Recommended short versions of Shakespeare scripts for children and young people to perform.

Alison Chaplin at has written a range of one act Shakespeare adaptations for primary children in modern colloquial language, complete with all the themes, imagery, character names and essential elements of the original stories. They each last 40-50 minutes.

Love Me Tender – a soap opera version of the first half of Romeo and Juliet;
Three Murders, A Suicide and a Near Miss – a comedy melodrama version of Othello;
Hamlet – The Murder Mystery – told from the perspective of Horatio being interviewed by the police;
The Rise and Fall of Lord Macbeth – a one-act version which retains much of the imagery and tone of the original.

Chelsea H. Rowe has adapted a series of four plays for kids called Shakespeare in Shorts, retaining the style and feel of the original language. They are tailored to elementary and early middle school students with a total running time of approximately 20 – 30 minutes. You can find them on this page at or this one at Titles are Hamlet, King Lear, The Merchant of Venice and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Catherine Hall-Schor has written one-hour versions of several of Shakespeare plays, retaining much of the original language. These are becoming harder to get hold of but you can try this page at or this one at

This home schooling site has two useful free adaptations of Shakespeare using original language – but pared right down: You can find a 20 minute Macbeth and a 60 minute Much Ado about Nothing – for nothing!