October 16 - November 1, 2015
Wednesday-Saturday 7:00pm, Sunday 2:00pm

Moments from our 2015 fall production of The Taming of the Shrew.

Directed by Carmen Khan

Has spitfire Kate met her match? The Taming of the Shrew, directed by Carmen Khan, is Shakespeare’s meditation on the true nature of marriage. The give and take. The love and hate. The compromise and compassion. Featuring a battle of sisters and suitors, and an epic battle of the sexes. Audiences will enjoy a wild and comedic journey as Petruchio seeks to “tame” the waspish Katherina as his wife. “Original Staging Practices” are featured in this production, allowing audiences to interact with the work in ways similar to those that original audiences would have engaged with Shakespeare’s works.


Original Staging Practices

When Shakespeare was producing his plays there were some basic ideas he used that we think were part of Elizabethan staging techniques. We know this through testimonials from audiences of the time, how the theatres were built, and the actual directions within the plays themselves.

The actors could see the audience because a number of the productions were performed outside in daylight. It is also another dynamic way to experience Shakespeare’s plays directly.

We know that the plays were performed on a large wooden platform with only a few key set pieces to represent major areas (a bed, a tomb). There is a freedom in this, as the audience has to listen to the language and imagine the scenes being enacted.

Shakespeare’s company was comprised of all men and boys, because women were legally prevented from being on stage. We do not believe that Shakespeare preferred casting men over women. Think of the incredible female characters he wrote. If he were alive today we think he would have liked Meryl Streep to play Lady Macbeth! Women are allowed onstage now and we embrace all of Shakespeare’s exploration of gender in a variety of ways

The costumes in original practices helped the audiences, as they do now, to “read” the characters positions in society and who they were. They are used to show rich and poor, royalty or peasantry and myriad other character clues. Costumes in Shakespeare’s time were not used to show what a particular historical period was like. They performed Caesar for example in primarily Elizabethan clothing and not ancient Roman. For them, as for us, the play always spoke to the present. That’s why we use costumes that speak to our audiences in the most familiar language possible while staying consistent with the words in the play.

The music for Shakespeare’s plays was provided by musicians who played above the stage. Music was played before during and after the production. We know there were a variety of instruments –string, wind and percussion. Some of the music survives but not much and we have the lyrics of songs within the plays. We choose the music and the instruments based on what the actors can play and what we think suits the message of the play. Our composers and sound designers are guided by the text as the director envisions it.

Based on notes from ASC writing on Original Practices and

Original Staging/Practices: Thesis by Angel VanBennekom

Synopsis: The Taming of the Shrew

A battle of sisters. A battle of suitors. And an epic battle of the sexes. Who emerges victorious? Or is there a deeper message at play? Many questions surround The Taming of the Shrew, but at its heart, it is a play about Shakespeare’s meditation on the true nature of marriage.

THE SHREW AND HER SISTER: Feared by all, and loved by few, the ill-tempered and sharp-tongued Katherina clashes with her sister, her father, and all who dare come near. Her younger sister, the beautiful and sweet Bianca, has a trail of suitors waiting at the ready.

THE SUITORS: Fortune-hunting Hortensio, rich old Gremio, and newly-arrived-in-town Lucentio all wish to court the beautiful Bianca. The catch? The girls’ wealthy father, Baptista, refuses anyone to court Bianca before her older sister, the shrewish Kate, is married.

THE CHALLENGE: Petruchio, a young man from Verona, arrives with his quick-witted sidekick, Grumio, to find his way in the world. Hearing of the shrew, Petruchio vows to woo Kate both for her dowry and for the challenge of overcoming her fearsome reputation. However, as soon as he meets her, he falls in love with her and decides she’s the partner for him.

THE DISGUISE: Hortensio and Lucentio gain access to Bianca by disguising themselves as tutors in hopes to “woo” her, while Lucentio’s servant, the comical Tranio, assumes Lucentio’s identity and plays the role of his master to bargain with Baptista for Bianca’s hand.

THE BATTLE: After a heated battle of wit and words, Petruchio marries the wild and waspish Kate – turning up late to the wedding wearing unsuitable clothes – and takes her off to his country house, where he ‘tames’ her through various forms of deprivation and mirroring her unreasonable behavior.

A TAMED SHREW: Having exposed Katherina’s true nature, Petruchio and Kate return to reveal that she is a changed woman. The love-match between Lucentio and Bianca is happily settled with some barbs being exhanged between them. Hortensio marries a wealthy widow. And the former shrew, Kate, gives a final speech on the nature of marriage to her fellow female counterparts, and all of us.


Date and Location
October 16 - November 1, 2015
Wednesday-Saturday 7:00pm, Sunday 2:00pm
The Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre, 2111 Sansom Street Philadelphia, PA 19103

Ticketing Information

Tickets are $20 – $35. Senior and student discounts available.

You can purchase tickets online by clicking here, or by calling our box office: 215-496-8001.

In the weeks before the show, our staff is here to take your box office calls from 9am – 5pm.

Please note: there is no late seating policy. Give yourself plenty of time to park and walk to our theatre. Late seating will be at the discretion of our House Manager.

Our theatre is unfortunately NOT handicap accessible. We are working on making our theatre accessible to everyone.

Dining Options

For nearby restaurants and other dining options, click here.


Metered Parking

Metered street parking is available on several blocks in all directions surrounding The Theatre.

Indoor Garages & Outdoor Lots

There are many parking garages and outdoor lots within a few blocks of The Theatre. There are two garages within the block. One is located across the street. Another is located next door, called Park America. Park America accepts our $10.00 validation stamp. Additional parking facilities are located at 125 South 20th, 2036 Chestnut, and 2101 Chestnut. The average cost for parking at a garage or lot during an evening performance ranges between $9.00 – $12.00.