Teacher Resources

Setting the Stage

for Shakespeare's
The Taming of the Shrew



Your local community theater group is planning a production of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. Shakespeare's plays were written and first performed in Elizabethan England (between 1558-1603, when Queen Elizabeth I was on the English throne). They were originally presented in contemporary Elizabethan style, regardless of the time period or geographic location of the play's setting. The producers would like this performance of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew to accurately reflect the Elizabethan period. They have formed a Production Planning Committee, whose task will be to provide theater group members with the historical background information they will need to make this production as authentic as possible.

What information do theater group members need in order to stage an authentic production of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew?

Task and Product

As a member of the community theater's Production Planning Committee, your task will be to research one aspect of the historical background for Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. Your research topic will be of particular interest to certain members of the theater group including the director, actors, set designers, and costumers. After researching your individual topics, your committee members will work together to combine your research findings and create one presentation for the entire theater group. Your committee's information could be presented in one of the following formats:

  • Oral report with visuals
  • PowerPoint multimedia presentation
  • Webpage


You will be graded on your daily work on the research process, your group work as a member of the Production Planning Committee, and your final product and presentation.



Essential Question:

What information do theater group members need in order to stage an authentic production of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew?

Research Topics and Subsidiary Questions:

Each member of your Production Planning Committee should select one of the following research topics about Shakespeare, Elizabethan England, or Elizabethan Theater. Then click on the topic to view your subsidiary questions (feel free to generate your own questions also, as others may arise during research).

  Shakespeare's Life and Work   Costumes and Fashion
  The Taming of the Shrew   Social and Family Relations
Theaters and Stage Properties  Elizabethan English (Language)

 Gather and Sort

Gather information about your research topic from a variety of sources.

Record and sort your research findings using this note-taking organizer or note cards. Be sure to avoid plagiarism and keep track of your resources for an MLA-style bibliography.


Analyze your completed graphic organizer or sorted note cards to determine if you have gathered enough information about your topic:

  • Do you have information pertaining to each of your subsidiary questions?
  • Do you have additional information that would be of value to your audience?
  • Is there any unrelated information you should eliminate?

Meet with the other members of your Production Planning Committee to decide on the format for your group presentation. Then, click on your chosen presentation format for a Synthesizing and Evaluating Checklist.






Present your research to the Community Theater group members (your class).
After giving your own presentation, self-assess your committee's work using the scoring tool for Group Work.

As you view and listen to other committees' presentations, use this chart to record notes about the various topics. These notes may be useful to you later during your reading of The Taming of the Shrew.

Your teacher may have you use a scoring tool to peer-assess the presentations of committees other than your own:


After all the presentations have been given, respond to the following questions in a class discussion directed by your teacher; your teacher may have you think/pair/share or discuss in small groups prior to whole-class discussion.

  • What presentation format was most effective for conveying the background information for Shakespeare's play-- Oral Report with Visuals, Multimedia Presentation, or Webpage? Give specific examples from the presentations to suppport your opinion.
  • Which presentation format would be most useful if your class needs to refer back to the presentations during your reading of the play?

After reading Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, respond to the following question in a sourcebook entry or class discussion:

  • How did the background information presented earlier help you to understand and appreciate this play? Give specific examples from the presentations and the play to support your answer.