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How to get started running Shakespeare play-readings



If you’re thinking of play-reading Shakespeare, using our plays, there’s one post we think you’ll find really useful. It’s the index to a one hour adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, which includes, in a section called “Help with using our Script pages”, entries which explain how to use our innovative support for play-reading including: cue scripts; cast list; round-robin reading; and highlight text. You’ll find it at:



It is getting easier and easier to run a Shakespeare play-reading using our edition of Shakespeare, and more and more of you seem to wamt to run play-readings. But it’s still not exactly intuitive as to how you get started running Shakespeare play-reading(s). We recently published a page on how to run a play-reading, which may be worth a read if you haven’t read it yet. It’s at:


How to run a Shakespeare Play-reading


If you want to run a play-reading, all the information is on the web-site, but it’ may not be easy to find, so we’re going to lay out the main useful pages in this post.


Now that we have quite a few groups play-reading in a number of locations, we’ve put up a 10-step plan to starting a play-reading group which should help you get going. It’s called ‘Countdown to play-reading’ and you can find it at:


Countdown to play-reading



 Understanding how you can use Players-Shakespeare.com

If you’re the sort of person who just likes to get started and get some help when you get stuck, then scroll d own to the ‘Getting Started’ section, and come back here if/when you get stuck.


If you’re the sort of person who likes to have  a clear idea  of how everything works, this section lays out the main pages useful to you, and what they do. Each of the bullet-points is a link which will take you a page covering the topic:


  • How to run a Shakespeare Play-reading
    This page outlines the three main steps to running a Shakespeare play-reading. These are:
    – Selecting a play and inviting enough people to  read the play
    – Getting a good location to run the play-reading
    – Running the play-reading
  • How to get started running Shakespeare play-readings (this page)
  • Home Page
    The Home Page does three main things:
    – It provides links to the main Help Sections to help you with different aspects of  using the web-site
    – It provides a list of plays that we’ve published. Those in blue also have an index which lets you access things relating to the play.
    – It outlines how we think you can use the plays
  • How to use our site to explore a Shakespeare play
    This page gives an overview of the main things you can do on the web-site to explore a Shakespeare play, using the menus, or using the index, to access them.
  • Professional Actors Play-reading report
    This playreading report gives you a good idea of how professional actors reacted to using the web-site to explore a number of Shakespeare plays.
  • Other play-reading reports
    We regularly publish play-reading reports, and you’ll find them all (and some other pages relating to play-reading) on this page. Click on one of the pictures, to read the play-reading report.


Help Videos available:


Help with this web-site  

We provide a number of Help Videos on how to use the detailed features of the web-site.  The main ones you need to understand are:

How to set-up a play-reading

How to access a Shakespeare play and tailor it to meet your needs

How to use “Let’s Explore”

How to use “Let’s Play”

How to use Video Readings

How use the Play Index

How to translate scenes into other languages


How to Play Shakespeare

We aksi orivude kunuted help with how to read, or play Shakespeare, including:

Hamlet’s (Shakespeare’s?) advice to the Players

Shakespeare’s use of Blank Verse (from A1S1 of The Merchant of Venice)

We plan to provide more of this help in the future, and also recommend that you explore the RSC’s ‘Playing Shakespeare’ with John Barton and a host of RSC actors.



Getting Started:

If you need to understand how things work, you’ll have read all (or most) of the pages in the previous sections, and now will want to start actually using the web-site. Some people just like to get started and keep going until they need help. Such people will just start here.

  • Let’s Explore (on your own )We recommend that you start using the site on your own. There is a section of our “Let’s Play” menu which includes play-readings for 1 reader. If you click on the kink above, you’ll be takne to a page of monologues for 1 reader. We suggest you cselect on one of those and clic on the pic to go to the play-reading. There you’ll be able to read a monologue from a Shakespeare play out loud.
    By doing this, you’ll have the fun of reading Shakespeare, but you’ll also get used to how our Shakespeare scripts work, and you’ll learn that on your own, so that when you involve others, you’ll know how the pages work.
  • Let’s Play (with 2 or 3 friends)
    Before you call in a few friends, you should have a look at Let’s Play. There are more pages in the Let’s Play menu for 2, 3, 4 and more than 4 players.  Each of those pages have extracts which need the specified number of players. If you click on the link above, you’ll get taken to the page for 2 players. Select 1 of the extracts that you like the look of, by clicking on th epic, and the page for that Let’s Play will open up.
    Explore the parts for both players, by clicking on the Player link, and you’ll soon get the idea of how the players can play scenes together.
    Once, you’re familiar with how Let’s Play works, it’s time to get some friends in and spend some time playing Shakespeare scenes together. Once you’ve got three or four friends able, and keen, to rplayread together, it’s time to run your first play-reading.
  • Running a play-reading
    Once two or three of you are familiar with using the system, it’s time to run a play-reading. Normally we run a play-reading with around 8 people, but you can go as low as 6, and usually up to 12. We usually provide cast lists for 6 to 12 readers in the index of the play (see the Index help video).You’ll have 2 or 3 people who can help the newcomers to get started, and that should provide enough confidence in the group for that play-reading to be a success, and, like us, you’ll soon be running monthly play-reading sessions with people lamouring to come.

The web-site can be used for other things than play-readings, and future pages will tell you more about that, but you’re probably familiar enough with the we b-site to start using it for other things by exploring the menu, including:

  • Play-reading Reports
  • Reviews of Shakespeare plays you can watch at home
  • Video Readings
  • Make your own “Let’s Play”
  • Make your own Video Readings


If you do start running Playreadings,  ‘like’ our Facebook page, and we’ll answer support questions on play-readings there.


Let’s Play,


Richard Forsyth
‘The Director’,

If you ‘like’ our Facebook page, you’ll get updates on Facebook on what’s happening.



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