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Shakespeare, college theater


American Theatre publishes an annual list of the top ten plays in production in regional theatres each year and simply removes all Shakespeares from consideration. Otherwise the top ten list would simply be the top ten Bard List. However, when it comes to attempting Shakespeare on the college stage, I argue that many theatre teachers in higher education think twice, or even thrice, before brushing off the old complete works. Most students are quite intimidated when they reach for Shakespeare, having been told for many years that his work is hard to read and harder to understand. Add to that sentiment a common belief that Shakespeare is boring and old, and visions of theatrical dud are born. Ten years ago, those visions certainly appeared to me when setting out to direct Shakespeare at a small Baptist university of about 3200 students.