All the Globe’s a Stage: Shakespeare’s Theatre ~ Lesson Plan

Lesson Overview

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LESSON TITLE: All the Globe’s a Stage: Shakespeare’s Theatre

GRADE LEVEL: Grades 9-12

TIME ALLOTMENT: One 45-minute class period


In this lesson, students will develop their understanding of how Shakespeare’s plays were influenced by the physical space in which they were originally produced, the Globe Theatre. At the beginning of the lesson, students will examine the prologue from Henry V to find clues about what Shakespeare’s theater was like. Then, they will view segments from the PBS series Shakespeare Uncovered to learn more about the Globe’s history and see how modern-day actors use the same kind of space at the reconstructed Shakespeare’s Globe in London. Students will then deepen their knowledge about theaters in Shakespeare’s day by participating in an online scavenger hunt in which they visit web resources and gather facts about the physical space where Elizabethan actors performed. After discussing their findings, students will compare the theaters of Shakespeare’s day to today’s theaters and cinemas, and write a paper in which they imagine what it would be like for one of Shakespeare’s contemporaries to visit the theaters of today. This lesson is best used as an introduction to or during the reading of any play by Shakespeare.


English/Language Arts


After completing this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Describe the theater buildings of Shakespeare’s time.
  • Compare the physical theater and acting style of Shakespeare’s era with theatrical practice of the modern day.
  • Explain how the theatrical space of the Globe Theatre and the practices of the theatrical production in Elizabethan England influenced the writing of Shakespeare’s plays.
  • Review online resources to gain information about Shakespeare’s theatre.


National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)

Standard 2

Students read a wide range of literature from many periods in many genres to build an understanding of the many dimensions (e.g., philosophical, ethical, aesthetic) of human experience.

Standard 7

Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and non-print texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.

Standard 8

Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.

Common Core Literature Standards for Grades 11-12

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful. (Include Shakespeare as well as other authors.)

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.7 Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.



Shakespeare Uncovered: Henry IV and Henry V with Jeremy Irons, selected segments.

Access the video segments for this lesson at the Video Segments Page.

Segment 1: “The History Behind the Globe”
A discussion of how the Globe was first built and a glimpse into what performances might have looked like.

Segment 2: “Playing in the Globe Henry IV
A look at a production of Henry IV as it would have been performed at the Globe.

Segment 3: “The Globe and its Audience”
A visit to the stage of the reconstructed Globe and a discussion of how Shakespeare’s audience behaved in the theater.


For the class:

For each group:

  • Computers with internet access (enough so that each group has access to one computer).  Note: if you don’t have access to more than one computer, you can perform the activity as a class as you navigate through the websites on your classroom computer.

For each student:


Prior to teaching this lesson, you will need to:

Preview all of the video segments used in the lesson. Prepare to watch them using your classroom’s Internet connection.

On each computer in your classroom, bookmark the Web sites listed on the “Globe Scavenger Hunt” Checklist of Online Resources. Using a social bookmarking tool such as or diigo (or an online bookmarking utility such as portaportal) will allow you to organize all the links in a central location.

Print out and make copies of the prologue from Henry V, the “Globe Scavenger Hunt” Checklist of Online Resources, and the “Globe Scavenger Hunt” Student Organizer for each student.  Print out one copy of the “Globe Scavenger Hunt” Student Organizer Answer Key.

Proceed to Lesson Activities.

  • Lindsey Van Wyk

    So technically the Globe theater is a tetradecagon. It’s got 14 sides.