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  1. #11. Playing with Shakespeare

    October 22, 2013 by MrsWinnacott

    One of the cool things about Shakespeare is that his work is constantly being reinvented. As we saw with the movie trailers back in Blog Post #7, reinterpretations of Shakespeare’s plays take many forms. People have enjoyed his work so much that they do not only serious renditions of his work, but they also have fun with it too. This is a chance for you to look at some of the light-hearted ways in which Shakespeare has been adapted.


    It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand all the references that are being made to his works in these videos- they are there to give you an idea of all the different ways that we recreate his stories, characters and language for our own pleasure and entertainment.

    1. The Real Housewives of Shakespeare– uses some of Shakespeare’s most famous female characters and sets them in a “Real Housewives” style docudrama.
    2. Tyrants and Tiaras– satirises three of Shakespeare’s most famous “tyrants” (King Lear, Richard III and Macbeth) by pitting them against each other in the “Mr Big Tyrant Pants Pageant”, “Toddlers and Tiaras” style.
    3. Blackadder vs Shakespeare– Blackadder’s take on the influence of Shakespeare.
    4. Hip Hop Othello in Prison– see how hip hop has been used to reinvent the story of Othello, and how prisoners in America reacted to its performance.


    Hungry for more Shakespearean adaptions? If you would like some more extension videos, check out these other modern responses to Shakespeare’s works:

    1. William Shakespeare’s Star Wars– yes, this is an actual book that retells the story of Star Wars in Shakespearean language, available from Think Geek!
    2. The Ghost of Richard III– Richard gives his version of events, and refutes what Shakespeare had to say about him!
    3. Richard III’s song– further defence from Richard III about why Shakespeare got it wrong
    4. Macbeth in Lego– you don’t have to watch the whole thing to get the idea, but this is a surprisingly accurate summary of the entire play in 11 minutes!
    5. The Simpsons Do Macbeth– another reinvention of some of the themes and basic storyline of Macbeth. Again, you don’t have to watch all of it to get the point.



    You will find these videos available for download on the Student Drive by following the path T:\Year 9\English\Mrs Winnacott\Shakespeare\Modern takes on Shakespeare

  2. #10. The Play’s The Thing

    October 22, 2013 by MrsWinnacott

    This week is all about performing. For a bit of fun, your task is to watch a series of videos focusing on the performance of Shakespeare. Performing Shakespeare is not always easy, but the videos should give you a bit of an idea of what people find so fun and exciting about performing Shakespeare!

    1. What People Think We Do
    2. Stuff People at a Shakespeare Festival Say


    If you have not already seen it yet, also watch the following Rowan Atkinson video:


    If you would like a bit of extension, watch the following videos on Shakespeare’s “original pronunciation”- it explains why words that Shakespeare wrote would have rhymed in his time, but don’t rhyme today, and shows this in practice.

    1. Performing Shakespeare in its Original Pronunciation
    2. Performing “A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream” in Original Pronunciation


    You will find these videos available for download on the Student Drive by following the path T:\Year 9\English\Mrs Winnacott\Shakespeare\Performing Shakespeare.

  3. #9. Pieces for Performance

    October 14, 2013 by MrsWinnacott

    You may be wondering which scenes you can choose from to perform for your assignment.

    The piece you chose will depend on your understanding or interest in a particular play or scene, and whether you wish to work on your own or with someone else. Choose ONE piece from the following:

    For Individuals: 


    For Pairs


    For Groups of Three


    Your task in preparation for your assignment is to watch the following videos, to help you decide which piece you would like to perform.

    Don’t forget that you can find all the videos that you need on the Student T Drive. The videos for your performance pieces can be found in the folder entitled”Week 3- The Plays”.

  4. #8. Your Assessment Task

    October 14, 2013 by MrsWinnacott

    There are two parts to you assessment in this unit (and if you’ve done your homework thoroughly you should have already completed part 1 – woot!)

