Shakespeare on Screen

Ref: C2225646

From the dawn of cinema to the present day Shakespeare has directly or indirectly inspired a huge number of films and an equally wide range of interpretations. Since the first recording of King John in 1899 film-makers have risen to the challenge of adapting some of the most imaginative verse in the English language to the screen with variable results. Beginning with a study of the process of adaptation from text to screen, the course will go on to explore each week several film versions of a single play to see how different directors have handled that process and to assess how successful they have been. The course will cover a wide range of adaptations, including foreign language films and experimental productions. We will consider such topics as the cultural and historical context of adaptations, the importance of ‘translating’ Shakespeare’s poetic imagery into visual imagery and the difficulties presented by Shakespeare’s language and verse.

Course aim

To provide learners with critical tools to enhance their appreciation and understanding of both Shakespeare and film and improve learners' understanding of the choices film makers face when adapting Shakespeare.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Make informed judgements about the success or otherwise of film adaptations of Shakespeare plays.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of Shakespeare’s language and verse.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the stylistic techniques used by film makers.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • All materials will be provided

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here

Download full course information sheet

Shakespeare on Screen


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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