Begin with a close reading of the play then research the part you’re playing.
Try and answer the following questions:
This will help you to understand the social, political and historical context of the play. Look at The world of the play for more information.
If you’re researching a historical role you’ll need to know what was happening around you at the time of the play. After all, if you’re enacting a romance set in a country torn apart by war, it’s reasonable to suppose that the action might be fuelled by an additional layer of tension. Or, if the play is set in the high-society London of the 19th century, the social rituals would be as much a part of the action as the plot itself.
If you’re playing a historical role, you must investigate what you’d be wearing. If it’s an elaborate costume worn by a Tudor character such as Elizabeth I, what impact would it have on your movement? Look at Using your body to learn more.