Shakesperience Summer Institute

Shakesperience Summer Institute

What is Shakesperience?

Shakesperience is a one-week, 3-credit course taken during the spring semester in June. During this week, students (as well as students of life), will travel to the renowned Stratford Theatre Festival in Stratford, Ontario to see six plays, participate in workshops and backstage tours, and have discussions with directors, actors, and writers.

Who can participate?

This event is open to students from the Maple League (Mount Allison, St. Francis Xavier, Acadia, and Bishop’s).

However, it is also open to staff, alumni, and faculty from any of these universities as well!

What are the dates for this year’s event?

June 27th – July 1, 2022

How much does it cost?

Please see our website for details:

Where will we be staying?

Beautiful Bentley Inn located in a historic building in downtown Stratford, close to all shopping restaurants, and a 3 min. walk to the Avon Theatre.

How will we get there?

We encourage participants to make their way to Stratford on their own, but we will also subsidize group travel for students travelling from the BU campus (departure June 26/7 returning July 2, 2022).

When is the deadline to register?

May 10th, 2022

Who will be leading us throughout this experience?

Dr. Jessica Riddell, Professor in the English Department, Bishop’s University, 3M National Teaching Fellow (

What plays are included this year?

  • Hamlet
  • Richard III
  • Alls well that ends well
  • Chicago (the hit Broadway musical)
  • Little Women

What workshops & tours are included this year?

We will participate in three specially designed, immersive workshops:

  • Learn a song and dance from the hit musical Chicago from the head choreographer in the morning and watch it on stage in the afternoon
  • Learn how to stage fight (with swords!) from the actors in Hamlet in the morning and watch them act out the scene in the afternoon!
  • Work with a dramaturge to unpack a scene of Shakespeare from the point of view of actors

We will have full access to the Festival with three backstage tours:

  • The festival theatre
  • The costume warehouses
  • Set change and private tour

We will meet with the creative and business teams to understand how the festival operates:

  • Meet with directors, actors, costume designers, dramaturges
  • Participate in lobby talks, attend the meet the festival events & special guest speakers
  • Participate in a post-show chat for ALL four Shakespeare plays

PLUS enjoy a Elizabethan Feast, a special luncheon at the Revival House, and a final Banquet with an Alumni Reception.


Registration for Shakesperience 2022 is now open!

Deadline to register for Shakesperience of a lifetime is May 10, 2022

You can browse our website for more information:

Follow us on Instagram and on Facebook.

Shakesperience was recently featured in an article by ACCUTE.

Curious? This short video should give you a sense of what the field study course looks like:

Visiting Student Application Process (PDF)

For more information, please visit or contact:

Dr. Jessica Riddell
Stephen A. Jarislowsky Chair of Undergraduate Teaching Excellence
Chair, Department of English, Bishop’s University
3M National Teaching Fellow (2015)
Chair, Teaching and Learning Centre (TLC)

ENG225 Course Description

In both our classroom discussions and during our time in Stratford, we shall focus our discussion on some of the most exciting aspects of Shakespearean drama: the shaping of the private and public self, nation formation, the language of the body and desire, gender politics, and innovations to the English language. The principal objective of this course is to help students gain confidence in reading, understanding, and watching Shakespeare’s plays. Since Shakespeare’s plays are written in a largely unfamiliar idiom and literary form, and because they are the product of specific historical circumstances, the course will give equal emphasis to the development of analytical skills and to acquiring a working knowledge of the social, political, and theatrical aspects of Shakespeare’s plays.