Recommended Reading

This list is by no means exhaustive, but simply a collection of useful titles to begin with- I have read them all, and add to this list as often as possible. - Laura Cole, Director of Education and Training

Resources on Original Practice and the Elizabethan Milieu- these are the books that I find invaluable in performance, scholarship and teaching

Title Author
Playgoing in Shakespeare’s London Andrew Gurr
Staging In Shakespeare’s Theatres Andrew Gurr, Mariko Ichikawa
The Shakespearean Stage 1574-1642 Andrew Gurr
Rehearsal From Shakespeare To Sheridan Tiffany Stern
Making Shakespeare: from page to stage Tiffany Stern (excellent intro to OP’s)
The Best Actors In the World David Grote (I LOVE this one)
Shakespeare’s Politics: A Contextual Introduction Robin Hedlam Wells

Resources on Plot, Character and Story

I use these in research all the time

Title Author
Shakespeare and The Invention of The Human Harold Bloom
Shakespeare A to Z Charles Boyce
Asimov’s Guide To Shakespeare Isaac Asimov

Basic Reference

I don’t think any actor/teacher/student can understand Shakespeare without these

Title Author
Shakespeare’s Bawdy Eric Partridge
Shakespeare’s Glossary C.T. Onions
Shakespeare's Lives S. Schoenbaum
Shakespeare's Reading Robert S. Miola

Books useful in acting Shakespeare

These are in front of me during rehearsals, as an actor and director

Title Author
The Applause First Folio of Shakespeare Ed. Neil Freeman
Freeing Shakespeare’s Voice Kristin Linklater
All the Words Onstage - Complete pronunciation dictionary for Americans Louis Scheeder and Shane Ann Younts
The Arden Editions of all Shakespeare’s plays
Secrets Of Acting Shakespeare Patrick Tucker
Secrets Of Acting Shakespeare Patrick Tucker

Other books of interest

Books that contribute to my Shakespeare performance and scholarship and were really entertaining to read!

Title Author
Figures of Speech Arthur Quinn
Shakespeare’s Book of Lists Michael Lomonico
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Shakespeare Laurie Rozakis
Coined By Shakespeare Jeffrey McQuain & Stanley Malless
Will & Me-How Shakespeare Took Over My Life Dominic Dromgoole

Books on the Elizabethan milieu & Shakespeare’s life and times

Title Author
The Horizon Book of the Elizabethan World Lacey Baldwin Smith
The War of the Roses Alison Weir
The Life of Elizabeth Alison Weir

The next three are classics of the modern age

Title Author
Shakespeare Ivor Brown
Shakespeare of London Marchette Chute
The Elizabethan World Picture E.M.W. Tilyard
Shakespeare, Our Contemporary Jan Kott

Other significant names in Shakespearean scholarship that you can look for: I’ve read at least one book each of these folks wrote, and even if some info is more or less out of date, and/or out of print, they are giants of 20th century Shakespearean scholarship.

  • A.C. Bradley
  • T. W. Baldwin
  • M.C. Bradbrook
  • Harley Granville-Barker
  • Stephen Greenblatt
  • Sidney Lee
  • Kenneth Muir
  • A.L. Rowse
  • Logan Pearsall Smith
  • Caroline Spurgeon
  • J.C. Trewin
  • Dover Wilson
  • Frances Yates

This list is by no means exhaustive or even particularly "scholarly" but is an excellent beginning.


Click here for the complete Shakespeare movie list