Educator’s Introduction

Welcome to the McCarter Audience Guide educator materials for Twelfth Night. This guide has been assembled to complement both your students’ theater-going experience and your class curriculum by offering a variety of interesting and edifying activities for both pre-show and post-performance instruction and enjoyment.

This production of one of William Shakespeare's most beloved comedies presents opportunities for enrichment in history, language arts, theater and visual art. Students can explore the play's themes presented by the playwright and consider them intellectually and personally in relation to their own lives and time; investigate Shakespeare's biography, Elizabethan theater practice, and the Bard's overall influence on Western drama and theater; consider who they would cast in their own  production of Twelfth Night through the creation of a character collage;contemplate the actor's work and the special challenges afforded him or her by Shakespeare's text through the experience of scene study, preparation, and presentation; ponder the work of the theatrical adaptor by updating a scene for a twenty-first–century audience; and conclude their play-going experience by taking on the role of theater reviewer and chewing over the artistic intentions of the production and its ultimate efficacy.  Teachers can also link their classroom directly with McCarter Theatre via the McCarter Theatre Blog ( and utilize it for pre- and post-show educational assignments.

Our student audiences are often our favorite audiences at McCarter, and we encourage you and your students to join us for a lively conversation with member of Twelfth Night's talented cast after the performance. Our visiting artists are always impressed with the preparation and thoughtfulness of McCarter’s young audiences, and the post-performance discussion offers a unique opportunity for students to engage intellectually with professional theater practitioners. We look forward to seeing all of you for a wonderful and exciting discussion about one of William Shakespeare's most popular comedies.