Fall Online Classes

From hands-on classes to discussion seminars, our new online courses were designed to spark thoughtful dialogue and deepen your connection to Chicago Shakespeare.

(If you are interested in learning instead about class offerings for performers, please contact for further details.)

Interested in learning about future classes? Let us know.

Finding Clues in Shakespeare’s First Folio

Registration for this class is closed.

As you’ve sat in the audience watching a production, have you wondered how the actors on Chicago Shakespeare’s stages make Shakespeare’s language so clear? Join us for this two-session class with Chicago Shakespeare Casting Director Bob Mason who will introduce participants to the “First Folio technique” used by our text coaches, directors, and cast members. This fun, accessible way to analyze Shakespeare’s language provides insight into how actors unlock clues and bring his characters to life on stage. In this hands-on class, participants will have the chance to “speak the speech” with fellow class members. All sessions will meet over Zoom and registration is limited to 25 participants. Novices only!

Revising Othello

Registration for this class is closed.

In this course, participants will explore how contemporary playwrights reclaim, recycle, and respond to Shakespeare’s Othello through stage adaptation. Facilitated by Chicago Shakespeare Theater Public Humanities Manager and Pre•Amble scholar Sara B.T. Thiel, members of this four-part discussion seminar will read Shakespeare’s tragedy alongside twentieth- and twenty-first century re-tellings by Toni Morrison, Keith Hamilton Cobb, and Djanet Sears—each grappling with the power and pitfalls of Othello. Classes will meet over Zoom and registration is limited to 25 participants.

For this class, you’ll want to have your own copies of Shakespeare’s Othello, Djanet Sears’ Harlem Duet, Toni Morrison’s Desdemona, and Keith Hamilton Cobb’s American Moor. While all scripts are available for purchase online, we encourage you to contact your own local independent bookstore.

Bringing Shakespeare’s Characters to Life

Registration for this class is closed.

Now’s your chance to leave that comfortable seat in the audience and “take center stage”! Throughout the rehearsal process, actors and directors unlock Shakespeare’s language to understand characters’ relationships—and discover how to bring them to life for audiences. In this class with Chicago Shakespeare Casting Director Bob Mason, audience members will practice their own “scene study,” diving deep into Shakespeare’s complex texts to interpret character relationships and gain insight into the work—just as actors do on Chicago Shakespeare stages. Class will meet over Zoom and registration is limited to 25 participants. No prior experience is required.

How to Read a Play

Registration for this class is closed.

For even the most experienced playgoers, reading a play can pose a real challenge. How do you “see” what a group of artists does? Join Chicago Shakespeare Theater Public Humanities Manager and Pre•Amble scholar Sara B.T. Thiel for this “play reading 101” course. Using the influential essay “Visit to a Small Planet” by Dr. Elinor Fuchs (Professor Emerita, Yale School of Drama) and contemporary short plays by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, participants will learn what questions to “ask” a script and how to enjoy the process of reading a play, cover to cover! This small-group discussion will meet over Zoom and registration is limited to 25 participants.




Bob Mason is an artistic associate at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and this year he celebrates twenty years as its casting director. He has cast over 125 productions for Chicago Shakespeare, ranging from 32 plays in Shakespeare's canon to a host of Sondheim musicals and contemporary plays. He was recently the casting director for the US premiere of SIX, which transferred to Broadway with the original Chicago company. A visiting educator at many studios and universities around the country, Bob's former life was as a Jeff Award-winning actor and singer.


Sara B.T. Thiel is the public humanities manager at Chicago Shakespeare Theater and a Pre•Amble scholar. Her book, Performing Pregnancy on the Early Modern English Stage, 1603-1642 is under contract with Routledge’s Studies in Performance and Early Modern Drama series. She also researches and publishes on contemporary adaptations of Shakespeare. Previously, Sara taught theater history and early modern drama at the University of Pittsburgh. She holds a PhD in Theatre Studies from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.


Vanessa I. Corredera is the chair of and associate professor in the Department of English at Andrews University. Her book, “Speak of Me As I Am”: Othello in Postracial America is under contract with Edinburgh University Press. Her research and publications analyze the intersection of race, gender, and representation in contemporary adaptations and appropriations of Shakespeare, both in popular culture and in performance. She holds a PhD in Renaissance Literature from Northwestern University.


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