To enhance the understanding of Shakespeare’s plays in performance for theatre professionals, students, teachers, and audiences by engaging with contemporary translations and adaptations.
“The typical Shakespeare production follows an odd convention: a contemporary setting with Elizabethan language. What if we flipped that? Contemporary language with an Elizabethan setting. What might we learn about the plays from putting them through that lens?”
—Lue Douthit | CEO
Folger Shakespeare’s “Shakespeare and Beyond” Blog | March 2018
Play On Shakespeare History
Play On Shakespeare is a non-profit company promoting and creating contemporary modern translations of Shakespeare’s plays.
Since its inception in 2015, Play On has commissioned dozens of contemporary playwrights and translators to translate 39 Shakespeare plays into modern English, with a majority of the commissions being helmed by BIPOC and womxn playwrights. Far from a paraphrasing exercise, each playwright was tasked with matching Shakespeare’s linguistic rigor as they approached the text, preserving rhyme, rhythm, metaphor, meter, imagery, symbolism, rhetoric, and the structure that make Shakespeare’s plays engaging and accessible to today’s audience. Play On partners with artists and organizations across the globe to deliver and advocate for these translations through different channels, including theatrical productions, podcasts, publications, and film.