Oscar Winner Helen Mirren said via a Zoom conversation with Royal Shakespeare Company artistic director Gregory Doran that Shakespeare should not be taught in school since "drowning through" the plays in class with 11 or 12 year olds could be "off-putting".
Instead students should see his work on stage saying "All young people’s experience of Shakespeare should be live theatre". Adding that it more likely to spark an eagerness in his writing when watching an production of one of his plays.
She continued by saying that it can be an difficult task to “making this sometimes archaic language alive and accessible…not alienating” and that her incessant battle with Shakespeare is “that you have to go through the head – but I [want] it not just to stay in the head.”
Mirren also talked with Doran about gender swaps in modern production of Shakespeare plays stating "I’m so happy now that women can do Hamlet, do Richard III, do Lear, as Glenda Jackson just did. It certainly was beyond any possibility when I was in my twenties, thirties, forties, fifties, sixties. It was just impossible."
Mirren joined the RSC in 1965 and has played various Shakespeare roles included "Rosalind in As You Like It, Lady Macbeth, Cleopatra opposite Alan Rickman’s Antony, and, on film, a gender-flipped version of Prospero in The Tempest".