Sunday Shakespeare is a DIY guide to hosting your own informal dramatic readings of Shakespeare’s plays, as well as several others, for groups from 7 – 12 participants. Devised by the late and beloved scholar Dr. Gareth Morgan of the Classics Department at the University of Texas at Austin, Sunday Shakespeare has endeared itself to generations of Shakespeare-enthusiasts, as we hope it will to you.
Each play is broken into 3 sections, with the exception of some short plays that are broken into 2 sections. The characters in each section are divided among 7 readers; if there are more readers present, the number of readers can be expanded to 12 or 13 by reassigning the appropriate parts as indicated. The casting is intended to prevent any reader from taking both sides of a conversation.
At the start of each section, the host or hostess tells each person which parts to read and also announces how far the given section goes. Readers with lower number designations (1, 2, 3, and so forth) carry a larger portion of lines than readers with higher number designations; so, it is recommended that the host vary each reader's designation from section to section. The whole process, reading plus socializing, may take from 3 to 4 1/2 hours.
Some helpful, informal rules to follow:
1. No one should criticize or comment on anyone's reading; this goes for both good and bad.
2. Everyone present must read at least one part. Readings should be done in the spirit of amateur enjoyment, if anyone is too self-conscious to participate, it can make everyone self-conscious.
3. Eat, drink, and enjoy! Talk before beginning to read and take short breaks between the sections of the play to stretch and socialize.
For close to twenty years, Dr. Gareth Morgan, with his wife Joan, was the guiding spirit and enthusiastic host of a weekly gathering of readers who love Shakespeare's plays and read them together. The genius and flexibility of Gareth's system allowed this group to thrive over many years. The original members of "Sunday Shakespeare," along with those of us at Shakespeare at Winedale, dedicate Sunday Shakespeare to the memory of Gareth Morgan, with continuing affection and appreciation for his wife Joan.
Content for this page was provided by Bill Rossen.