Shakespeare Party Ideas and Themes

Written by emily maggrett
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Shakespeare Party Ideas and Themes
A Midsummer Night's Dream Party provides a great opportunity for guests to create fanciful fairy costumes. (flower fairy image by Indigo Fish from Fotolia.com)

If you are looking to throw an unusual party or celebration, Shakespeare's works and life can provide a rich source of inspiration. Classics have dramatic settings, charismatic characters and thrilling themes, all of which may be adapted to create an unforgettable costume party, Halloween ball or wedding. In addition, Shakespeare lived in Elizabethan England, which was filled with brilliant literary and artistic works and personalities, exhilarating political intrigue and groundbreaking advances in naval exploration. You can mine the motifs of Elizabethan culture to give your party a unique, historical flair.

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"Romeo and Juliet" Party

Romeo and Juliet are arguably the most famous lovers in Western history. Although their love ended tragically, they still symbolise wild and enduring passion. Romeo and Juliet first meet at a masquerade ball, where they instantly fall in love. If you are holding a dance, make it a "Romeo and Juliet"-style masquerade ball. Invitations can cordially invite guests to attend an evening at the House of Capulet--no Montagues allowed. This type of ball can be held on Valentine's Day, Halloween or even in place of a traditional wedding reception. Romeo and Juliet parties need not include costumes. A contemporary dance or party can get a Romeo and Juliet theme if you play music that references Romeo and Juliet. There are songs about Romeo and Juliet in every genre, from classical to techno.

"Macbeth" Halloween Party

"Macbeth" is one of Shakespeare's darkest plays, full of macabre language and ghoulish imagery. Set in dreary, dank Scotland, the play is populated with witches, prophets, soldiers and murderers. An excellent Halloween party can be organised around "Macbeth." Guests can dress up as characters in the play, and Scottish food and drink, such as haggis and whiskey, could be served. Guests can play games involving deception or the occult, such as Mafia, guessing games, Ouija, Clue or Wink Murder.

"A Midsummer Night's Dream" Parties

"A Midsummer Night's Dream" has got it all--romance, characters both eerie and glamorous, bewitching settings, vivid imagery and comedy. Populated by fairies, sorcerers, star-crossed lovers and imps, this play provides fruitful ideas for costume parties. You can incorporate fairy and flower motifs into all types of women's clothing, while men can wear anything from loin cloths to suits. An indoor party area can be decorated like Titania's bower, filled with pillows, soft lighting or candles, sheer curtains and fresh flowers. Dry ice may be used to give the room a magical air. This work's theme is equally well-suited to outdoor parties, which can be staged both in wooded areas or twilight gardens. Serve light and dainty finger foods, and play music that tend towards the hypnotic and mesmerising.

Elizabethan Parties

Dress up as Shakespeare and his contemporaries, who include such fascinating characters as Queen Elizabeth; Christopher Marlowe; John Milton; Sir Walter Raleigh; Ben Jonson; Mary, Queen of Scots; Lady Jane Grey; Edmund Spenser; Sir Francis Drake; and Philip II of Spain. The Elizabethans enjoyed feasts, fairs, banquets and festivals. Stage an elaborate outdoor picnic, complete with china dishes, or create an authentic Elizabethan dinner party with many courses. Elizabethans preferred their food to be beautifully and dramatically arranged, so this could be a fun challenge for an ambitious cook.

Shakespearean Movie Night

From cinema's earliest incarnation, film adaptations of Shakespeare's work have been produced. There are enough adaptations of "Hamlet" alone to fill an entire movie night. Other filmed works have been loosely based on the play, including "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead," "The Lion King," "Strange Brew," and Canadian television series "Slings and Arrows." There are many other film adaptations of Shakespeare's plays, from comedies like "Scotland, PA" and "10 Things I Hate About You" to dramas like "Romeo + Juliet" or musicals like "West Side Story." Should you hold a Shakespearean movie night, you will be able to find sufficient films to fit almost anybody's taste.

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