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She Stoops to Conquer [electronic resource]

An ambitious stepmother, a pragmatic father, impassioned sweethearts, and starry-eyed suitors are all sent spinning in Oliver Goldsmith's classic comedy of manners-and errors. Directed by Max Stafford-Clark and recorded at The Theatre Royal in Bath, this production of She Stoops to Conquer played to rave reviews. Staged with authentic costumes and sets, the commonly anthologized play makes an excellent introduction to 18th-century theater.
2005; 2003

Olivier's as You Like It [electronic resource]

One of Shakespeare's most charming pastoral comedies, chock-a-block with famous lines and songs, was somehow selected by Hollywood as a vehicle for Laurence Olivier and Elisabeth Bergner. The result is a gentle introduction for those who don't know the play, a mixture of the exalted and the inane for those who do, and an inspiration for all students of the theatre, who can see the enormous leaps of conception, execution, style, and insight that Olivier achieved in the seven years between this Orlando and Henry V.

Henry VI: House of Lancaster [electronic resource]

Part of the series The Wars of the Roses. (The three parts of Henry VI have been adapted to Henry VI, House of Lancaster, and Henry VI, House of York.)

Henry VI: House of York [electronic resource]

Part of the series The Wars of the Roses. (The three parts of Henry VI have been adapted to Henry VI, House of Lancaster, and Henry VI, House of York.)

Richard III [electronic resource]

Part of the series The Wars of the Roses.

Peter Shaffer [electronic resource]

The conflict between genius and mediocrity is one of his favorite themes. Amadeus, Equus, The Royal Hunt of the Sun, Black Comedy-Peter Shaffer is one of the most successful dramatists of our time. In this program, Shaffer, an Englishman who lives in New York, discusses his views on literature, movies, theater, and music. Part actor, part pianist, he demonstrates his skill at both.

Street Journeys [electronic resource]: Using Theater to Transform the Lives of at-Risk Youth

Shangilia Mtoto wa Afrika (Rejoice Child of Africa) is an orphanage in Nairobi that uses performing arts as a tool to improve the lives of street children-and, in the process, change the negative stereotype of these children held by Kenyan society. This inspiring documentary tells the story of how veteran actress Anne Wanjugu created Shangilia-and how, after she suddenly passed away, the organization overcame obstacles that arose with the loss of their dedicated "Mama Anne." Archival footage of Anne Wanjugu, interviews with Shangilia children, and rehearsal and performance clips from Kenya and the U.S. offer multiple perspectives on urban poverty and the healing potential of the arts to transform troubled children once looked upon as a danger to society. "It is the stage that has hel [...]

The Stratford Adventure [electronic resource]

This classic documentary describes how a small Canadian city, bearing the name of Stratford and nestled beside the Avon River - named after the Avon in Englad - realized the vision of one of its sons: the creation of a theater for the staging of the finest Shakespearean drama. The Stratford Adventure also explains how the idea grew; how a famous British director, internationally known stars, and Canadian talent were recruited; and how the Stratford Festival finally became a triumphant reality.

Paper Wheat [electronic resource]

Paper Wheat is a classic film about the play of the same name, which offers a collage of vignettes that epitomize three quarters of a century of Canadian Prairie history. This documentary describes the harsh lives of the early Saskatchewan settlers and the foundation of the co-op movement on the Prairies. With great sensitivity and ingenious staging, the 25th Street Theatre Centre troupe brings to life an era in Canadian history: the development of the west. This film invites viewers on early tours of the production and includes memorable sketches as well as interviews with the cast and audience.
1979; 2013

This Is Macbeth [electronic resource]

A hilarious and insightful introduction to Shakespeare's Scottish play, This Is Macbeth offers a decidedly different approach to exploring and appreciating the renowned tragedy. The program consists of amusing talk show-style interviews with the main characters interspersed with scenes from the play itself, performed in deadly earnestness by professional Shakespearean actors in a black box theater. Musical summaries help viewers keep track of plot development and themes, while an on-screen ticker spouts relevant facts and humorous asides. Ridiculous medieval "commercial breaks" round out the faux-TV experience. This Is Macbeth was created by Drs. Jeremy Sabol and Greg Watkins, of Stanford University's Program in Structured Liberal Education.
2009; 2008

H.M.S. Pinafore [electronic resource]: Stratford Festival Classics

Earning rave reviews during its run at Ontario's Stratford Shakespeare Festival, this unforgettable Gilbert and Sullivan operetta takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to British class structure, the admiralty, and the ruling classes. It's also a love story with a multitude of permutations. Josephine (Katherine Terrell) plans to elope with sailor Ralph Rackstraw (James McLean), but their plans are spoiled by villainous Dick Deadeye (Eric Donkin). In the meantime, Josephine's father has promised her hand in marriage to the pompous and elderly Sir Joseph Porter. Everyone is dissatisfied until Little Buttercup (Patricia Kern), a Portsmouth bumboat woman, discloses a startling, decade-old secret and enables love to triumph.

