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A day dedicated to the Bard himself!

Celebrating Shakespeare is a great way to bring some culture into your week.

National Shakespeare Day is celebrated all over the world on April 23 and we know how to celebrate the most famous playwright in history — by watching his popular plays, talking like his characters, and even trying to dress in attire from that era! 

So how can you celebrate?

Act it out; it is a play after all!

Have residents read a play aloud.  You can assign parts, let them choose, or have one resident read a part while another acts it out mime-style.  You can get twice the number of residents involved that way and draw on their strengths.  If you want to involve all, number the lines of the scene up to the number of residents then repeat until each line is numbered.  Then have residents count off and read “their” lines regardless of the character speaking.

Bring the play to life:

Watch a stage or film version of a play. Watching two or more versions of the same scene can allow for comparison and contrast.  Talk about casting, costumes, setting, props, lighting, music, etc.  Try the opening of Macbeth it’s perfect for this!  There are some on YouTube too.

Book Club Activity

If your community has a book club, this is the perfect time to read a Shakespearean play or do a live reading of his sonnets.


  • Make a model of the Globe Theater
  • Design your own bumperstickers like these students did!
  • Make posters to put up in a room things like:
    • Friends Romans countrymen, lend me your years.
    • Partying is such sweet sorrow.
    • With mirth and laughter, let old wrinkles come.
    • O birthday cake birthday cake, wherefore art thou, so delicious?
    • To party, or not to party, that is the question
    • If cake be the food of love, bake on!

YouTube Videos

There Is No Escaping Shakespeare – Shakespeare died 400 years ago, but his influence on language and culture remains.

Shakespeare in Seven Minutes: Macbeth Summary – An entertaining and concise summary of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth

William Shakespeare: Legendary Wordsmith – Fast Facts | History – Take a look at the life of one of the most celebrated authors of all time, legendary wordsmith William Shakespeare, in this video.

Shakespeare’s Sonnets: Crash Course Literature 304 – Look at a few of Willy Shakes’s biggest hits, including Sonnet 18, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day,” Sonnet 116, “Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediment,” and Sonnet 130, “My mistresses’ eyes are nothing like the sun.” We’ll talk about what makes a sonnet, a little bit about their history, and even a little bit about how reading poetry helps us understand how to be human beings.

Robin Williams’ Hilarious Shakespeare Improvisation, Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show

Shakespeare’s King Lear. James Earl Jones, NYC Shakespeare Festival, 1974

And don’t forget Shakespeare on the Screen

There are also many movies that are based on his plays!

  • West Side Story – Play: Romeo & Juliet | 1961 | PG | Musical, Romance
  • A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy – Play: A Midsummer Night’s Dream | 1982 | PG-13 | Comedy, Drama, Romance
  • Hamlet | 1990 | PG-13 | Drama, Mystery
  • Much Ado About Nothing | 1993 | PG | Comedy, Drama, Romance
  • The Lion King – Play: Hamlet | 1994 | G | Animated, Family
  • Richard III | 1995 | Drama, History
  • Romeo + Juliet | 1996 | PG-13 | Romance, Tragedy
  • Shakespeare In Love – Play: Romeo & Juiet | 1999 | PG-13 | Romance, History
  • 10 Things I Hate About You – Play: The Taming of the Shrew | 1999 | Comedy, Romance, Teen
  • William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream | 1999 | PG | Fantasy, Romance, Comedy
  • Romeo Must Die – Play: Romeo & Juliet | 2000 | PG | Drama, Crime
  • She’s the Man – Play: Twelth Night | 2006 | PG | Comedy, Teen, Romance
  • As You Like It | (2007) | PG | Comedy, Romance, History

Here are our printable activities and signs for your community!