I am embarking on a free six-week programme online, starting today, which explores Shakespeare’s most famous play, Hamlet. In the year of his 450th birthday, Shakespeare’s Globe, in London, have declared that Hamlet will be touring every single country in the world, over the span of two years, in a celebration of the travelling companies (of which we see in the play itself) that travelled from country to country in Shakespeare’s day.
The course I am taking part in is a Future Learn course run by the University of Birmingham called Shakespeare’s Hamlet: text, performance, and culture (there is still time to sign up!). Each week we are given videos, articles and questions to consider based on areas such as the publishing history of the play, it’s genre as a revenge tragedy, the medical and psychological thinking related to Hamlet and even what it might mean for a woman to play Hamlet (which I am particularly looking forward to). Already the course has started off on an interesting note regarding the different text versions of the play that exist and which is truest to Shakespeare’s original, and the different performances of Hamlet that exist.
I am really looking forward to delving more into Shakespeare’s Hamlet over the next six weeks, I am hoping that it will be a fairly relaxed and leisurely course (it does say only four hours of work a week is required) and that I will learn even more about a play I have studied immeasurably over the years. I am hoping to buy tickets to see Hamlet at the globe this summer (they are released tomorrow) and I am also keeping my eyes peeled for the London stage production of Hamlet in the autumn which stars Benedict Cumberbatch, who I can imagine will make an excellent Hamlet, so this course will be an excellent refresher if I do manage to nab some tickets!