Celebrating 5 who make every week, Shakespeare Week

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As we get closer to the end of our celebration of Shakespeare Week, I thought now would be a good time to give a shout out to those who celebrate him everyday. I am bound to miss some good folks who dedicate their days to all things Shakespeare, but I wanted to make a list of people and institutions that quickly spring to mind when I think Shakespeare. I applaud them all and want to show some appreciation to their work.

Shakespeare Magazine The online magazine launched on April 23, 2014 and has quickly become a leading source for all things related to Shakespeare; whether you want to just keep up with the latest theater news or read a variety of Bard related topics they have you covered!

One of my favorite articles is an interview with Paul Edmondson titled “Man and Myth” in which he talks about his journey into the world of Shakespeare. If scholarly interviews are not your thing, don’t worry, Shakespeare Magazine loves to devote pages to Tom Hiddleston and Benedict Cumberbatch. Do check it out. It’s a free online magazine, but if you find yourself eagerly anticipating the next issue, please support them with a donation.

Shakespeare Geek I follow a lot of blog and love them all, but I have to admit, this one is up there as one of my favorites.

Duane has been blogging about Shakespeare since 2005 and is the author of Hear My Soul Speak : Wedding Quotations from Shakespeare. I own and copy so I can attest to its originality and carefully chosen quotes. But this isn’t the reason to read Shakespeare Geek. Duane is always original and refreshing. You just never know what will spring forth from his mind. What I love most about this blog is how seamlessly Duane relates everyday occurrence to Shakespeare. You can also count on him to come up with silly posts and brilliant ideas on how to center every holiday on a Shakespeare theme. This past April Fool’s remains one of my favorites. We had a great time in Facebook coming up with ways to annoy our co-workers.

Hollow Crown Fans Ever Shakespeare fan with a Twitter handle should follow @HollowCrownFans. This is collaboration between friends that started as a mini fan club for Tom Hiddleston and the Hollow Crown series. They started the hash-tag game #ShakespeareSunday as part of their fan love, yet it quickly grew in popularity. It is now a regular Sunday ritual that most of us who follow HCF don’t dare miss. This above all other social media gatherings has introduced me to some wonderful people I now call friend.

Good Brain Tickle Damn, this is good! What started out as a fun outlet for Mya’s love of Shakespeare has turned her into a Shakespeare superstar! Though these be little comic strips they are fiercely funny and educational. Mya has proven herself to be a true Shakespeare scholar. Twice weekly Mya gives us a small slice of Shakespeare yet the lessons on his work are huge. I swear, this girl is a genius; how many people can use humor to show a deep understanding of Shakespeare? Not many; this is why Mya stands out and is becoming a real shinning star on the Shakespeare stage. One of my favorite strips was her Star Wars Midsummer’s Night Dream series. I dare you not to laugh. Hats of the Mya for being invited to participate in the Folger’s Library 400 Year Shakespeare Anniversary event.

Folger’s Podcast Speaking of Folger, one of my favorite podcast series is hosted by the library titled, Shakespeare Unlimited. The reason it’s titled unlimited is because there is no limit to what they will talk about. The podcast’s them is Shakespeare’s influence on the world as a whole. This podcast shows us that the all the world’s a stage, and Shakespeare a global phenomenon. Whether you are looking for a history lesson on Elizabethan street fighting or how Shakespeare influenced the punk rock scene, Shakespeare Unlimited is the place to be. And because it’s a downloadable podcast, you always get a good seat. And, let’s not forget everything the library does in celebration of Shakespeare.

And now, because it’s Friday, I give you one more list. This time a funny list of my favorite Shakespeare memes. Enjoy!

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I once put this on the cover of a paper I did on Hamlet. My professor said he'd would have given my an A just or making him laugh
I once put this on the cover of a paper I did on Hamlet. My professor said he’d would have given my an A just or making him laugh

Shakesbear

I was once in a class in which a student said, "oh I love Romeo and Juliet. It's such a great poem". I think of her every time I see this.
I was once in a class in which a student said, “oh I love Romeo and Juliet. It’s such a great poem”. I think of her every time I see this.

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I want this on a T-shirt
I want this on a T-shirt

No money went into my purse in the making of this post.

 

Celebrating Shakespeare Week!

The Thinker, Shakespeare style

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention we are in the middle of Shakespeare Week.  Shakespeare Week is a new national, annual celebration to bring Shakespeare to life vividly for millions of primary school children. I found out about it on Twitter (where else) because the Globe Theater is dedicated this week to the education of children. Most of the celebration is taking place in the UK, but I thought it would be fun to do a quick review of different ways everyone worldwide can introduce or be introduced to Shakespeare. After all, young or old, we can all be students of Shakespeare!

