7 Tips for Performing Shakespeare on Stage

Published: July 6, 2021

First and foremost, after your first experience in a Shakespeare class, get familiar with Edith Skinner’s Speak with Distinction for sharp diction!

With full of determination and beautiful goals, the following list will be your sidekick and best friend for all future auditions in the real world. Every actor learns how to sharpen their skills or master the classical English language each day.

Check out these essential tips to bring the extra sparkling touch to your appealing acting career, topping up all the texts from now on!

Sharp Diction

The role of accents in performing Shakespeare
via Backstage

Every teacher usually says, ‘nice and clear,’ and they are right. Make sure the words are hit perfectly to convey the appropriate message. With precise elocution, all the sounds, and syllables, are vital to the story to be grasped by the audience. Don’t forget that most of the time, the person in the front row or the back seat could be hearing it for the first time. Besides, in the case of an accent, keep it; that’s what makes it different and unique for each performer. There will be no rejection of your background unless the practice of British RP or Standard American is on the dot and required by the creative team. 

SEE ALSO: How to Hook Your Readers or Audience to Your Writing?

Perfect Understanding 

Understanding Shakespeare
via Transmission Glassgow

Following that same note, ensure the entire text is fully understood before diving into the learning process. Why? Because it will simply be much easier to remember it if the text is completely clear. Some of the older English may not be perceived when doing the text analysis. That’s normal, don’t panic! Look in a dictionary and put down the common word used nowadays instead on a blank page across the text and paraphrase the vital message. This incredible secret is fascinating! Try it, it works, and the public will observe effortless work.

Believe in the Verbs

Knowing Shakespearean verbs
via Slideshare

During the study of the text, hunt for the verbs that are crucial to the text or the story’s objective. In fact, without them, the sentence wouldn’t exist. These action verbs drive the scene and help make sense of the plot. Returning to the early stages of life, it is noticeable when children combine verbs to communicate. With age, a more conceived language applies. Like growing up, building a house, or during a performance, everyone can add on the words, as if spontaneously communicating to be captivating. 

Iambic Pentameter Is the Key Score

Understanding Iambic Pentameter
via Eamus

That remarkable technique used by thousands of actors is palpable in Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets. What does it mean? It purely follows the heartbeat when saying the words on the page. When reading the text for the first time or during a table read, tap the right hand when speaking, and the rhythm will find itself. An unstressed syllable said lower and quieter, then a stressed syllable said higher and longer:

‘If music be the food of love, play on.’

Twelfth Night


‘Now is the winter of our discontent.’

Richard III

With practice, the wording and stressing will flow naturally.


No pressure is needed! Time to plant your feet in the ground, find roots, connect with your partners and feed the body with oxygen. We all need it to survive every day and so do the actors. A tensed character doesn’t mean a tensed actor. On the contrary, that’s the magic of it. Because the words are compelling and the body is secondary, it is necessary to have the perfect stillness and ultra-precision of your body center. The voice placed right, the breathing set, it’s time to shine with complete ease.

SEE ALSO: Discipline Is The Highest Form Of Self-Love

Deliver the Story

Performing Shakespeare on stage
via Bethesda Magazine

Now is the time everyone has been waiting for. The beauty of the text can be shared, transporting the spectators into the poetic journey of Shakespeare’s mind. All the points above, all cooked together in the same pot, make a polished performer for a flawless time on the stage. Loud and free, the phrases can be theatrically whispered, shouted, laughed out, or confessed with the goal of the specific message of the plot delivered to the eager listeners.

Read Shakespeare and Co.

Reading list for Shakespeare
via A Culture of Reading

The tips or reminders are now new friends!

Though, it is always essential to remain marveled and curious about new works and especially former influencers of the page. Yes! Keep discovering more from Shakespeare on that matter to enter his world fully and use that muscle always for all classical playwrights. Other mesmerizing dramatists, novelists, and poets to be familiar with are Molière, Victor Hugo, Charles Baudelaire, Jacques Prévert, and Jean de La Fontaine with The fables, added to numerous other timeless geniuses.


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