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“The concept is original and the execution brilliant. This is Dr Seuss meets Shakespeare, with all the joy of the former meshed with all the intrigue of the latter.” — David Crystal, author of Shakespeare’s Words and How Language Works.

Good evening. Welcome to the show
Midsummer Night’s Dream, I’m sure you all know?
It’s a famous work by Will the Bard
But his language can be kind of hard
So this evening we will do our best
To simplify old William’s text.
As you can hear, we’ll speak in rhyme
And cut two hours off the running time.”
Act I: Prologue

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The Silly Shakespeare for Students edition of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream simplifies the famous play without dumbing it down. It’s perfect for introducing students to the Bard and helping English Language Learners practice speaking and oracy skills while grappling with the classics. Author Paul Leonard Murray, director of the Belgrade English Language Theater, has cut the play down to an hour or so and made the language more accessible. But he’s kept all the funny parts! Not only that, the whole thing is written in rhyming couplets. Written for students, but any lover of Shakespeare will enjoy how Dr. Murray weaves the original plot and language into this new, laugh-out-loud version!

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of Shakespeare’s best-known plays for a reason. When Hermia’s father forbids her to marry Lysander, the couple run away to elope. Demetrius, who is madly in love with Hermia follows them, and Helena who is in love with Demetrius, follows him. Little do they know that the fairies are watching them. The king of the fairies, Oberon sends his servant, mischievous pixie Puck, to fix these foolish mortals’ woes, armed with a love potion. Hilarity ensues involving donkey-faced carpenters, dueling suitors, and some very confused Athenians.

Production notes and a summary of the play make putting on Shakespeare easy and fun, even if you’ve never done drama in class before! Looking for something different for drama club, student theater, or speaking class? Want to spice up your literature or reading class and give students a new appreciation for Shakespeare? This version of Midsummer for Students is for you!

Download a short sample: A Midsummer Night’s Dream Silly Shakespeare Sample

Need a bookmark to keep your place? Download a Midsummer Night’s Dream Bookmark!

Additional information

Weight 4.6 oz
Dimensions 8.5 × 5.5 × .3125 in



Publication Date

20 April 2020



5.5 x 8.5 inches



92 pages

Age Group

, , ,



Raves and Reviews

***A Reader’s Favorite 5-Star Winner***

“I really appreciated the fact that much of the rhyme and rhythm of the original text is kept in place so that it still feels true to the bard’s lyrical style. Many of the rewordings play into the new couplet rhyme scheme beautifully, and the incidents are indeed as funny as ever. ”
— K.C. Finn, au
thor of  The Book Of Shade

“I thoroughly enjoyed the care taken by Paul Leonard Murray in rendering the Elizabethan text of the drama A Midsummer Night’s Dream highly palatable for English as a Foreign Language cast members and audience. The rollicking humor of William Shakespeare’s somewhat bawdy play is retained despite the simplification of the text, and the innate rhythm of the English language still dominates the script.”
— Lois Henderson, Reader’s Favorite

A simplified version of the play with brilliant humour and rhyming throughout. Great to play with in a classroom and can’t wait to use it on some intermediate students when I can. The opening had me glued from the start and it flows beautifully. Genuinely fun theatre to bring into class.”
— Alan Hall, co-host, Phrasally Verbocious ELT Podcast

“I’ve been lucky enough to read three of the resources in this series – consistently engaging, humorous, easy to read and well-graded. I am genuinely trying to hold back the praise with this one – these are top notch resources.”
— Peter Clements, blogger at ELTPlanning and co-author of Start Up

perfectly encapsulates the spirit and story of the original while being fun and silly and appealing to the humour of the elementary student. I wish this had been available when my nephew was studying Grade 4 English”
— Adena Lee, Goodreads reviewer

“…despite having read A Midsummer Night’s Dream countless times, I still found Murray’s text funny. Between the couplets and the storyline, it was a very joyful, wacky reading experience and I breezed through the entire play in under an hour. It is incredibly readable, and Shakespeare novices will certainly have a great time with it. Long gone are impressions of Shakespeare being difficult. If all of the plays in the Silly Shakespeare for Students series is as good as A Midsummer Night’s Dream, then Murray will have helped make the Bard accessible for a whole new audience.”
— Louise Hurrell, Reader’s Favorite

“The best thing about this book is that it’s rendered in poetry form. It’s no simple task to rewrite a whole classic in the form of couplets, and the author rightly merits high praise for his commendable efforts in this regard…. I whole-heartedly recommend A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Silly Shakespeare for Students to all young native English learners. It will also serve as an excellent textbook for learners of all ages, all over the world,”
— Raju Chacko, Reedsy Discovery

The concept is original and the execution brilliant. This is Dr Seuss meets Shakespeare, with all the joy of the former meshed with all the intrigue of the latter. The rhymes are really clever, and often elicited an actual LOL. The pace and staging are terrific. And informed by Paul’s evident theatre background, I can see that they would be a joy to perform in, for youngsters especially.”
— David Crystal, author of Shakespeare’s Words and How Language Works.




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