Pirates of Penzance [electronic resource]

Gilbert set the first act of his opera off the rocky coast of Cornwall, where a band of good-natured and inefficient pirates are celebrating the release of their young apprentice, Frederic (Rex Smith), from his indentures. Frederic, however, shocks them with his revelation that he intends to leave them to lead an honest life, since he became a pirate in the first place only by accident. As a little lad his father had instructed his nursery maid, Ruth (Patricia Routledge) - now the pirates' cook and washerwoman - to apprentice him to a pilot.

The Mikado [electronic resource]: Stratford Festival Classics

The Stratford Shakespeare Festival's stunning production of Gilbert and Sullivan's classic comic opera was a blockbuster hit that went on to garner acclaim in Toronto, London, and New York. Cloaked in the guise of a Japanese musical drama, The Mikado is a spoof of Victorian English society. The plot involves the transformation of the dishonest Ko-Ko from lowly tailor and prisoner in a country jail to the rank of Lord High Executioner. While avoiding the particulars of his job, he must maneuver for the hand of his beloved Yum-Yum, who loves Nanki-Poo - a wandering minstrel and, secretly, the Imperial Prince.

Twelfth Night [electronic resource]: Stratford Festival Classics

Shipwrecked off the coast of the mythical land of Illyria, a young woman named Viola (Seana McKenna) and her twin brother, Sebastian (Ernest Harrop), each believe the other has drowned. Disguising herself as a boy, Viola takes the name Cesario and enters the service of Illyria's Duke Orsino (Colm Feore). She is sent to woo the Countess Olivia (Maria Ricossa) on Orsino's behalf, but Olivia instead falls in love with Cesario, now love's unwilling messenger. From here the network of misguided confusions soon overtakes virtually every one of the play's characters. Viewers will find this Stratford Shakespeare Festival production not only entertaining but also ideal for studies in Shakespeare and dramatic art.

Doctor Faustus [electronic resource]

This classic play is aimed at the student, teacher, lecturer and theatre lover alike. Staged using professional actors and directors at London's award-winning Greenwich Theatre, "The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus" was first published in 1604 by Christopher Marlowe. Having decided he has accumulated all he can of conventional knowledge, Doctor Faustus turns to magic in a quest for greater truths. Before long, he ends up selling his soul to the devil: the famous "Faustian pact" that's entered the language. Dr Faustus gradually realizes his terrible mistake.

Volpone [electronic resource]

This classic play is aimed at the student, teacher, lecturer and theater lover alike and uses professional actors and directors at London's award-winning Greenwich Theatre, which specializes in productions for young people. "Volpone" is billed as a comedy by Ben Jonson, but it also includes elements of tragedy and even animal fable. In essence, it's a dark satire on greed and lust, and remains Jonson's most performed work. The action takes place in 17th-century Venice, over the course of one day. The tale twists and turns, as all the characters attempt to deceive each other, until the whole scheme finally collapses, with disastrous consequences for Volpone.

An Ideal Husband [electronic resource]

This outstanding adaptation of one of Oscar Wilde's major plays was Directed by Alexander Korda. It stars Hugh Williams as a honorable politician whose long-ago sins come back to haunt him. Wilde's dialogue is brilliant throughout. Also starring Paulette Goddard, Michael Wilding, and Diana Wynyard.

A&E Classroom: Life and Death in Britain's Ancient Theaters [electronic resource]

In Shakespeare's day, theater was the epicenter of English popular culture. Immortal dramas were enacted on grand stages for the delight and instruction of the masses, both high-born and low-bred. But by 1642, London's grand Renaissance theaters were gone - victims of decree and bloody civil war. Giving special attention to the original Globe Theatre and its 20th-century reincarnation as Shakespeare's Globe, this program hosted by Leonard Nimoy examines the history of English drama.

A Midsummer Night's Dream (in Original Pronunciation) [electronic resource]

To hear Shakespeare in its original pronunciation is truly to hear Shakespeare for the first time. Through this intimate arena production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, a talented cast directed and dialect-coached by Professor Paul Meier captures a single performance in Early Modern English pronunciation from the play's November 2010 run at The University of Kansas. This delightfully accessible production-conceived in collaboration with linguist David Crystal, the world's preeminent expert on EME pronunciation-adds a richness seldom heard since Shakespeare's time, restoring lost rhymes and wordplay.