Phoenix Education Online

Shakespeare's Histories: Shakespeare Workshop


Stock: Available

Product Code: 978-1-921085-05-5

This volume offers workshop approaches for studying some of the more popular of Shakespeare’s histories.

  • Richard II
  • Henry IV Part 1
  • Henry V
  • Richard III 

The approaches offered will help students gain critical insights into:

  • Shakespeare’s language
  • theatrical forms and devices
  • themes
  • staging
  • character

The student-centred interactive strategies presented will also encourage students to bring a play alive by exploring form and content which takes the play off the page and, in the imagination of the students, onto the stage.

This approach not only gives students a greater understanding and appreciation of the plays as theatre but also helps them approach more traditional literary criticism with greater confidence.

See also:

Shakespeare's Histories Contents

Dramatic techniques in Shakespeare’s plays                                               

The historical context                                                            

Richard II                                                                                        

  1. Parallels                                 Improvisation                      
  2. Background to the play            Writing; staging a scene       
  3. The opening scenes                Blocking plans; improvisation; set design 
  4. Structure of the play                Diagrammatic 4 movements representation
  5. Richard and Bolingbroke         Dramatic interpretation of character
  6. The idea of kingship               Writing; television interview  
  7. The garden scene                   Exploring imagery                
  8. The language of the play         Oral presentation                 
  9. Patterns of Imagery               Thematic exploration
  10. Shakespeare and his sources  Dramatic purposes
  11. Problems for the director        Student as director

Henry IV Part 1                                                                             

  1. Filling in the background          Historical background
  2. Blank verse                            Introduction to the language
  3. Three worlds and beyond         Introduction to the play
  4. Shakespeare’s characters       Introduction to the play
  5. Images of a king                     A major theme
  6. Parallels                                 Finding connections
  7. Soliloquies                              Dramatic technique
  8. Fathers and sons                    Thematic exploration
  9. Power and decision-making      Political nature of the play
  10. Three worlds – a second look   Dramatic structure              
  11. Abbreviated versions               Language and meaning         
  12. Falstaff – this is your life          Understanding character       
  13. The women                            Treatment of women in the play           
  14. Father and daughter                Relationships                       
  15. Duologues                              Dramatic technique              
  16. The play within-a-play             Dramatic technique              
  17. The robbery and the battles     Thematic development
  18. Three worlds                          A final look at dramatic structure
  19. Program notes                       Thematic conceptions           
  20. Design                                   Production                          
  21. Just a minute                         Role playing                        
  22. In the style of ...                     Imaginative recreation         
  23. Hot seat                                 Role playing                        

Henry V

  1. Parallel role plays                   Ethics and attitudes             
  2. Response journal                    Personal reflections              
  3. Getting used to the language   Blank verse                         
  4. War                                       Exploration of themes          
  5. Comic scenes                        Dramatic texture                 
  6. Leadership                             Exploration of themes
  7. Henry: good king or bad king? Exploration of character       
  8. Henry: a killer king?                Exploration of character                      
  9. “Upon the King”                      Henry’s one soliloquy
  10. Two camps                            Dramatic interpretation
  11. Once more unto the breach     Exploration of themes          
  12. Themes and issues in the play   Exploration of themes          
  13. The Battle of Agincourt             Imaginative recreation                         
  14. Shall Kate be my wife?             Exploration of character       
  15. Freeze frames                         Dramatic interpretation        
  16. Blocking                                 Staging a scene                   
  17. Film version storyboards          Visualising action                 
  18. Design a production                 Theatrical presentation         
  19. Writing a film review                 Critical interpretation           
  20. Two filmed versions                  Critical interpretation           

Richard III                                                                                      

  1. Parallel role plays                     Role play/interconnections    
  2. Historical background               Context of the play              
  3. Journal                                    Personal response                
  4. Blank verse                             Language                           
  5. Charting relationships               Rivalries and alliances
  6. Group soliloquy                       Richard’s character
  7. Bystanders                             Imaginative recreation
  8. Problem cards                         Relationships                       
  9. Alter ego                                 Looking behind the text        
  10. Pastiche poem                        Thematic patterns               
  11. Freeze frames                         Dramatic interpretation        
  12. Action and reported action        Critical narrative choices
  13. Pairs of characters                   Changes in relationships        
  14. Intercutting                               Dramatic contradictions        
  15. Missing scenes                         Dramatic intentions
  16. Character profiles                      Character analysis
  17. Seven deadly sins                     Religious beliefs                   
  18. Hot seat / mock trial                  Character interpretation
  19. Reconstruction                          Language                           
  20. Casting interviews                     Dramatic analysis                 
  21. Posters                                     Personal response                
  22. Blocking                                   Staging