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Twelfth Night, or What You Will Resources


Elizabethan History

Great website for historical background. Includes a nifty "Elizabethan dictionary."

Shakespeare Concordance

Awesome tool for all students to look up words in any of Shakespeare's plays and sonnets.

Cartoon Shakespeare

Cartoon Shakespeare offers Twelfth Night the comic book by artist John Howard. Pretty cool.

Movie or TV Productions

Twelfth Night: Or, What You Will

Trevor Nunn's popular 1996 film stars Imogen Stubbs (Viola), Helena Bonham Carter (Olivia), and Ben Kingsley (Feste). Awesome cast and super accessible production.

Twelfth Night

Neil Armfield's 1987 production starring Gillian Jones (Viola), Kerry Walker (Feste), Geoffrey Rush (Sir Andrew Aguecheek). Totally awesome performance by actress Kerry Walker as "Feste," a role usually given to men.

Twelfth Night, or What You Will

2003 made for television movie directed by Tim Supple, starring Parminder Nagra as Viola. This great production is super modern with a bit of "Bollywood" flavor. It's also notable for the way it draws parallels between Viola's character and political asylum seekers.

21st Century Bard: The Making of Twelfth Night

Documentary television series (2003) following the made for television 2003 movie Twelfth Night, or What you Will (see above).

Twelfth Night, or What You Will

Staged at the Lincoln Center Theatre in New York and televised on PBS in 1998, starring Paul Rudd (Duke Orsino), Helen Hunt (Viola), and Kyra Sedgewick (Olivia).

Twelfth Night

Filmed for Thames Television in 1988, Kenneth Branagh's famous Renaissance Theater Companyproduction stars Frances Barber as Viola. High school and college instructors like to show this one in classes.

She's the Man

2006 flick starring Amanda Bynes as Viola, a teen who decides to cross-dress in order to join the boys' soccer team at her rival prep school, "Illyria." Similar to the way 10 Things I Hate About You adapts The Taming of the Shrew for teen audiences.

Lost and Delirious

A 2001 adaptation of Susan Swan's novel The Wives of Bath. In the film, Paulie's character borrows much from Twelfth Night's Viola as the film explores the relationship between two Canadian boarding school roommates struggling with issues of gender and sexual identity. Paulie's attempts to become more "masculine" to impress and attract her roommate echo the complexity of Viola's relationship with Olivia.

Shakespeare in Love

Written by the amazing Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman (1998), this is a must see for anyone, period.Gwyneth Paltrow's character, Viola, cross-dresses to become a stage actor in the play Romeo and Juliet and falls in love with Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) during rehearsal. In the movie, Paltrow's character inspires Shakespeare to write the play Twelfth Night.

Play On!

1997 musical set in the Harlem Renaissance and featuring the music of jazz great Duke Ellington. The musical loosely adapts Shakespeare's play. PBS aired a filmed version in 2000.


John Lithgow as Malvolio

Malvolio in yellow stockings with cross garters (Act 3, Scene 4), from The Royal Shakespeare Company.

Trevor Nunn's Twelfth Night

Olivia and Viola (as "Cesario") meet for the first time in this excerpt from Trevor Nunn's film production. This is where Olivia falls for Viola.

She's the Man

Excerpt from contemporary tween adaptation of Twelfth Night.


Twelfth Night from Speakthespeech.org
Use Real Player to listen to a performance of the play while you read along.

Historical Documents

John Manningham's Diary

Excerpt from law student (John Manningham) about the performance of Twelfth Night at The Middle Temple. This diary entry is just one of the nifty ways historians are able to date the performance of the play and see what people thought of Twelfth Night. (Notice that Manningham compares the play to another Shakespeare play, The Comedy of Errors, and emphasizes the Malvolio plot over all else.)

Puritan Attack on the Theater

Excerpt from Philip Stubbes's book The Anatomie of Abuses (1583), where he criticizes play-going and the Elizabethan theater (and just about everything else under the sun). Informative and hilarious – read this if you're interested in learning more about why Shakespeare likes to make fun of Elizabethan Puritans and why Maria and Toby play their prank on Malvolio.


Lakeshore Player's Poster for Twelfth Night

Great poster with double-faced Viola/"Cesario"

First Folio image of Twelfth Night

Image posted on the Royal Shakespeare Company's website.

Feste and Olivia

Photo of Feste and Olivia from a college production of Twelfth Night

King Cake

Image of a "king cake" with a brief history, including traditional use in Twelfth Night celebrations.

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