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Teaching resoruces

PERFORMANCEPLUS & STRATFORD ON FILM

Watch King Lear, Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and The Tempest FREE-OF-CHARGE using our Stratford on Film production presented alongside Shakespeare’s text. 

Each PerformancePlus resource includes video interviews with cast and creative team members, discussion questions and lesson plans.

How To Use PerformancePlus
Below, we’ve shared step-by-step directions and highlighted some of the key features for both virtual and in-person learning.

1) Click on the play you want to see. 

2) You’ll see the script on the left and the film on the right. Click “Start Video” to play the first scene. 
- As the film plays, the lines are highlighted in yellow as they are spoken.
- Unfamiliar terms appear in blue; the definitions appear when you hover over them.
- Directors’ cuts are shaded in gray – you can click “show” to see what they chose to exclude.

3) Using the red bars at the top, you can:
- select a scene (if you click this, you can use the navigation bar that appears on the left to select scenes by act and to go directly to some of the bonus features);
- go to discussion questions or lesson plans for each act;
- watch interviews about the play’s themes with cast and creative team members from the production.

Tailor PerformancePlus to Suit Your Current Learning Mode
• Watching the film scene-by-scene works well for both synchronous and asynchronous learning, at home or at school.
• The discussion questions, organized into five acts, provide a great platform for learning when engaging with the play synchronously, but they can also be used as prompts for students to respond to independently.
• The artistic insights videos provide students with the opportunity to think more deeply and analytically about some of the themes from the play; invite students to explore a few of these on their own.
• The lesson plans are a great fit for in-person learning.

Support for PerformancePlus is generously provided by The John and Myrna Daniels Charitable Foundation.


STRATFORD SHORTS

If you require an accessible version of one or more of the PDF documents listed here (ie. Braille, large print, screen-reader compatible, etc), please send us an email request specifying which document(s) you need, and in which format. For any other requests please contact the Education Department via email at educate@stratfordfestival.ca

STUDY GUIDES

Looking for Study Guides from our past seasons?   Send us an email.

If you require an accessible version of one or more of the PDF documents listed here (ie. Braille, large print, screen-reader compatible, etc), please send us an email request specifying which document(s) you need, and in which format. For any other requests please contact the Education Department via email.

ABOUT WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

Who is Shakespeare?

William Shakespeare was born in the small town of Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England, in 1564. The exact date of his birth is unknown, but today it is celebrated on April 23, which is the date of his death and, based on the record of his baptism, may very well also have been his birthday. Shakespeare's father was John Shakespeare, a glover, and his mother was Mary Arden, the daughter of a wealthy farmer.

Shakespeare probably attended what is now the Edward VI Grammar School. At age 18 he married a farmer's daughter, Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children: Susanna, born in 1583, and, two years later, the twins Hamnet (who died in childhood) and Judith. 

Nothing more is known of his life until 1592, when his earliest known play, the first part of Henry VI, became a hit in London, where Shakespeare had gone (without his family) to work as an actor.

Soon afterwards, an outbreak of the plague forced theatres to close temporarily, and Shakespeare turned for a while to writing poetry. By 1594 he was back in the theatre, acting with the Lord Chamberlain's Men. He quickly established himself as one of London's most successful dramatists, with an income that enabled him, in 1597, to buy a mansion back in Stratford. In 1599 he became a shareholder in London's newly built Globe Theatre. In 1603, Shakespeare's company was awarded a royal patent, becoming known as the King's Men.

Possibly as early as 1610, the playwright retired to his home in Stratford-upon-Avon, living there and continuing to invest in real estate until his death on April 23, 1616. He is buried in the town's Holy Trinity Church.

In the first collected edition of his works in 1623, fellow playwright Ben Jonson called him a man "not of an age, but for all time." Not only did Shakespeare write some of the most popular plays of all time, but he was a very prolific writer, writing at least thirty-eight works in twenty-three years. Shakespeare enjoyed great popularity in his lifetime, and 450 years later, he is still the most produced playwright in the world. 

THE PLACE

The Stratford Adventure

This 1954 Oscar-nominated film follows the founding of the Festival: how the idea grew, how a famous British director, international stars and Canadian talent were recruited, and how the Festival finally became a triumphant reality.