Living/Learning Center Programs

The University of Vermont



Imagining Shakespeare

A Residential TAP Program. Open only to incoming first-year students in the College of Arts and Sciences.

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Shakespeare typically created his art by adapting the work of other writers (poets, playwrights, novelists, historians, biblical writers, writers of essays, treatises, and reports).  In essence, he re-imagined characters, situations, passages, or entire stories that already existed.  And as he (re)imagined others so we will (re)imagine Shakespeare.  But what does that really mean?  Shakespeare understood that the imaginatively engaged audience was critical to the creative possibilities of his plays.  He thus sanctions our role as co-creators of his works, a role he took for himself in his re-telling of stories or his revising of other material already available to his readers. 


Our course will be concerned with three different manifestations of this creative process:  1) how Shakespeare reworked material provided by his sources; 2) how modern writers (playwrights, poets, film-makers, theatrical performers, etc.) have reworked and continue to rework Shakespeare's plays; and 3) how we ourselves might use all that material as sources for our own creative endeavors.  Texts for consideration will include Shakespeare's Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, and Henry IV (along with both Shakespeare’s original sources and recent film adaptations of these plays) and modern Shakespeare-inspired adaptations such as Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho.  The Shenandoah Shakespeare Express will be performing Henry IV in early November and will also present a workshop on performance possibilities.


Imagining Shakespeare

Required Course Information

Fall Semester

ENG 005A (90380), 3 credits, Prof. Andrew Barnaby

Spring Semester

Spring semester activities will be announced during the fall semester.