30 Minute Shakespeare
What's the Buzz?
“...A truly fun, emotional, and sometimes magical first experience...guided by a sagacious, knowledgeable, and intuitive educator.”

“A master at engaging students in the process of performing a Shakespeare scene.”

“Wonderfully informative and fun. You can’t do better.”

“Truly an advocate of the child, of the arts and of humanity.”

“From a teacher’s perspective, this book was a great way to introduce students to a Shakespeare play they otherwise might never have encountered in high school... much more fun working with the adaptation than it might have been if i had tackled the full script. I strongly recommend this book (and the rest of the series) to educators who want to introduce a variety of Shakespeare plays to their students in a limited amount of time.”

“Nick Newlin’s 30-minute play cuttings are perfect for students who have no experience with Shakespeare. Each 30-minute mini-play is a play in itself with a beginning, middle, and end.”

“The 30-Minute Shakespeare is a superb way to get young people on their feet performing and enjoying Shakespeare’s plays. The stage directions and character suggestions made the plays come alive, and my students lived Shakespeare through the text.”
Amazon Reader Reviews
Nick Newlin's 30-Minute cutting of "As You Like It" was a superb product, and I think it is a worthy purchase for any fellow educators. Newlin's insight into how to make such stage productions effective shines through the script and associated documentation. The stage notes are invaluable, and as a young educator, I appreciated the pages with rehearsal and training suggestions. ...An energetic, full-story production."

Author/Performer Nick Newlin has given an incredible tool to instructors and teachers of Drama/Theatre. As an educator, I have witnessed the attempts of several teachers as they introduce Shakespeare as required by state laws. Now that I have read The 30 Minute Shakespeare version of The Merry Wives of Windsor, I wish I could put a copy in the hands of each teacher in our state. The performance notes and pitfalls and solutions are such timesavers and each time I read the script, I am more impressed with the continuity of the story reduction, which was done without marginalizing the rich language and subtle wit of the Bard. I'm the Executive Director of the KidZ Drama Klub (KDK) and over the years, several of our members have asked for a chance to work on a Shakespeare play - until now, I have been hesitant to do that, knowing the amount of material that would need to be covered and the demanding work of getting through the language. With our copies of Nick Newlin's book in hand - we are planning our first performance for next spring. I am pleased to recommend the Merry Wives of Windsor and the entire 30 Minute Shakespeare series for community theatre directors, school curriculum coordinators, and Drama/Theatre teachers. Thanks, Nick for putting it all together!

I write this, not as a school teacher; but as a lover of Shakespeare's plays ... only wishing I could see them more often. So a few years ago I bought a huge tome of the Bard's works. It is much harder to read the plays than to see them on the stage and the book gathers dust. Now comes Nick Newlin with his series of 30 Minute versions, written middle and high school students. I started with Hamlet, because I am less familiar with it than with King Lear and Macbeth. It took me perhaps 30 minutes to read and ponder. What a wonderful way to refresh my memory. But Newlin also gives us enough of the play to inspire deep thinking about what is troubling about humanity — greed, lust for power, treachery, but also of the role of conscience and our willingness to act against injustice and evil — the frightening struggle "to be." Great for students to have a chance to do so. Boiling down the great plays to 30 minutes undoubtedly takes a great deal of savvy, talent and wit. Newlin pulls it off. By making this play accessible to youngsters and oldsters alike, he has done us all a great service. I highly recommend the series, and I look forward to reading the rest.

As an educator who has tried many ways to get his students into Shakespeare, I was impressed with this 30-Minute Shakespeare rendition of Romeo & Juliet. My bias when it comes to teaching Shakespeare is to focus on the Bard's use of language to develop characters, to build conflict, and to provide comic relief through puns and word-play; as a result, I tend not to be a huge fan of Shakespeare-made-easy types of texts (I feel they strip the language down too much in favor of simplifying the plots). Most who study Shakespeare understand that his plots are, for the most part, re-hashing popular tales of Medieval Europe; what makes Shakespeare special is his poetry. What I found with Newlin's "cuttings" was this: the "meaty" sections of Shakespeare's language—the parts that really build characterization and show relationships—were left mostly in tact. This enables a teacher to examine dialogue and soliloquies with students effectively because they are boiled down to a "highlights section" and presented in their essential contexts. Morse obscure or obtuse sections (such as Mercutio's "Queen Mab" speech) are omitted; instead, the story is advanced by brief, student-friendly summaries. Students are able to see how the story progresses, but the plot development is not front-and-center. Instead the language stays the primary focus. I know the script is intended for performance, but I feel it would function well as an introductory-level Shakespearean text for the purposes of familiarizing students with Shakespeare's use of language and his abilities to bring characters to life through idiosyncratic diction and heightened poetic phrasing. I am eager to read other Newlin cuttings of Shakespeare for I believe he has hit upon something quite important for the advancement of Shakespeare appreciation in schools.

The full thrust of the 30-Minute Shakespeare series is to get students up from their desks and on their feet. It is a terrific way to introduce a play into their lives. One of the problems I encounter as a teaching artist is that most students look at plays as Literature. I suppose I get it, as there are few other choices to introduce the works to them. But a play is literature about as much as sheet music is a concert. And this is what I try to teach my students - plays only live when they are SEEN AND HEARD. Nick Newlin's excellent adaptations have given me multiple chances to work students past understanding the plot, toward understanding what it is to make a play. Bravo.