We now have our own Shakespeare Reading Room!
3209-A Calle Marie • Santa Fe • NM • $5
All readings and discussions are facilitated by Robin Williams. These are the current plays we are reading so we will be prepared to be a great audience when these plays are performed this summer in the Santa Fe Summer Shakespeare festival:

Every Sunday • 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. • Richard 2, then 1 Henry 4
Starting April 1 • Every Monday • 6 to 8 p.m. • Romeo & Juliet
Starting April 3 • Every Wednesday • 10 a.m. to noon • Measure for Measure

Please RSVP on our meetup site as we can make sure to arrange the tables and chairs appropriately!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The First Folio, the first collected works of Shakespeare’s plays, is dedicated to “The Great Variety of Readers.” The editors wrote in that dedication: Read him, therefore; and again and again.

Shakespeare’s plays were widely and voraciously read until relatively recently. Thousands of Shakespeare reading groups in the United States and Great Britain met regularly to read aloud and discuss the plays; in fact, reading the plays was so immensely popular that the actor Henry Irving in 1890 wrote an essay titled “Shakespeare as a Playwright” and had to apologize for insisting the plays were just as good on stage as they were on the page!

I daresay that it will appear to some readers a profanation of the name of Shakespeare to couple with it the title of “playwright.” But I have chosen this title for my introduction because I am anxious to show that with the mighty genius of the poet was united, in a remarkable degree, the capacity for writing plays intended to be acted as well as read.

Everyone read Shakespeare—shopkeepers, coal miners, dilettantes, butchers, gentlewomen, pioneers, farmers—out loud and in community. Shakespeare was so embedded in popular culture that parodies could act as advertising, and cigarette packs held Shakespeare trading cards. Sadly, once the insistence began that we should only experience Shakespeare on the stage, familiarity with Shakespeare declined.

But not any more! Join the warm and encouraging community of Shakespeare readers. Find yourself—and the world—in these luminous works.

 

WHY READ SHAKESPEARE ALOUD WITH OTHERS?

  • Experience the entire play instead of the shortened stage version.

  • Read plays you’ll rarely (sometimes never) see on stage.

  • Understand more words.

  • Discover more layers.

  • Take it personally.

  • See more ambiguities and make up your own mind about them.

  • Be an active participant in the play.

  • Enlarge your mind and thoughts.

  • Spend time to process the riches.

  • Memorize your favorite lines.

  • Savor the language and imagery.

  • Write notes in your book for posterity.

  • Hear it aloud.

  • Absorb the words visually and aurally at the same time.

  • Share a common experience.

  • Create community.

  • Expand your knowledge.

  • Invigorate your brain.

  • Make new friends.

  • Be a more interesting dinner guest.

  • Enjoy the performance more fully!

The ISC plans a National Shakespeare Reading Initiative: iReadShakespeare, that provides encouragement and support to adults who want to read aloud together and discuss the text—in addition to seeing the plays on stage and film!

The ISC Press publishes our original Readers’ Editions of the plays.

Check out our full-blown support site, www.iReadShakespeare.org.