Actors in a play giving their final greeting as the curtain closes, one of the reasons we study plays is to provide cultural experience to students

Why We Study Plays in Schools

The study of plays and literature in schools has been a cornerstone of education for centuries, providing students with a profound understanding of the human experience, cultural diversity, and the art of storytelling. In this blog, we will explore the significance of studying plays in classrooms, delving into what the study of plays entails, how plays are studied, offering examples, and ultimately addressing the pivotal question: Why should we study plays?

What Does it Mean to Study Plays?

At its core, the study of plays encompasses a comprehensive exploration of dramatic works, including both classic and contemporary plays. This academic pursuit extends beyond mere entertainment; it is a means of dissecting the intricacies of language, character development, themes, and the socio-cultural contexts within which these works were created. By delving into plays, students not only enhance their literary skills but also gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of human relationships, societal norms, and the myriad emotions that define the human condition.

How Do We Study a Play in Class?

Studying a play in a classroom setting involves a multi-faceted approach that encourages students to engage actively with the text. The following are key components of the study of plays in an educational setting:

  • Textual Analysis: The first when we study plays is a thorough analysis of the text. This includes examining the dialogue, stage directions, and subtext to decipher the author’s intentions and underlying messages. Students are encouraged to identify literary devices, such as symbolism and foreshadowing, to grasp the nuances of the play.
  • Character Exploration: Characters are the lifeblood of any play. In the classroom, students dissect the personalities, motivations, and transformations of characters, fostering a deeper understanding of human behaviour and the consequences of their actions.
  • Historical and Cultural Context: Placing a play within its historical and cultural context is crucial for a comprehensive analysis. This involves exploring the societal norms, values, and events that influenced the playwright, shedding light on the broader implications of the work.
  • Performance and Interpretation: To truly appreciate a play, students often engage in activities that involve performance and interpretation. Reading a play aloud, acting out scenes, or even watching live or recorded performances can enhance comprehension and foster a greater appreciation for the nuances of the script.

Knowledge Thirst Media provides a variety of young readers and stories that are educative for different languages, these resources can be found and bought from here.

What is a Play Example?

To illustrate why we study plays, let’s take one of the most renowned plays in English literature as an example: William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” This tragedy, written in the early 17th century, explores themes of revenge, betrayal, and existentialism. By dissecting the intricate language, unravelling the complex characters, and considering the historical context of Elizabethan England, students can gain profound insights into the human psyche and the enduring relevance of Shakespeare’s works. Read more about this play from this link:

Why Should We Study a Play?

  • Cultural Enrichment: Plays are a reflection of the cultural milieu in which they are created. By studying plays, students are exposed to a diverse range of cultures, historical periods, and societal norms, fostering cultural enrichment and a broader worldview.
  • Development of Critical Thinking Skills: The study of plays encourages students to think critically and analytically. Analysing characters, plot structures, and themes requires students to delve beneath the surface, honing their ability to interpret complex narratives and draw insightful conclusions.
  • Empathy and Understanding: We study plays as they often delve into the human experience, portraying characters facing a myriad of challenges. This exposure fosters empathy and a deeper understanding of different perspectives, promoting emotional intelligence and compassion.
  • Enhancement of Communication Skills: Reading and interpreting plays contribute to the development of strong communication skills. Students not only improve their reading and comprehension abilities but also refine their verbal and written expression as they articulate their interpretations and analyses.
  • Appreciation of the Arts: The study of plays introduces students to the world of performing arts, cultivating an appreciation for theatrical performances, film adaptations, and the craftsmanship involved in bringing a script to life. This exposure can spark a lifelong love for the arts.

More reasons why we should study plays and literature can be read here.


The study of plays and literature in schools transcends the boundaries of traditional education. It is a journey into the human experience, offering students a profound understanding of culture, critical thinking skills, empathy, and appreciation for the arts. As we continue to unravel the complexities of plays in classrooms, we empower future generations with the tools to navigate the intricate narratives of life, fostering a society rich in cultural awareness and intellectual curiosity. We at Open Minds Campus encourage all our students to take part in Art and plays at our school because we understand and appreciate the benefits that come with taking part in art and drama, you can read more about what we offer as a school here.

By: Herold

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