years ago?

Romeo and Juliet, 2008

Nikki M. James as Juliet and Gareth Potter as Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, 2008. Directed by Des McAnuff. Set design by Heidi Ettinger. Costume design by Paul Tazewell. Lighting design by Robert Thomson. Photograph by David Hou. Stratford Festival Archives, GPO.2008.013.1024.


The Stratford Festival's Archives maintains, conserves and protects records about the Festival and makes those materials available to people around the world. Their collection contains material ranging from 1952 right up to the present and includes administrative documents, production records, photographs, design artwork, scores, audio-visual recordings, promotional materials, costumes, props, set decorations and much more. These materials are collected and preserved with the aim of documenting the history of the Festival, preserving the page-to-stage process, and capturing the creative processes involved in numerous other activities that contribute to the Festival each season.



Study Guide PDF

Stratford Public Library's Romeo and Juliet Reading List


Study Guides

View Study Guides for selected 2024 plays along with those from previous seasons free of charge on our website.



Romeo and Juliet & Shakespeare

Cohen, Ralph Alan. ShakesFear and How to Cure It. 2018.

Karim-Cooper, Farah. The Great White Bard: How to Love Shakespeare While Talking About Race. 2023.

Anti-Racist Shakespeare: Romeo & Juliet - Shakespeare & Race (2021) | Shakespeare's Globe

Romeo and Juliet | Arden Shakespeare

Romeo and Juliet | Folger Shakespeare Library

Thompson, Ayanna and Laura Turchi. Teaching Shakespeare with Purpose: A Student-Centred Approach. 2016.

Mental Health & Suicide Prevention

9-8-8: Suicide Crisis Helpline | Government of Canada

Canada Suicide Prevention Helpline : 1-833-456-4566

Hope for Wellness Helpline : 1-855-242-3310 (Available 24/7 to Indigenous People Across Canada)

Kids Help Phone : 1-800-668-6868 I Text 686868

LGBT Youthline

Provincial Mental Health Supports | CMHA

U.S. Suicide Prevention Lifeline : 1-800-273-8255


Booking Information: Student Matinées, InterACTive Preshows, Workshops & Chats

Student Matinées

You may book any available date, but selected student matinée performances for this show are at 12:30 p.m. or 2 p.m. on the following dates:

12:30 p.m.

  • Friday, May 24
  • Wednesday, October 9
  • Wednesday, October 16
  • Friday, October 25

2 p.m.

  • Monday, May 6
  • Wednesday, May 8
  • Thursday, May 16
  • Friday, May 17
  • Tuesday, May 21
  • Wednesday, May 29
  • Thursday, June 13
  • Friday, September 6
  • Tuesday, September 17
  • Wednesday, September 25
  • Friday, September 27
  • Friday, October 4
  • Friday, October 18


InterACTive Preshows

Led by artists appearing in the matinée, these high-energy sessions provide students the opportunity to explore key themes, questions and technical aspects of productions on the Festival's renowned stages. $4 per student (free for Teaching Stratford Program participants)

11 a.m.-noon on the following dates:

  • Wednesday, May 8
  • Friday, May 17
  • Tuesday, May 21
  • Wednesday, September 25
  • Friday, October 4
  • Friday, October 18

For more information, visit


Workshops & Chats

Workshops and Chats (virtual, onsite or at your school/centre) can be booked by calling the Box Office at 1.800.567.1600 or by emailing

Pre-Show Workshops customized to your students' needs and interests are available from 10-11 a.m. or 11 a.m.-noon before selected matinées. $10 per student. For more information, visit

Half-Hour Post-Show Chats with cast and creative team members are available after selected matinées. $3 per student. For more information, visit




Tools for Teachers includes InterACTive Preshows, Study Guides and Stratford Shorts.       



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