2nd Edition

Secrets of Acting Shakespeare
The Original Approach

ISBN 9781138678521
Published November 9, 2016 by Routledge
384 Pages

USD $49.95

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Book Description

Secrets of Acting Shakespeare isn’t a book that gently instructs. It is a passionate, yes-you-can guide designed to prove that anybody can act Shakespeare.

Patrick Tucker’s classic manual encourages trained and amateur actors alike to look to the original practices of the Elizabethan theatre for inspiration. He explores the ‘cue scripts’ used by actors, who knew only their own lines, to demonstrate the extraordinary way that these plays work by ear.

This updated second edition includes:

  • A section dedicated to the modes of address 'thee‘ and 'you‘
  • A brand new chapter on Original Practices and cue scripts
  • An expanded genealogical chart, showing the interrelations of 92 different characters from the history plays
  • A new discussion of Elizabethan acting spaces – balconies, gates, ramparts and even backstage areas

Secrets of Acting Shakespeare is a must-read for actors intrigued by the ‘Original Approach’ to acting Shakespeare, or for anyone curious about how the Elizabethan theater worked.

Table of Contents


Preface to the Second Edition


Chapter 1 The 30 Secrets

Chapter 2 The Research

Starting Off


Preparations in Shakespeare’s Time

The Platt of The Seven Deadlie Sinnes

Parts Played in One Afternoon

Chapter 3 The Evidence

The Tomb Scene from Romeo and Juliet

Rosalind, Celia – and the Duke

Viola, the Captaine – and the Saylors

Original Elizabethan Language

Chapter 4 The Experiment

Chapter 5 The Performances

Chapter 6 The First Folio

Heminge and Condell’s Introduction to the First Folio

The Folio Secrets

Chapter 7 Original Practices

The Platt of England’s Joy

Modern Original Practices

Actors’ Responses

Chapter 8 Understanding through acting

The Acting Shakespeare Checklist

Chapter 9 The Secrets Expanded and Explained

Chapter 10 The Plays and the Clues


Appendix 1 Folio Examples:

Romeo and his Starres

The five letters in The Merchant of Venice

Appendix 2 Platts:

As He Liked It (Haymarket, London)

A Midsommer Nights Dreame (Neuss, Germany)

The Merchant of Venice (Neuss, Germany)

As you Like it (Toronto, Canada)

A Midsommer Nights Dreame (Sydney, Australia)

As you Like it (Globe, London)

King John (Globe, London)

The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Jerash, Jordan)

Cymbeline (Globe, London)

Romeo and Juliet (Jerash, Jordan)

Appendix 3 Genealogical Tables:

The Wars of the Roses Notes

The Wars of the Roses Table

The Wars of the Roses Dates

The Plantagenets Notes

The Plantagenets Table

The Scottish Kings Notes

The Scottish Kings Table

The Scottish Kings Dates


Index of Shakespeare’s Plays and Characters

General Index


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Patrick Tucker is Director of London’s Original Shakespeare Company. He is on the Globe Council of Shakespeare’s Globe, London.