    1.      Research Task – Questions on Blog:

      • Shakespeare’s life (12 questions/Worth 20 marks.)
      • The Globe Theatre (10 questions/Worth 15 marks.)

    2.      Oral Presentation – Shakespearean performance:

      • The second and more creative part of your assessment for this unit will be to get your Shakespeare on and perform one of the pieces provided, either on your own, with a partner, or in a group of three. You will present this to the class and be filmed.
      • You will need to know your selected piece off by heart (no notes!)


    Additional details:

    Research Task:

    • Both parts a and b must be completed carefully, thoughtfully and with detail. All work must be presented neatly, clearly and using correct spelling, grammar and expression. Please note that any work that is not completed as stated above will need to be resubmitted.


    Oral Presentation – Shakespearean performance:

    • You will have a range of performance pieces to choose from. You only need to choose ONE.
    • Firstly, yes, you do need to know it off by heart.
    • Secondly, yes, you must perform in front of the class.
    • Thirdly, if you want to get the most out of this assessment, you need to be open minded and willing to explore the piece that you are performing- do your best to understand what you are saying and why.
    • Lastly, take care with your performance. Take your time, perform with feeling and take Shakespeare’s advice,


    Words without thoughts never to heaven go.” 

    (Hamlet- Act 3, Scene 3)

  5. #7. Shakespeare’s Influence on the Modern World

    October 8, 2013 by MrsWinnacott

    This week we are looking at the influence that Shakespeare has had on the modern world.

    Shakespeare’s works have been HUGELY influential since they were first created in the 1500s and 1600s- not only do people still love watching and performing his plays and poems, but they keep reinventing his ideas, characters and storylines, they use the words that he created, and they use his language for inspiration.

    Let’s start by looking at some works of Shakespeare that you can relate to- modern interpretations of Shakespeare’s works.

    There are a series of videos that you need to watch from modern films:


    All of these are modern takes on some of Shakespeare’s most influential and loved plays. You can see that not all versions are serious- many are very playful- and not all use Shakespeare’s language. They should give you an idea of the rich storylines, comedy, drama and tragedy of Shakespeare’s plays, and how easily they can be modernised and reinterpreted.

    *** Don’t forget that you can find links to all the videos you need to watch on the Symbaloo page, as well as on the Student Drive, so that you can download them and watch them without the internet. ***

  6. #6. The Globe Theatre

    September 14, 2013 by MrsWinnacott

    The Globe is the theatre that was built by The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, and many of Shakespeare’s plays were performed there. In fact, Shakespeare’s plays are still performed at the Globe today!

    Theatres during the Elizabethan era were very different from theatres today. Your job is to find out more about the Globe, and understand what it might have been like to watch a play in the Globe during Shakespeare’s time. Understanding the Globe helps us to understand why Shakespeare’s plays are written in a particular way, and how his audience would affect his writing.

    You are required to research and answer the following questions. Your research should equal 1-2 pages, and the task will be marked out of 15. The number in brackets indicates how many marks each question is worth, and will give you an idea of how much you need to write.

    Your research must be typed, printed and handed in with your name on it.


    1. Where was the Globe theatre built? (1)
    2. When was it built? (1)
    3. Find a picture of the inside of the Globe theatre and label it (or find a picture that is already labelled). (1)
    4. Find a picture of the outside of the Globe theatre and label it (or find a picture that is already labelled). (1)
    5. Find a picture of the Globe theatre today. (1)
    6. Create a timeline of the theatre. You should include elements such as when it was built, when it experienced major disasters, when it closed etc. Your timeline should go up to the present day. (2)
    7. Explain the different sections of the theatre, and describe the types of people who would be located in each section. (2)
    8. Research theatre and stage performance in Elizabethan England. Write 1 paragraph summarising what you have discovered. (3)
    9. Research costumes used during Elizabethan stage productions. Write 1 paragraph summarising what you have discovered. (2)
    10. Describe how the Globe theatre is used today. (1)

  7. #5. Shakespeare’s Life

    September 14, 2013 by MrsWinnacott

    Shakespeare’s life, background and experiences would invariably impact on his writing. It is therefore useful for us to have an idea of where he came from, and the type of life that he lived.

