To throw a great William Shakespeare-themed party, think in terms of what everyone loves about the great writer--his work. Aside from having your guests dress in the proper, historical attire, you'll want to bring his work to your party by reading his poetry and acting out his plays. Provide more entertainment by showing the movies made from Shakespeare's plays. Make sure your guests are ready to have a great night celebrating this icon of literature.
Require your guests to dress in the style of the 16th century--tights, capes and billowing skirts. Have your guests check the websites Fashion Encyclopedia or Shakespeare in Costume for fashion ideas about what to wear and how to modify modern outfits. When sending your invitations, direct guests toward these resources for costuming ideas.
Put on a play at your party. Before inviting guests over for the party, get together a few friends to rehearse a scene from a Shakespearean play. Then, when you send invitations to your friends, let them know you'll have a short viewing of a Shakespearean play. During the party, have the actors do the scene for guests--once in the beginning and again at the end of the night. Everyone will be enthralled and engaged.
Rent or purchase some Shakespearean movies for your guests. Depending on your party's demographic, there are plenty of well-made Shakespearean movies, whether in Old English and black and white or adapted versions that cater to a younger audience. Play these movies in the background of your party or have a viewing of them for just a bit before or after eating.
Buy several copies of Shakespeare's works and place them throughout your party. These will entice people to read passages and perform from his plays. This will add to the overall atmosphere and allow people to be actively engaged with the work.