Shakespeare Party Themes

by Goody Clairenstein
Take your inspiration from the Bard for your next party.

Take your inspiration from the Bard for your next party.

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Whether you're an impassioned English major or have an unusual penchant for all things Elizabethan, a Shakespeare-themed party can deliver on the fun and festive fronts. Mix up your party theme by choosing the part of Shakespeare's œuvre that's closest to your heart.

Pick a Play

Perhaps the most obvious way to choose a Shakespeare theme for your party is to pick your favorite play, then have guests dress up as characters in that play. Send out invitations that list the cast of characters so everyone has a reference ready. To go the extra mile, have everyone act the part, too -- King Lear's Fool would be subtly wise under an outward guise of silliness, while Mercutio from "Romeo and Juliet" would be boastful but, unhappily, short-lived! Shakespeare's theatrical works can make for great costume parties. Also consider having copies of the play available so that you can act out scenes.

The Rose Theatre

The Rose Theatre, located in Bankside, Southwark, just outside London, is famous for its Shakespearean repertoire during Elizabethan times. Contribute to the effort to construct a replica in the north of England by picking a Rose Theatre theme for your party. Arrange seating and a mock "stage" in a similar circular style. Seats, arranged in a semicircle, should face your circular "stage," which can be simply a clearing in your living room. Have guests volunteer to prepare a performance for your stage; have everyone participate in a massive game of charades; or stage your own interpretation of a Shakespeare play for a good time.

Shakespeare's Sonnets

Shakespeare penned at least 154 sonnets, which are rhyming poems that usually treat themes such as love and nature. Sonnets all have an identical rhyming structure that ends with a couplet, a set of two lines that share the same end rhyme. Have guests choose their favorite Shakespearean sonnet before the party, and make as many of the sonnets available in hard copies as you can. You could have everyone dress up according to the theme of their chosen sonnet, then have a sonnet-reading party where everyone gets a chance to share their best-loved poem.

Movie Adaptations of Shakespeare Favorites

There have been many famous Shakespeare adaptations on the big screen. In 1996, director Baz Luhrmann realized a refreshing take on a classic story with "Romeo + Juliet." Borrow Luhrmann's unusual costume choices and have guests dress up as Shakespeare characters as they are featured in the movie. For a more tangential theme, use the 1998 Oscar-winning "Shakespeare in Love" as your inspiration. Have a selection of Shakespeare movie adaptations on hand for party entertainment.

About the Author

Goody Clairenstein has been a writer since 2004. She has sat on the editorial board of several non-academic journals and writes about creative writing, editing and languages. She has worked in professional publishing and news reporting in print and broadcast journalism. Her poems have appeared in "Small Craft Warnings." Clairenstein earned her Bachelor of Arts in European languages from Skidmore College.

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