Resources for Actors
Standard Edited Editions of Shakespeare's Plays
(No links here; just search for the play title and the edition (such as "King Lear" "Arden") on Amazon. These are the edited editions we usually refer to when preparing for a show.)
The New Cambridge Shakespeare
The Oxford Shakespeare
Norton Critical Editions
Folio and quarto editions (including facsimiles)
University of Victoria's Internet Shakespeare Editions
Go to https://internetshakespeare.uvic.ca/Library/plays.html and hover over "Texts" in the upper menu.
(Or Google the title of the play you want and "first folio." Click on the UVic site that comes up. From there you can find Quartos, facsimiles, etc.)
The First Folio of Shakespeare: The Norton Facsimile (Hardcover)
Modern "translations" of Shakespeare's plays
(Good for checking basic understanding, but these tend to simplify possible multiple meanings and pass over details)
No Fear Shakespeare
Shakespeare Made Easy series
Finding all of a particular character's lines
Open Source Shakespeare
Helpful for getting a sense of line-learning commitment, and can help make a text-heavy role feel less daunting. Select the play for a list of characters. Then select the character to see how many lines they have and to see all of their lines in one place. (You can also Google "all lines for Romeo" for example, and the character's page will usually come up in the results.) Bear in mind that there may be multiple versions of the play and this source presents only one version, which may or may not correspond to your production. There may also be some errors (as with most online versions of Shakespeare's text--other than No Fear Shakespeare and the UVic site, which are both very good), such as typos, wrong words, and odd punctuation.
Places to watch Shakespeare theatre productions online
Note that a lot of productions from the RSC, Globe, National Theatre, etc. post short clips and interviews on Youtube, so there's lots to discover there.
A collection of high-quality productions, mostly in the UK (including a particularly large collection of productions from the RSC, a few from the Globe, and twelve recently-added productions from the Stratford Festival in Canada).
Monthly streaming subscription, or you can rent individual productions.
If you haven't subscribed and want to see what is offered, you can scroll down to the bottom of the home page and click on "Categories" for a sort of haphazard list of genres and productions. If you'd like to go more methodically through the productions, we recommend instead clicking on "producers" (at the bottom of the home page or at the top of the site's other pages). Then you'll see a list of producers such as the RSC, the Stratford Festival (in Canada), etc. Click on each producer to see what they offer. "Digital Theatre" is also listed as a producer and contains a variety of productions from various theatres.
Watch productions from Shakespeare's Globe! Recently became a subscription service, or you can purchase productions separately. They usually add a few new productions each year.
National Theatre At Home
It used to be impossible to find National Theatre production outside of National Theatre Live releases in cinemas (http://ntlive.nationaltheatre.org.uk/), but National Theatre at Home emerged as a subscription service during the pandemic and has a fairly large collection of productions, including some excellent Shakespeare productions. You can browse their listings in somewhat haphazard categories or search for a particular title.
Lots of overlap with Digital Theatre in their classical offerings, but also contains lots of musicals, etc. Playback might be slow.
Monthly streaming subscription. I believe it's also possible to subscribe to them through Amazon, which might have better playback speeds.
BBC's 2016 "Shakespeare Lives" programming:
Including clips from Talawa Theatre Company's production of King Lear:
(The full production used to be available.)
A few favorite general resources on acting
How to Stop Acting, by Harold Guskin
Patsy Rodenburg - The Second Circle
Patsy Rodenburg - Why I do Theatre
Patsy Rodenburg on the Power of Presence
General resources for developing knowledge of Shakespeare
Brave Spirits Theatre’s TEXT ANALYSIS GUIDE
Shakespeare's Words (website), by David and Ben Crystal (paid subscription, but very affordable)
Shakespeare's Words (book), by David and Ben Crystal
Shakespeare on Toast, by Ben Crystal
Thinking Shakespeare, by Barry Edelstein
The Shakespeare Workbook and Video: A Practical Course for Actors, by David Carey and Rebecca Clark Carey
Speaking the Speech, by Giles Block
Mapping the Heart of a Speech | Explore Shakespeare with Ben Crystal | 18 mins
Playing Shakespeare (video series), John Barton, RSC (9 episodes)
This series tends to get taken down from Youtube from time to time and then reappear, so the links may become unavailable.)
