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As elementary and secondary school educators increasingly adopt digital games to teach content in a range of subjects, and as education and game scholars turn their attention to ‘serious games’, it is worth noting that serious games are nothing new to Shakespeare classrooms. Non-digital games and playful performance practices have long been a standard part of teaching the dramas of Shakespeare. Indeed, the use of physical, play-based methods of teaching Shakespeare – or what we shall call ‘playful pedagogy’ – has become something of an industry in the world of Shakespeare education. Theatrical games and dramatic playfulness are central to the teacher-training programmes touted by Education departments in many well-established Shakespeare theatres. The Royal Shakespeare Company calls their programme ‘rehearsal room pedagogy’, Shakespeare’s Globe has its ‘Globe Strategies’, Chicago Shakespeare has its ‘drama-based strategies’, and there are similar initiatives at other theatres, including the American Shakespeare Center in Virginia and the Folger Shakespeare Library. Education departments of these and other Shakespeare theatres offer specialized workshops that train teachers to use playful pedagogy in their classrooms.
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