Back to course listing 11-14, 14-16, 16-19

EMC CPD Online: Active Approaches to Shakespeare (3 twilights 15.11.22, 16.11.22, 23.11.22 at 4.15-5.45 pm)

Course content

How do we encourage students to engage positively with Shakespeare? How do we provoke discussion? How do we promote curiosity and excitement about engaging with complex text? In three, linked twilights, this course will take on the challenges of teaching Shakespeare, using rehearsal room inspired, active approaches which have been adapted (and tried and tested) for online participation. The activities will help students to build personal responses, enabling them to reflect on the resonance of the plays in their own lives, and will develop their ability to justify and explain their responses using textual references. The course will focus on Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth but the activities can be adapted for any Shakespeare play. We will have time to reflect together on the challenges and opportunities of using this active approach in the classroom. (NB. This is a very interactive course and you will be asked to unmute your microphone and, preferably, to turn on your camera.)

Session 1: Engaging with the Text (Tuesday 15th November)

  • Building enthusiasm and encouraging close reading.

Session 2: Character (Wednesday 16th November)

  • Developing techniques to explore characters and their relationships.

Session 3: Rhythm and Rhyme (Tuesday 23rd November)

  • Active approaches to exploring Shakespeare’s verse.

NB: This is a repeat course.

Further details

  1. This course will run with limited numbers.
  2. On these longer EMC online courses, we try to make good use of Zoom's interactive features, such as breakout rooms and live Q&A. This requires people to unmute their microphones and, preferably, to turn on their camera. If you would like to take part but will not be able to unmute your microphone, please email Kate to discuss whether the course is suitable for you.
  3. As participants may be audible and visible, this course will not be recorded.
  4. Please note: courses are designed to be watched by one participant only.
  • After the session you will receive the PowerPoint presentation, any resources used on the course, an additional pack of resources, PDF editions of EMC's Doing Close Reading and The Poetry Pack – Critical Skills, as well as a £10 voucher to use against any purchase on
    • Vouchers can only be redeemed online.
    • Only one voucher can be used per purchase.
    • Vouchers expire after 6 weeks. 


  • Course materials will be sent out in advance. Please either print these out or have them available on screen during the session.

Course tutors: Tom Davey

Tom Davey is an education practitioner and RADA trained actor. His acting career includes two years at the Royal Shakespeare Company playing lead roles. Tom has worked as an education practitioner at the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Young Vic, Shakespeare’s Globe, the London Shakespeare Workout Prison Project and now runs his own business, Bright Torches, providing integrated-drama approaches for schools. He has worked with thousands of school children of all ages on Shakespeare’s plays as well as with students, teachers and professional actors. This work has taken him to many places in the UK as well as California, New York, Brunei, Germany, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Malta and China. He is passionate about the impact that rehearsal room activities can have on building personal responses to Shakespeare’s text and providing positive experiences for teachers and pupils. You can find details of his work in schools at

Information about booking your place and joining the course

Bookings for this course close at 8am on Friday 11th November or when capacity is reached, whichever is the sooner.

  • If someone else is booking the place on your behalf, please confirm with them that the booking has been made online and that the automated acknowledgement has been received. (These emails sometimes go into junk – they can also check the booking by logging into their account and clicking 'My orders'.)
  • This course must be booked online. If you pay by card that is a big help to us as a small, not-for-profit organisation. Please only ask to be invoiced if required by your school. If you need to pay by invoice, you must be signed into a 'School User' account. You will not be able to request an invoice if you have one of the short courses in your basket at the same time. These must be paid for in advance.
  • To book a place on this course, first sign into your account on the website, or register one if you need to.
  • Click 'Book online' (right-hand column) and fill in the name and email address of the person attending the course. The joining information and post-course email will be sent to this address.
  • Please note: courses are designed to be watched by one participant only. If you are booking for more than one person, repeat the process.
  • Then hover over your basket (top right) and click checkout. You cannot update number of places booked from within your basket. If you want to book another place on the course, return to the course page and go through the same process.
  • Once you have booked your place, you will see a screen 'Your order was a success!' You may want to make a note of your order number. You will also receive an automatic acknowledgement of your booking.
  • Your email with all the information you need to join the session will be sent out on Monday 14th November. Please make sure the name and email address of the person attending is included in the booking. You will be sent a reminder on the day of the course. Please check your junk or promotions folder. Still no luck? Email Maria.


The course was fun and engaging. It gave me a lot of great ideas for making Shakespeare more interactive for classes and hopefully more approachable to students who may be apprehensive about reading Shakespeare. Furthermore, the course was professionally delivered and was well accommodated for a virtual workshop.

Joseph O'Connor-Close, Blackfen School for Girls on ‘Active Approach to Shakespeare – Building the Personal Response’.

Everything was so tightly focussed on the children's learning. I loved the emphasis on exploratory, investigative learning, getting the children out of their chairs and approaching the texts like actors. I also loved the fact that, when discussing the Romeo/Juliet shared sonnet we were never translating its meaning, but talking about the effect of imagery and form. Loads of fantastic suggestions that I look forward to trying with my classes.

Guy Macdonald, Invicta Girls Grammar School on ‘Active Approach to Shakespeare – Building the Personal Response’.

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