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Hip-Hop … Shakespeare?

Last week, when I posted about Kwame Alexander’s verse novel The Crossover, I suggested that the rhythms of the novel were often like rap or hip-hop.

Today, we’re looking at more hip-hop. This time, Shakespeare as hip-hop. Shakespeare? Yep. You read that right.

Shakespeare in Action, an acting company in Ontario, Canada, has as its purpose educating kids about Shakespeare, and goes into classrooms, and holds annual summer camps, among other things. Their major show is Shakespeare Meets Hip Hop.

On their website, they say “modern hip-hop shares many similarities with Shakespeare, particularly the themes, rhythm and use of language. Both are full of poetry, word play and lyricism, they use rhythm, rhyme, and language to heighten our understanding of the text, and deal with what it is to be human.”

Click here to learn more about Shakespeare in Action and Shakespeare Meets Hip-Hop.

The Hip-Hop Shakespeare Company is a troupe based in England, that also does education as well as performances. They have toured the United Kingdom, Europe, and parts of South East Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and India. They really get around!

Their education programs sound great — their website says “Our education programmes are designed to encourage young people to develop new skills in performing arts by creating excitement around words and rhyming to gain a positive experience of Shakespeare, music, literature and the arts as a whole.” YES!

Check them out at their website.

Okay, that’s Canada, England/the UK, what about the United States? Shakespeare to Hip Hop is based in Boston, and travels around New England doing interactive educational workshops for schools. Their mission is “to help cultivate and nurture a love of words and an understanding of the power of language.”

You can find their website here.

Why not try your own hip hop or rap version of something from Shakespeare? Go for it. Give it a try!

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