English Literature / Drama GCSE: Macbeth - About the 2011 RSC production

Michael Boyd and Tom Piper talk about their production and how the set design is informed by the period in which Macbeth was written (the Protestant Reformation and the Gunpowder Plot).

They explore supernatural elements of the play, how the porter is portrayed as Satan and the witches as Macduff's dead children for example.

PLEASE NOTE: This short film contains scenes from Macbeth which some people may find upsetting. Teacher review is recommended prior to use in class.

This short film is from the BBC series, Shakespeare Unlocked.

Teacher Notes

This short film could be used to help students understand the choices that directors and actors make in putting on a play.

Choose a text the class have studied, and ask them to imagine they have to direct a stage production of it.

  • What characters, ideas or aspects of the story interest them?
  • In which historical period would they set their production?
  • In our own time, or in another period?
  • Where in the world would they choose to set it?

Ask them to explain the thinking behind their choices.

As part of an added value unit, students could direct their own version of a scene in the story, and include a written report on their choices and what they were trying to convey.

Curriculum Notes

This short film is suitable for teaching GCSE English literature and drama in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and National 4/ 5 in Scotland.

More from Shakespeare Unlocked - Macbeth

Act 1, Scene 7 - Persuading Macbeth (workshop)
Act 1, Scene 7 - To Kill the King
Act 1, Scene 7 - Whether to kill the king (workshop)
Act 2, Scene 2 - Bloody Daggers
Act 2, Scene 2 - Hearing noises (workshop)
Act 2, Scene 2 - Rhythm of the language (workshop)
Act 2, Scene 2 - The king is dead (workshop)
Act 5, Scene 1 - Candle in the dark (workshop)
Act 5, Scene 1 - Sleepwalking
Act 5, Scene 1 - Sleepwalking Queen (workshop)
Act 5, Scene 1 - Unlocking the words (workshop)