Spring 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.)

Please note: All classes require a minimum of 10 participants. A member of our staff will reach out to you if the class is cancelled due to low enrollment.


This 2-session class will be offered on a Friday or a Saturday.

Section A
Registration for this section is closed.

Section B
Friday, May 7 & Friday, May 14
5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. (Central)

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 participatory 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!


Past Classes We’ve Offered This Year


Shakespeare has permeated every part of the world's culture—and the greatest of American art forms, the American Musical, is no exception. This two-part class with Chicago Shakespeare Casting Director Bob Mason will survey several major Shakespeare-to-Broadway (and off-Broadway) adaptations, such as The Boys from Syracuse, West Side Story, Kiss Me, Kate, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and Chicago Shakespeare's own Q Brothers’ Othello: The Remix. We will also glance at some Shakespeare musical flops, such as Swingin’ the Dream and Rockabye Hamlet. For fans of Shakespeare, the Broadway musical, or both! Classes will meet over Zoom and registration is limited to 25 participants.


The Tempest has long been interpreted as a celebration of art, drama, and the power of poetry. Yet Shakespeare’s final single-authored play has also been taken up by a range of marginalized voices across the globe in order to speak back to power. This four-session course with scholar Vanessa I. Corredera, who specializes in Shakespeare, race, and adaptation, will place works by Roberto Fernández Retamar (“Caliban”), Aimé Césaire (Un Tempête/A Tempest), and Elizabeth Nunez (Prospero’s Daughter) in conversation with The Tempest on the page and in performance. These interactions with The Tempest take Caliban’s perspective, not Prospero’s, using Shakespeare’s late play to question the connections between authority, identity, art, and oppression. Together, we will explore how and why The Tempest has frequently been used as a lightning rod for ideological and socio-political resistance. Classes will meet over Zoom and registration is limited to 25 people. Participants should have access to their own copy of Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Nunez’s Prospero’s Daughter (either a physical or digital copy). All other materials will be available online or in-class.


In this four-session course we’ll explore how the significance of a work as expansive as Shakespeare’s Hamlet changes as we change. Participants will read Shakespeare’s tragedy alongside stage, film, and online performances to discuss how twenty-first-century artists continue to re-shape Hamlet to reflect our present moment. With Chicago Shakespeare Theater Public Humanities Manager and Pre•Amble scholar Sara B.T. Thiel, this class compares recent stage interpretations from Chicago Shakespeare Theater, The Public Theater, and the Royal Shakespeare Company alongside 2020 digital social justice projects and film adaptations, like Vishal Bhardwaj’s 2014 Haider. Together we’ll explore what Hamlet means not for all time, but for an age. Classes will meet over Zoom and registration is limited to 25 people. Participants should have access to their own copy of Hamlet (either a physical or digital copy). Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haider is available for streaming on Netflix. All other materials will be available online or in-class.


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”one-session class. 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.



Interested in learning about future classes? Let us know.


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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