It’s not always easy to love Shakespeare. It can be tricky making sense of thou, thee, thy and thine, or navigating your way around an iambic pentameter. For a lot of people, their first (and last) experience of the Bard is listening to his work being recited in their high school English class–not always the most magical of settings.
And yet, over 400 years after Shakespeare’s death, his plays are still works of great power, intensity–and magic. But how to escape those early experiences and discover this? The easiest way is often to head along to a theatre and watch a performance. Words that seem incomprehensible on the page quickly make sense when delivered by an actor or actress. Sentences that seem dull and long-winded in the classroom are suddenly filled with sex and sword-fights.
But what if you can’t make it, or want a sneak peek before heading along? Well, that’s where Bloomsbury Drama Online comes in!
Bloomsbury Drama Online is Wellington City Libraries’ premier database for the performing arts. As well as containing playtexts for each of Shakespeare’s works, there’s also a fantastic collection of live video recordings. Interested in Hamlet? Bloomsbury Drama Online has recordings of four different productions, including two from the Royal Shakespeare Company and a fantastic adaptation with Hamlet played by Maxine Peake.
With over 3,000 plays, 350 audio plays and 150 hours of video, Bloomsbury Drama Online isn’t just restricted to Shakespeare, either. In it you can find the works of celebrated playwrights from Tony Kushner to Caryl Churchill, Anton Chekhov to Bertolt Brecht, and many, many more. There’s also context and criticism to add further depth to your experience.
What if this isn’t enough, though? You’ve seen the plays, you’ve read the texts–but you want more? Then it’s time to visit Bloomsbury Drama Online’s final section: Theatre Craft. Here you’ll find everything you need to start learning about the practicalities of acting, from introductory works such as Acting Characters and Mastering the Audition to specialist texts such as Stage Combat Arts.