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Shakespeare: Context and Stagecraft

Key information

Subject area:

FutureLearn Online Courses

Course type:

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Credit level:

Not for credit


2 weeks

Available course dates:

From: 01 September 2023 To: 31 August 2024

Course overview

Study fascinating theatrical and social contexts that shaped Shakespeare’s plays.

On this course, you’ll explore the language, themes, and contexts of three of Shakespeare’s most widely studied and frequently performed plays.

You’ll consider the different performance choices they offer and learn about the theatrical practices that influenced Shakespeare’s stagecraft.

This course will complement curriculums across the globe while offering students the chance to delve deeper into areas that schools often don’t have time to cover, such as performance, dramaturgy, and context.

What does this course cover?

  • Shakespeare’s stagecraft
  • Early modern performance conditions and Shakespeare’s plays
  • Language and how it creates meaning
  • Historical and literary context of the plays
  • The afterlives of Shakespeare’s plays

What will I achieve?

  • Explore the language and themes of Shakespeare’s plays
  • Identify early modern performance practices and how they contributed to Shakespeare’s stagecraft
  • Explain the plays’ social and historical context
  • Compare different performance choices

Who will I learn with?

Gordon McMullan

Gordon McMullan

Professor of English

Hannah Crawforth

Hannah Crawforth

Reader in Early Modern Literature

Who is this for?

This course is primarily designed for those studying or teaching Shakespeare as part of the school curriculum.

The course is also suitable for anyone new to Shakespeare, as well as those looking to refresh their knowledge.

What is the teaching schedule?

This course runs multiple times each year. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Please click the Apply button to find out when the next run will start. 

Our partners

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Future Learn

Course status:


Full fee £0



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