Episode 1: The Two Traditions https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2VnxiW3oqk
Episode 2: Using The Verse https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3rMaHqH2TE
Episode 3: Language & Character https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4V18sryRXik
Episode 4: Set Speeches & Soliloquies https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWt54ABOdzg
Episode 5: Irony & Ambiguity https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2VVD6pND1g
Episode 6: Passion & Coolness https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiUe9vnibnQ
Episode 7: Rehearsing A Text https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6t-HrRaqsXI
Episode 8: Exploring A Character https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwRj8B1dXfk
Episode 9: Poetry & Hidden Poetry https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAHJnjYqTik
Playing Shakespeare: An Actor's Guide, by John Barton (book--basically a transcript of the video series. Good for quick reference after watching the video series.)
South Bank Show Special - Word of Mouth RSC (1979)
Tomorrow, and tomorrow -- Ian McKellen analyzes Macbeth speech (1979) (Clip from the South Bank Show Special)
Ian McKellen "Acting Shakespeare" (McKellan's touring solo show)
John Barton "The Shakespeare Sessions" 2003 (Masterclass with American actors)
SOME NOTES ON ACTING SHAKESPEARE (OR HOW TO READ SHAKESPEARE LIKE AN ACTOR)
Eugenia Low: 5 tips for performing Shakespeare's verse
Brave Spirits Theatre, other resources
American Shakespeare Center Study Guides
Designed for educators, but interesting for actors as well.
Creative Shakespeare: The Globe Education Guide to Practical Shakespeare (Arden Shakespeare)
Designed for education, but based on rehearsal techniques and exercises developed at Shakespeare's Globe in London
Psychological Gesture & Leading Center
Original Pronunciation (OP)
A good starting point if this is the first you're hearing of OP:
Shakespeare: Original pronunciation (The Open University)
Linguist David Crystal, who made OP a major research focus, and his son, actor Ben Crystal, who together have put OP into practice at the Globe and elsewhere, and have raised awareness of OP.
John Barton had an interest in OP and worked with it a bit:
Shakespeare Word of Mouth 1.2.avi https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpNjaoh-2jg (at 4:12-6:12).
Major resources on OP:
David Crystal’s page for OP:
List of events (OP productions around the world):
Purchase recordings of OP:
The Oxford Dictionary of Original Shakespearean Pronunciation, by David Crystal:
OP guide by Paul Meier (includes links to audio):
This comes from his general Shakespeare page:
Interactive IPA charts (click on the orange play sign to access the charts):
Scripts transcribed in OP:
A Midsummer Night's Dream script:
As You Like It script:
Further talks and interviews:
Ben Crystal talks about Original Pronunciation
[At the University of Otago]
RP vs OP - Shakespeare on Toast
[Clip using Henry V Chorus speech, at Macmillan Poland]
Sonnet 116 - Original Pronunciation - Shakespeare on Toast
[At Macmillan Poland]
Interview between Paul Meier and David Crystal:
Interview with David and Ben Crystal:
Examples of OP performed:
Original Pronunciation - Hamlet | To Be, or not to be... | Ben Crystal
Midsummer’s Night Dream Act3 in Original pronunciation.
Full Midsummer radio broadcast:
Can watch Midsummer beginning:
Not strictly about OP but related:
Original Practice - Shakespeare's Craft | Ben Crystal | TEDxBergen
Shakespeare, Sonnets, & Heart | Ben Crystal | PiXL talk
Speaking the Bright & Beautiful English of Shakespeare | Ben Crystal | British Council & the ESU
[Same talk, in parts]
Ben Crystal | Part 1: Sonnet 18 | Speaking the bright and beautiful English of Shakespeare
Ben Crystal | Pt 2: love of Romeo & Juliet | Speaking the bright & beautiful English of Shakespeare
Ben Crystal | Pt 3: dialogue in Macbeth | Speaking the bright & beautiful English of Shakespeare
Ben Crystal | Pt 4: Verse Overlap in Hamlet | Speaking the bright & beautiful English of Shakespeare
Ben Crystal - Pt 5: Shakespeare's accent - Speaking the bright and beautiful English of Shakespeare
Ben Crystal | Pt 6: AYLI & R3 in OP | Speaking the bright & beautiful English of Shakespeare
Ben Crystal | Pt 7: Question 2 | Speaking the bright & beautiful English of Shakespeare