As well as looking at how we’ve staged The Taming of the Shrew, which you can do in the Productions section, it’s important to think about what you would do if you were staging the play. And, if you can, to perform parts of it yourself.

We encourage you to look at the play, or scenes in the play, and think through the decisions a director makes with their actors:

  • Where is the play set?
  • How are the characters connected?
  • What do the characters want?

Here you can find some key things to think about before staging the play yourself. Even if you’re working towards an exam or preparing for an assignment, it’s important to think about different ways of reading lines or words and taking a look at the key decisions a director needs to make could really help your essay responses.

  • Key Decisions to Make

    There are certain things that every director and creative team have to consider when staging The Taming of the Shrew. The way you answer the questions can create incredibly different interpretations of the play.


    • So much of the play is about relationships between men and women, including fathers and daughters as well as marriages. How do men and women differ in this world? Do men and women change their behaviour when they’re in the presence of the other gender?
    • The women in the play are constantly compared. How will you show the differences between Katherina and Bianca? Why are they in constant conflict and what makes Bianca so appealing to the suitors who visit Baptista, while Katherina is called 'curst'? How can you show these comparisons?
    • Katherina is seen to change thrughout the play, becoming a 'model' wife by the end, speaking about the role of a wife in honouring their husband. Will you show Katherina to have transformed at the end of the play or is she hiding her truth? How much has she been ‘tamed’ and how much has she adapted to survive?


    • The role of Grumio, Petruchio's servant, is crucial to the play. How cruel is Petruchio? Is his violence towards Grumio real and troubling, or silly and slapstick?
    • Are the disguises of Hortensio and Lucentio successful in concealing identity, or are they comic? How much will you emphasise these moments and is the comedy at the expense of these characters or are they aware?
    • What does Petruchio wear to the wedding? Is his appearance insulting, hilarious or even frightening? How ridiculous is his behaviour?
    • Gremio is referred to as a pantaloon, referencing the Italian theatre form Commedia dell’Arte. Will this style influence your production?


    • How will you stage Padua? How does this world differ from Petruchio’s world in Verona and Lucentio’s in Pisa?
    • What is the hierarchy and status of the characters in the play? How does this change when characters are in disguise?
    • How is wealth demonstrated to other characters and the audience? Marriage is also closely linked with money and business. Does this affect the presentation of the weddings and who is important at the events?

    Within each of these choices, there are lots of key moments and scenes to explore.

    Going back through the Investigate section and looking at the different performances we’ve had at the RSC, think about these two areas:

    • Can you see how each director has presented the patriarchy and the behaviour between men and women? Why do you think they have made those choices?
    • To what extent is the play a comedy? How might the humour in the play work in contemporary productions?

Teacher Notes

This page looks at some of the key decisions a director makes.

Challenge your students to think about how they would want to tell the story of The Taming of The Shrew. How would they respond to the questions here?