Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Betsy Klimasmith

Second Advisor

Alex Mueller

Third Advisor

Scott Maisano


This thesis aims to show the evolution of how K-12 English teachers in the United States came to agree on performance pedagogy practices as the best method for teaching the plays of William Shakespeare and argues that this practice should continue in teaching these plays in college level English classrooms. The gap between the script and the stage performance is one that can be utilized in the college English classroom for students to learn how to create their own interpretations, which encourages autonomy and ownership. A script is not a final literary product, but an unfinished piece of artwork, a fragment, that prompts a reader, or group of readers, to imagine a phantom-like production. Interpretive possibilities abound in a script, and it is the interpretive act that turns a script into literature. What’s unique about scripts vs. other forms of literature is that this interpretive process is compulsory, organic, when students read a script – we just need to teach them to recognize this process and engage with it.


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