Everything you need to know about the context of Macbeth, as well as key themes in the play

Understanding Shakespeare’s life and times, as well as the history of the Globe Theatre, can enhance your exploration of Macbeth. Key themes and topics are also great discussion points for students.


Interviews with Director, Cressida Brown


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From Duncan, to Macbeth, to Malcolm – we look at the different kings in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and explore the themes of tyranny and power.
What makes a tyrant? What do kings do with their power? Is the enabling of a tyrant just as bad as being a tyrant yourself?Read more on context from Cressida Brown, Director


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We take a look at the witches in Macbeth, and how they’ll be portrayed in our Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank production this spring.
Take a look at other resources around the witches, their character profile and a blog post.


Find out more about the world that Shakespeare lived in with our fact pages.


Learn context around costumes, printing the plays and the Globe Theatre itself.

Globe Theatre Tour

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Elizabethan Costume Dressing

As You Like It production photograph Watch video

Printing the plays

An ink roller running across a template of letters Watch video


Use these four topics as a starting point to discuss the main ideas in the play.

Share your insights with others, and see what the actors have to say!


The director of this year’s production of Macbeth, Cressida Brown, explains her understanding of context when directing the play.

Audience and the edit 

The only way that I am altering this production for a younger audience is that I am going to strive to make it better. It’s got to be clearer, it’s got to be more exciting, it’s got to be bolder. Adults are good at pretending they like something when they don’t, whereas young people are very honest and will tell you if they don’t like it!  

Globe as a space 

The Globe is an incredible space, and unique in the fact that the actors can see the audience that they are talking to. Shakespeare comes alive in that space and the audience members become cast in the play as particular characters. I hope in a world of online video games and even compared to other theatres where the audience sit in the dark, the young audience will bring their energy to the performance because they are as present as the actors