Ways into Shakespeare

Provider: as creatives
£400.00 + VAT Price from £400.00 for a full day INSET for up to 30 staff members
Accreditation opportunities: n/a

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Description Our popular Shakespeare CPD for teachers will equip you with a number of easy-to-use ‘ways into’ Shakespeare that you can take back and start using in the classroom the very next day! Shakespeare’s themes of love and death, of valour and treachery, of friendship and enmity are every much as relevant today as they were four hundred years ago – and he actually coined many of the words and phrases we now take for granted. Focusing on five of the plays, we’ll take you through a range of ways to demystify
Duration Full or half day INSET, Twilight sessions available

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Categories Primary, Secondary, Teaching and Learning, KS1, KS2, KS3, KS4, Arts, English / Literacy, Teaching staff, Advanced Skills Teacher, Excellent Teacher, Main-scale (core) teacher, Newly Qualified Teacher, Non-practising teacher, Post-threshold Teacher, Pupil mentor, Supply / Peripatetic teacher, Trainnee (pre-QTS) teacher, Teacher trainer, Cross-curricular Themes, Global dimension, Health and Safety, Outdoor Activities, Sustainable Development, Assessment, Bilingual Support / EAL, Behaviour for Learning, Diversity, Gifted and Talented, Inclusion, Personalised Learning, SEND, Subject Knowledge, Classroom Management, Out of school
Learning outcomes for participants/users and, where relevant, pupils or students

Although we’ll apply the learning to five of the plays (Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing and The Tempest), you won’t need to know any of them in advance – and we’ll introduce you to ways of adapting the techniques both across Shakespeare’s entire canon and to other curriculum subjects. We’ll investigate the basics of backstory, the centrality of character and the lyrics of language, as well as looking for Shakespeare’s hidden stage directions and applying some of the rules of verse. What will you get out of it? a number of easy-to-use ways into Shakespeare that you can take back into the classroom the very next day!

Evidence underpinning this approach

Since 2014 Shakespeare has become a key component in the new national curriculum with all pupils aged 11 – 14 being required to learn at least two of the Bard’s plays in full. Supporting you in rising to the challenges of the new curriculum, this highly engaging and experiential training day explores ways of using Shakespeare to develop pupils’ understanding of text through speculating, hypothesising and exploring ideas. And teachers who have participated in this programme in the past have told us how easy these are to apply!”

How users/participants can evaluate success

“Before this programme I had no idea how to approach Shakespeare – though I knew I wanted to. Now I have lots of ideas and am stuck for choice as to which play to tackle!”

“Lots of great ideas that I can apply to my GCSE teaching – and loads of accessible and fun ways of introducing Shakespeare to lower school classes too!”

“I’ve now got a bank of strategies that I can use to engage and interest students – and make Shakespeare more relevant to them!”

Follow-up activities and support

You will receive a toolkit to accompany the content of the day and support you in exploring Shakespeare with your students.



The length of the session determines the exact content but our CPD is made up of the following types of activities:

We’ll guide you through a structure that will let you explore key scenes with students and/or help them explore a play from start to finish:

Warming-Up: We’ll start the day by playing some classic theatre games, all of which can easily be transferred to the classroom.

Creating the Characters: Who are the key players? What do we know about them from the start – and how can we represent this visually? Working with The Tempest, we’ll explore how Shakespeare first presents his characters to the audience.

Setting the Scene: What happened before Act I Scene I – and how can this help our understanding? Working with The Tempest once again, we’ll guide you through a whole-group activity that places the backstory at the forefront of the action.

Loving the Language: Shakespeare’s language can be intimidating – so we’ll share with you some ways to take the sting out of the soliloquies and defuse the dialogue! Exploring Romeo and Juliet, we’ll play with the text, starting with individual words, but building to entire blocks.

Unwritten Scenes: Why does Shakespeare sometimes choose to tell us about key pieces of action rather than show us? We’ll answer this by looking at Macbeth – and explore ways of supporting students’ own scriptwriting skills.

Pivotal Parts: How can we help students to discover for themselves the power of those moments when a Shakespeare play changes its course (normally in Act III!)? We’ll take an experiential trip through A Midsummer Night’s Dream – just at the point where it threatens to become a nightmare!

The End is Nigh: Towards the end of each play, and depending on its nature, Shakespeare needs to either untangle the knots or draw the different threads together. Looking at Much Ado About Nothing, we’ll find out how he does this – and continues to toy with his audience to the very last page!


Ways into Shakespeare is led by Jo Stokes. Working with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Jo has performed in Richard III, The Tempest and The Merchant of Venice – in theatres from Stratford to Tokyo! More recently, and with as creatives, Jo has supported teachers and pupils in both primary and secondary schools in bringing Shakespeare to life – and in learning to love the language!

Booking details:

To book an INSET or Twilight workshop or for more information about this programme or any of the others developed by as creatives, please email Jackson Kavanagh, at [email protected] or call our office on 0151 708 8886. 

Find out more about our Shakespeare CPD by visiting our website www.as-creatives.com



This course does not have any pre-booked dates available. Please contact the provider directly to arrange this training.