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It is never too early to teach children about Shakespeare. Ehren (from the wonderful podcast, Chop Bard) & Judy Ziegler and Shanon Sneedse gives parents an opportunity to teach their children the alphabet through an imaginative use of Shakespeare’s characters. The Shakespeare Alphabet Book is a delight. The picture book goes through the alphabet in short rhyming sentences.

A is for Ariel, waiting to be released. B is for Bottom, turned into a beast!

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The pictures are so masterfully done that when I first opened I was kinda sad. I almost wanted another baby just so I could decorate a nursery based on the pictures. Oh to be a child again and know this was my introduction to words, words, words!

playing with shakespeare

Shakespeare for Kids is a wonderful site dedicated to helping teachers and parents introduce the plays to kids 6 to 17. Besides having a very fun interactive site (yes, I’ve spent a lot of time here) they offer a series of books, “Playing with the plays”.  I haven’t spent anytime with the books, but from the reviews, they are a big hit with educators.

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For the middle schooler who says he doesn’t like to read, Conor McCreery and Anthony del Col has written the comic book series, Kill Shakespeare, sure to change his mind! I blogged about this a couple of years ago https://theviewfromsarisworld.com//?s=Kill+Shakespeare&search=Go on National Comic Book Day.

The idea behind the series is to write a story that pits many of the heroes and villains of Shakespeare against each other when King Richard dupes Hamlet into hunting down and killing a man named William Shakespeare. McCreery and del Col came up with the idea while watching Kill Bill. I don’t read a lot of comics anymore, yet I am hooked on this series! It is hard to find back issues, so if you want to introduce your student to the series you will have to buy the compendium. It may not be a “purist” (a word my friends use to describe me re Shakespeare) take on the plays, rather it can be used to introduce characters and themes to those who are a little afraid to take on the Bard. It is a fine way to enter his world.

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The other day one of my friends who calls me a purist, teased me and said, “Hey did you see that a book is coming out, titled “William Shakespeare’s The Empire Striketh Back?”. I laughed and said, “ This is the second book in a trilogy. I have the first, William Shakespeare’s Star Wars”. In fact, I did a blog review a while back.  This is not Shakespearean (or is it?) but it is a great introduction to how to read Shakespeare:

C-3PO- Now is the summer of our happiness

Made winter by this sudden, fierce attack!

Our ship is under siege, I know not how.

O hast thou heard? The main reactor fails!

We shall most surely be destroy’d by this.

I’ll warrant madness lies herein!

As you can see, the books are based on the Star Wars stories, written in a way that can be used to teach students how to appreciate the words of Shakespeare. For those who are familiar with Shakespeare’s plays, it’s fun to pick out the satirical use of some of the Bard’s more famous quotes.

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But let’s say your student has to read Shakespeare for the first time and is freaking out. The No Fear Shakespeare series is the best way to pull him or her off the ceiling. Each page of the play is followed by a modern rendition. One your student feels a little better about how to read the plays, I would follow this up with a Folgers or Arden copy. Both of these publishers offer detailed explanations for lesser known words and offers quick synopses of each scene.

If your student has an iPad, they are in for a treat! Shakespeare at Play is starting to offer a wonderful iBooks series that so far, is really impressive. Each book contains the play and a video of it. The acting is amazing! You can follow the play by scrolling down the pages. For some it may be hard to read and listen at the same time, yet it is easy to see how this would be of value to students. The acting makes the words come alive so that they make more sense to those who are struggling to understand what they are reading. So far I have enjoyed MacBeth, and next will download Hamlet (my favorite). I wish Shakespeare at Play great success!

Speaking of seeing the plays, did you know Amazon Prime offers a lot of them for free? I was dismayed to find that Netflix stopped offering their streaming Shakespeare plays, at one time they had quite a few. The other day I wanted to see The Merry Wives of Windsor (my least favorite) and stumbled across it on Amazon Prime.

If you find your student learns to love Shakespeare and cannot get enough, may I suggest downloading the podcast Chop Bard? Ehren is the ultimate Shakespeare geek, and tackles the plays from an actor and historian’s point of view. Chop Bard is my favorite Shakespeare podcast, though iTunes U offers some good lectures too.

So there you have it my friends! My picks for some of the best ways to celebrate Shakespeare Week. What did I leave out?

If you want to know more about Shakespeare and why he is important, just enter his name in my search bar. You will find I have a lot to say about the world’s greatest playwright.