Shakesperience Summer Institute

Shakesperience Summer Institute

Shakesperience banner

Due to the university’s mandatory cancellation of all in-person instruction, Shakesperience 2020 has been postponed. We look forward to running the course when the social distancing regulations are lifted. In these times of physical distancing there are glimmers of hope, deep generosity, and social solidarity. The arts have played a central role in distracting and delighting us as we stay home to flatten the curve; the arts also provide us with a series of imaginative paths forward into a world that will have irrevocably changed. We must continue to make art, share art, and support the arts as a foundational aspect of a civil society.

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 19th – June 27th, 2020 This event is postponed.

How much does it cost?

Quebec Students: $1000 + $352.12 (tuition)*
Out-of-Province Students: $1000 + $842.08 (tuition)*
Non-credit Experience (anyone not taking this for credit): $1500

Where will we be staying?

Beautiful AirBnB flats 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 provide transportation for students travelling from the BU campus (departure June 19 returning June 27, 2020).

When is the deadline to register?

April 10th, 2020

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
  • Much Ado about Nothing
  • Richard III
  • Alls well that ends well
  • Chicago (the hit Broadway musical)
  • Spamalot (the musical based on Monty Pyhton!)

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 2020 is now open!

Deadline for Shakesperience of a lifetime is April 10, 2020

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:


Registrations are closed.

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.