We use the same techniques to teach Shakespeare that RSC actors use in the rehearsal room

What are rehearsal room approaches to Shakespeare?

There are direct parallels between teaching and learning in the classroom and the way that plays are developed in the theatre. The process of rehearsing a play is collaborative. As a group, the actors and director will make choices about the interpretation of plot, characters, themes and language of the play. They also explore the key themes and dilemmas that are present in the text.

Rehearsal room approaches focus on:

  • Establishing the world in which the story is taking place
  • Telling the story
  • Discovering the characters
  • Exploring the language

Read example classroom activities


How will rehearsal room approaches benefit my students?

Rehearsal room approaches can help students of all ages and abilities unlock Shakespeare's language.

This way of working can produce sophisticated analytical responses, both verbal and written, challenging the most able learners as well as motivating the most reluctant.

We've found that using techniques from our rehearsal room has many other remarkable results:

  • Improved experiences of, and opinions about, Shakespeare
  • Directly impacts on attitudes to learning and school in general
  • Improves student confidence
  • Develops language ability
  • Helps young people to express themselves and their ideas more clearly

What's the evidence?

Time To Act is a new major research study exploring the difference that Shakespeare’s work and RSC teaching approaches make to the language development and social and emotional development of children and young people. 

The findings from a study in 2023 show positive impacts and contribute new insights into the difference that engagement with the arts and cultural education has on their lives.

Find out more about Time to Act


Previous Research

The Royal Shakespeare Company, Tate and the University of Nottingham joined together to examine the benefits of taking arts and education seriously. 

Find out about #TimeToListen

Following work undertaken by The University of Warwick, we aslo have robust research that indicates the positive impact our way of working with Shakespeare has on young people, their teachers, schools and wider community.

The findings show that rehearsal room approaches to studying Shakespeare can significantly improve student language skills and acquisition. In particular, some of the schools surveyed reported increased SATs and GCSE English scores. 

Read the RSC Schools Survey Final Report

You can also explore our series of classroom case studies. A group of teachers were asked to record the changes that happened in their classrooms as a result of their work with the RSC and their regional theatre.

You will find reports of improvements in pupil progress and attainment, examples of how teachers supported colleagues to adopt new approaches to teaching Shakespeare and discoveries about the wider impact of our work on parents and the local community.

Read Classroom Case Studies