The essential themes of Romeo and Juliet are revealed anew and made relevant in our latest education resource.

Romeo and Juliet is a play about teenagers, about families, about friendship. It’s about those first big experiences. It’s a tough, violent and uncompromising story of first love that transcends time and speaks to generations across the ages.

Professor Carol Chillington Rutter interrogates Shakespeare's renowned tragedy, focusing on the themes of the play. Sex, language, time and humour are all explored in this in-depth interview, accompanied by a downloadable transcript, that identifies key access points to this classic text.

Joining Carol’s Alike in Dignity conversation this week are two more interviews with actors who have portrayed Romeo and Juliet. They speak with great insight about the challenges of playing Shakespeare’s young lovers, proving that there is no definitive way to perform the complexities of these characters.

Alex Gilbreath played Juliet opposite David Tennant's Romeo in Michael Boyd's Royal Shakespeare Company production in 2000. Alex reflects on playing the role of Juliet as an older actress, suggests that in Juliet's 'Gallop apace' speech lay a very honest portrayal of sexual awakening, and identifies how the disruption to the text's iambic pentameter immediately implies a play about chaos.

Nicholas Shaw played Romeo in Timothy Sheader's first production at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre in 2008. Nicholas shares his experience of learning that he had won the role of such a renowned character, explores the importance of Romeo's relationships, and suggests that the reason that Romeo is so well-drawn is because Shakespeare constantly develops him as a person throughout.