Macbeth: Context KS5 | Playing Shakespeare

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Here you can find resources designed around the 2020 Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank production of Macbeth. Created for young people, students are able to follow along with the production online on the Globe's dedicated Macbeth microsite.

Explore the role(s) of women in this production of Macbeth

Learning Objectives

  • Recall the female characters from the play and their main features
  • Explain how this production presents these female characters [photos!]
  • Illustrate the differences between the text and the production
  • Use contextual knowledge to analyse the reason/s for these differences

In Macbeth, gender roles are explored and also disrupted. In the production you saw at Shakespeare’s Globe, this was given extra emphasis as several roles normally played by men were played by female actors.

Work with a fellow student to discuss how the position of women was shown in the production, in particular:

  1. The presentation of the existing female characters, and how this related to the text.
  2. The change of Ross to a female character and how this change impacted on the audience.
  3. The difference between the presentation of Ross and the Porter/Seyton.
  4. How female characters interacted with each other.

Now, in your pairs, each of you should argue for one of the following statements, adapted from a discussion in Hemming’s article about the Globe in the Financial Times (January 7, 2016):

  • Modern productions should reflect the politics of the periods that Shakespeare depicts and the theatre practice of his time.
  • Contemporary productions should look for a balance that better fits the 21st century and advances greater equality on the stage.

Once you have constructed your arguments, debate this within your pairs.

Share your key conclusions with the class.



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