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The Influence of Shakespearean Drama on Modern Theatre

Shakespearean drama is perhaps the most influential type of theatre in the Western world. Despite being over four hundred years old, his plays continue to captivate audiences and inspire countless adaptations and interpretations. From the stage to the silver screen, the influence of Shakespearean drama on modern theatre is undeniable.

Development of Modern Theatre

In the sixteenth century, Shakespeare helped to establish the concept of the play as a form of entertainment that could be enjoyed by all social classes. His plays were performed in open-air theatres and were accessible to a wide range of people, including poor and uneducated. Today, theatre remains a vibrant art form that is enjoyed by people from all walks of life. Whether it’s a Broadway production or a community theatre performance, audiences continue to flock to the theatre to experience the power and magic of live performance.


Another way that Shakespearean drama has influenced modern theatre is through its language. Shakespeare’s use of language is renowned for its poetic and emotional depth. His characters speak in a way that is elevated and natural, and his use of metaphors is second to none. In modern theatre, many playwrights and screenwriters continue to be inspired by Shakespeare’s use of language. Writers continue to push the boundaries of language and explore new ways to use words to convey meaning and emotion.

Themes and Issues

Shakespeare’s influence can also be seen in the way that modern theatre explores complex themes and issues. In his plays, Shakespeare tackled issues such as love, jealousy, power, and politics. He explored the human condition in a way that was both universal and timeless. Today, many modern plays continue to explore these same themes and issues. From August Wilson’s exploration of race in America to Tony Kushner’s examination of the AIDS crisis, modern theatre continues to push the boundaries of what can be explored on stage.

Acting Techniques

Finally, Shakespearean drama has had a profound impact on the way that actors approach their craft. Shakespeare’s plays are renowned for their complex characters, and his actors were required to be skilled in both physical and emotional acting. Today, many actors continue to study and perform Shakespeare’s works. The challenges presented by his plays require actors to be at the top of their game, both physically and emotionally. By studying Shakespeare, actors can hone their craft and learn new techniques that can be applied to a wide range of roles and genres.


In conclusion, the influence of Shakespearean drama on modern theatre is vast and undeniable. From its impact on the development of theatre as an art form to its influence on language and themes, Shakespeare continues to be one of the most important figures in theatre history. Whether you’re a theatre lover or casual audience member, it’s impossible to deny the magic and power of Shakespeare’s works. As we continue to explore new ways to tell stories on stage and screen, we can be certain that Shakespeare’s influence will continue to be felt for generations to come.

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