Self-led learning courses from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

October 2022 sees the launch of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s new self-led learning courses, allowing people to discover the beautiful complexity and universality of the works of Shakespeare at their own speed. 

We have released an exploration of Macbeth first, perfect for anyone studying or teaching the Scottish play at GCSE and beyond, or who just wants to explore it in more depth. 

These affordable, accessible courses, delivered completely online, are designed for anyone looking to broaden their Shakespeare knowledge at a pace to suit them. 

Our course expert, Dr Darren Freebury-Jones, Lecturer in Shakespeare Studies, talks more about why we’ve launched this course:

“The course offers opportunities to delve into the play as much as you like and at your own pace. You can dip your toes into the play’s plot, characters and themes, if you simply want to refresh your memory of the play prior to seeing it at the theatre, for example.

“You can delve into its historical context, the language of the play, its performance history, and its legacy. The course is packed with educational text, video and audio content, timelines and interactive resources, so it’s very much targeted at different learning styles and preferences. 

“These affordable, accessible courses, delivered completely online, are designed for anyone looking to broaden their Shakespeare knowledge”

“I was keen to develop this course because it represents the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s mission, as an independent, educational charity, to deepen understanding and enjoyment of Shakespeare’s works, life and times.

“The course emphasises the accessibility of Shakespeare’s plays because it is ideal for non-specialist audiences as well as students, teachers and even hardened researchers. But what I think makes the course truly unique is that it embodies the Trust’s values.  

“It features high-quality video content offering insights into: books and items related to Macbeth in the Trust’s archives and collections; lecture videos delivered by the Trust’s subject experts; and scenes from the play filmed at Shakespeare’s New Place and Hall’s Croft, showcasing historic properties and talented actors and filmmakers.

“You can explore Macbeth in the context of Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon, learn more about what we know of the dramatist’s life and career as well as the play’s characters, themes and language, with an emphasis on the play’s original theatrical context as a script to be performed, not just a text to be studied.  

“You can also explore the social, cultural and political milieu in which the play was composed, discovering more about Shakespeare’s use of sources, the dangers of politicising under King James of England and Scotland, and the ways in which Shakespeare’s contemporaries approached the supernatural.

“There are opportunities to learn about the play’s fascinating textual history and even the music of Macbeth. You can also discover more about: the approaches actors, directors and costume and set designers have taken to Shakespeare’s dark tragedy; the ways the play has been adapted in literature, art and opera; and a deeper understanding of the source of the play’s curse.

“I really do feel that there is something for everyone in this course, and that whether you’re a teacher seeking to broaden your knowledge and enhance your abilities or an informal learner interested in Shakespeare, you’ll find this self-led experience truly enriching.” 

Find out more and get a sneak preview here.

Browse our Shakespeare Week teaching resources.

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