Shakespeare’s birth and death are both celebrated on 23 April, St George’s Day (the English national day). And this year is a special celebration, 400 years after his death in 1616. There are lots of Shakespeare events on all year and lots of online resources, such as an online exhibition at the British Library, an online game and an app.
The Shakespeare's Birthplace Trust has lots of teaching resources specifically for non-native speakers, from A2 to C1 level, including resources in French, which could be used for an EPI project with a colleague.
There is an A2 audio sketch with interactive comprehension activities about Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, and three versions of an article about the playwright suitable for A1+, A2 and B1 levels in the Banque de ressources anglais cycle 4:
To see the resources, download them or use them online, register now or log in to the Banque de ressources anglais cycle 4 then go to:
Audios > A2 > Ecole et société > Saynètes > "Shakespeare's Globe"
Articles de presse > A1+, A2, B1 > Culture et création artistique > "Shakespeare: A Very Famous Author"
The British Library's minisite and Discovering Literature: Shakespeare feature great online artefacts and teaching resources for B2 and up.
Pupils from B1 can have fun with this online game from the Royal Shakespeare Company: Which Shakespeare character are you? And for a resolutely modern take on the Bard, they can download a free app from Visitlondon: #ShakesSpeak, downloadable from your favourite app store. It transforms text messages into Shakespearean style. A great way for students to discover iconic quotes such as "To be or not to be, that is the question", or "All the world's a stage."
This short film from the British Council is a good introduction to Shakespeare from B1 level.
These audio retellings of the main Shakespeare plays from the BBC are great for convincing pupils that Shakespeare can be fun. They are written by children’s book writers and read by well-known actors. The titles give you a sense of the irreverent humour: "Macdeath" and "Romeo v Juliet" for example. At 15-minutes, they're long for language learners to listen to in their entirety, but you can always just use the first section. From B1.
Exploring English: Shakespeare is a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) which is free and open to anyone who is interested, though it is aimed at B1-level speakers and above. The introduction video actually looks a bit challenging for B1, but lycée pupils in the Cycle Terminale, especially those doing LELE, should be able to get lots out of it.
Keep an eye on their site for the next session. It is designed to represent about two hours' work a week, and anyone who completes it will receive a certificate. It will focus on five plays, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, The Tempest and Macbeth, and include short quizzes to check comprehension.
There is also a downloadable teacher's pack on Shakespeare from the British Council for 11-14-year-old EFL learners. See our Shakespeare Lives in Schools webpicks.
If you are looking at Macbeth in the context of the recent film, this short BBC profile of the real King Macbeth is easy enough for B1 level.
And the teaching guide for a schools performance of Macbeth at the Globe theatre in London can provide ideas too.
> Macbeth: Fact and Fiction
> Shakespeare Lives in Schools Day
> Shakespeare 400
> Competition: Shakespeare Lives in Schools
> Shakespeare Lives in Schools Webpicks
> Celebrating Shakespeare