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The King and the Little Prince (credit: Adrian Brooks)
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Romeo & Juliet
Grades: 9-12
OverviewProcedures for TeachersOrganizers for Students


Activity One

The purpose of this activity is for the students to learn about the time period in which William Shakespeare lived.

1. Divide the students into nine groups.

2. Assign each group one of the following topics:
  • people and portraits

  • costumes and textiles

  • literature and drama

  • food and drink

  • gardens and husbandry

  • music and song

  • games and pastimes

  • swordplay and military matters

  • wordplay -- names and language

3. Send the students to the Renaissance, the Elizabethan World Web site, at

4. Ask each group to collect five pieces of information about its topic.

5. Provide time for the groups to share the information with the class.

6. Write the information on a graphic organizer and display on the classroom wall.


Activity One

In this activity the students will write "Dear Abby" letters from the characters in ROMEO & JULIET and replies offering advice.


2. Discuss how the opera ROMEO & JULIET differs from the play and from ballet or movie versions the students may have seen.

3. Ask half of the students to choose one of the characters in the opera and write a "Dear Abby" letter pretending to be that individual. The letter should talk about a problem the character faces in the story.

4. Distribute the letters to the remaining half of the class.

5. Ask the students to whom the letters have been distributed to pretend that they are Abby and write a reply to the letter they receive.

6. After the students who wrote the "Dear Abby" letters have read the replies, provide time for them to meet the advice-givers and discuss the responses.

7. Ask the students to brainstorm problems faced by themselves, friends, acquaintances, or a character from a modern-day movie or book, then compare them to the troubles faced by Romeo and Juliet in the opera.

8. Ask for volunteers to share a problem with the class.

(Note to Teachers: If you are unable to obtain a copy of GREAT PERFORMANCES' ROMEO & JULIET, you can use the text of the play included on this site to complete the activity.

Activity Two

In this activity the students will read a "Romeo and Juliet"-type story that takes place in the Balkans and write a script for a story of their own.

1. Send the students to the KidsOp Children-in-War Opera Project Web site to read the synopsis of a "Romeo and Juliet"-type story set in the Balkans.

2. Have the students compare and contrast this story to GREAT PERFORMANCES' ROMEO & JULIET.

3. Ask the students to brainstorm a list of other potential "Romeo and Juliet"-type story ideas. The ideas could be based on current-day situations or could be historical in nature.

4. Divide the class into groups according to which story from the list the students want to work on.

5. Tell the students to develop their story ideas into a script and ask them to follow the format of the Children-in-War Opera Project site (including the setting, characters, and story).

6. Provide time for the groups to share their work with the entire class.

  Top banner photo: Cast from the Met Opera's production of "The Barber of Seville."

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