Theatre director Bill Buckhurst is at Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, in Bankside, London. As Bill talks about directing Shakespeare, we see some video footage of previous Globe theatre productions. Bill explains that when preparing to stage a play, one of the most important things to do is to mark out the space your actors will work in and establish where your audience will stand or sit. He shows how this can be done simply at home. As Shakespeare plays are quite long, he suggests choosing a short extract to perform rather than an entire play. When choosing set and props, Bill recommends keeping it simple. He explains that in his own recent production of 'Othello' at Shakespeare’s Globe he used boxes as props/set, letting the audience use their imagination to create the world of the play.
The current Globe theatre is a reconstruction of the theatre in which many of Shakespeare’s plays were originally staged. Pupils could research the history of theatre entertainment in Shakespeare’s time, including both the outdoor Globe theatre and the Blackfriars Theatre (an indoor playhouse used by Shakespeare in his later career). There are some excellent resources on the official website of Shakespeare’s reconstructed Globe theatre, including a virtual tour of the theatre space. Pupils could design sketches or cross sections for their own Elizabethan outdoor or indoor playhouse, with a view to making and evaluating their own designs, perhaps with the assistance of computer aided design. Pupils could choose (or be provided with) a short extract of a Shakespeare play to perform. They could be challenged with thinking about what readily available props they could use to convey a simple sense of plot and character.