Speak the Speech

Bring Shakespeare's words to new life yourself, with a favorite passage or a play-acted scene, at home or with additional players from afar. Share a video or photos on social media, tagging @FolgerLibrary and using #ShareYourShakespeare, so everyone can enjoy them.

Read a Passage | Put on a Scene

Photo by Tracy Russo

Read a Passage

Select a favorite passage from Shakespeare's plays or sonnets, or try one that's new to you. Read it aloud and upload the video to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or other social media, tagging @FolgerLibrary and using the hashtag #ShareYourShakespeare

Try out these options:

How to find a passage—and some tips on reading it:

If you have a speech in mind, but you don't know the exact words, you can look it up on The Folger Shakespeare, which offers free text for all of Shakespeare's plays and poems.

Not sure which passage to choose? Try selecting one of these famous passages:

Download these "Spontaneous Shakespeare" scripts (PDF) for short, curated monologues:

We've also come up with some passages on strength and resilience and the power of love, art, and nature, suggested by the tragedy and challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic:

Check out this Folger lesson plan to learn more about closely reading "soliloquies" (one-person scenes). Bonus: This plan includes choral readings by groups, too.

Put on a Scene

Get together with those at home or assemble via videoconferencing to put on a scene with multiple players. Make a recording or take photos and upload them to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or other social media, tagging @FolgerLibrary and using the hashtag #ShareYourShakespeare

Accessorize your production:

  • Print out props that you can cut out for your production. Among the options are a crown, a feather, a skull, a Tudor rose, Shakespeare's head, a mask, a poison bottle, or a dagger.
  • Use backdrops for Zoom or other videoconferencing apps. Try these Folger Theatre sets for a great background for a play.
  • Pick out the items you have on hand for costumes—a hat can make all the difference. To suggest Elizabethan dress, check out our Folger video on Making a Ruff  from paper.

Select a scene:

Want to do a fight scene? Download this two-person "Spontaneous Shakespeare" script (PDF) from King Lear.

For other scenes to try, select one of our six short Shakespeare scripts for kids, taken from Macbeth, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Much Ado About Nothing, The Tempest (two choices), and The Winter's Tale.

Or choose your own! Look through the plays in The Folger Shakespeare and pick a scene. Remember that Shakespeare's plays are almost always cut before production, so feel free to keep some lines and cut out others—perhaps many others—to make a scene that works for you.