    Your next task is to research Shakespeare’s life and answer the following questions. Your research should equal 1-2 pages, and will be marked out of 20. The number in brackets indicates how many marks each question is worth, which will give you an idea of how much information you need to include.

    Your research needs to be typed up, printed out and handed in with your name on it.

    You may find some of the videos that you have already watched useful for some of your information gathering.


    1. When was William Shakespeare born? (1)
    2. Where was he born? (1)
    3. Who were his parents? (1)
    4. What did his parents do for a living? (1)
    5. Describe Shakespeare’s education. (2)
    6. How did Shakespeare first become involved in the theatre, and how did his involvement progress? (3)
    7. Did Shakespeare marry? Who did he marry? Describe their family. (3)
    8. How many plays and sonnets did Shakespeare write? (1)
    9. Which of Shakespeare’s plays are some of his most famous? List at least 5. (1)
    10. Some people argue that Shakespeare did not write all the plays and sonnets that he is credited with. What are some of the reasons that critics give for this? (2)
    11. What is so interesting about Shakespeare’s death? (1)
    12. What are three interesting facts that you found about Shakespeare, which are NOT covered by the above questions? (3)

  8. #4. Keeping track of blogs, videos and links

    September 13, 2013 by MrsWinnacott

    By now you may have noticed that this unit is going to require checking this blog regularly, watching a number of videos and completing quizzes online. How do you know which work you need to complete first? And how are you supposed to keep track of all these videos and links?

    Knowing which work to complete first

    • Each of the blog posts has a number in the title, letting you know which order you should read the posts in, and therefore, the order in which you need to complete work. So, start with the post with #1 in the title, then move onto #2, then #3 etc.
    • On the right hand side of the blog, you will see a “Search” box. You can also type in the number for the blog post that you are looking for here, so for example, if you have finished reading post #3, you can type “#4” into the search box to take you to that post.
    • Make sure that you complete the required tasks in each blog post before you move onto the next one.


    Keeping track of videos and links

    • Each blog post tells you which videos and links you need to access.
    • If you are having trouble accessing a link, or you want to see all the videos on one page, you can visit this Shakespeare Symbaloo page for most or all of the links.
    • The videos are also available on the Student Public T Drive. Go to Student Public/Year 9/English/Mrs Winnacott/Shakespeare. Use these videos if you don’t have the internet at home or you are having trouble accessing the videos online.


    What if a video or link doesn’t work?

    • Use the videos available on the Student Public Drive, or the links via the Symbaloo page.


    Do the quiz results matter?

    • Yes! We use these quiz results to check if you are understanding the work that we are going through, and we take your quiz results into account when we write your reports.


  9. #3. Introductory Videos

    September 13, 2013 by MrsWinnacott

    Now that we have found out what you already know about Shakespeare, it’s time to add to your knowledge.

    To do this, you need to complete the following:

    1. Watch this video on ‘An Introduction to Shakespeare‘ (2:09)
    2. Watch the introductory talk entitled ‘Introduction to a Taste of Shakespeare‘ (12:25)
      • You may wish to take notes to help you complete your quiz
    3. Answer this quiz on what you have learnt from the introductory videos: Your passcode is 9F
    4. Watch the video ‘Rowan Atkinson Live- Pink Tights and Plenty of Props‘ (8:03)



    To further increase your understanding, you may also choose to watch the ‘Shakespeare: Brief and Naughty‘ (8:31) introduction to Shakespeare.

  10. #2. Who is this Shakespeare guy anyway?

    September 12, 2013 by MrsWinnacott

    Before we start our Shakespeare unit, we would like to know if you already have any ideas about Shakespeare and his works, and how you feel about studying this topic.

    The first thing that you need to do is complete this short quiz or survey. This is purely to find out what you already know and get your opinions- it is not a test, and you don’t have to look up any answers! Just use your own knowledge.

    Use this link to answer the quiz.


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