Write Like Shakespeare | College of Arts

Write Like Shakespeare

Shakespeare: Still at work


Professor Sky Gilbert, School of English and Theatre Studies, is a teacher, writer, director, filmmaker, and he was co-founder and artistic director of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (North America’s largest gay and lesbian theatre) for 18 years. He has received three Dora Mavor Moore Awards and the Pauline McGibbon Award for theatre directing, and he was the recipient of The Margo Bindhardt Award (from the Toronto Arts Foundation), and The Silver Ticket Award (from the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts). In 2014 a street was named after Sky: SKY GILBERT LANE. Sky Gilbert continues to produce plays in Toronto, and in Hamilton, Ontario where he lives. 

His current work includes teaching a class of undergraduate students about the pleasures and benefits of learning to write like Shakespeare.  Since early Modern students from the 1500s were grilled in the same exercises, day after day, the question emerges, did this contribute to the extraordinary brilliance of the poets of the era?  Gilbert states, “We are not all Shakespeare. But was Shakespeare simply a ‘genius,’ or was he the most extraordinary product of the education of his time?” Gilbert thinks this exercise proves that when we use Shakespeare’s techniques, we may not become Shakespeare, but we most certainly become better writers. And if the Ciceronian justification for rhetoric is true, we become better people, too.

Enjoy the results!

Adam Newton

Those who are dealt hate oft hate in turn.  Persecution drives the discriminated to incriminate another as little more than a worm.  Ah, “another”. To ward off torment, brutalization must be met with brutality upon another.  As a chained dog growls, the hiding suffocate a baby’s wail, a nation of assimilators fear assimilation, an escapee abandons their cellmate to the guard, a burst home births a bully, a broken blade cuts deeper, the scapegoat must always have their patsy.  These wretched commit their sin not from deadly ignorance’s burn, but they have, under villainy’s vile hand, had to learn.


Alain Croteau

Fulfillment of ambition obstructs the path to a soul filled full.Once the mountain is scaled, there is nowhere to climb but down.
Perhaps it’s better to be nearer to the bottom, where there is purpose, yet just high enough that one can ignorantly laugh at gravity as one defies it in one’s ascent - thus yielding to the illusion that something greater lies ahead…though nothing is yielded in return.
I am king of the world – yet my crown is duller than cobblestone. At Everest’s peak I have made my castle, where purpose suffers motivational hypoxia. I’d rather be a blade of grass growing in a field, the waving wheat on a farm, a sunset shadow on a wall, a fire’s flame in a pit, a small sapling in a great forest.
There is no living beyond the timberline.


Fox Grant

Darkness, or light - doth the answer wander in thy soul
Whether ’tis more acquainted to figure within thine breast
The dark, a blanket of icy indecision shrouds thee
Moreover, the light, warm, so warm t’would make the love of God rejoice
Yet, a battle doth stir
Dark against light, light against dark 
They battle as if real men themselves
Victory, ah yes… Victory
Canst it be won upon both sides?
Doth dark and light have’st middle ground?
A place in which it was as if twain doth tug the rope of struggle no more
So calm, the stillness, pure, two armies of different sides in agreement
Perhaps thy middle ground doth not stir longer and settle, embrace thy body and soul
To feel thine body at rest, peace, tranquility
Not a war within thy self no longer
Finally, ones whole self becomes a tune.


Christina Molenaar:

It gets worse before it gets better
There is no rainbow until a storm has passed
If we wish to succeed, we must embrace the failures
Like splintering wood, cracked eggs, foggy glasses, overgrown garden, unset
alarm, missing wallet, or gum on a shoe
After you trip you stand back up.


Natalie Jachimowicz

I am most hungry when I am full. It is when I am satiated, that I crave so much more. For my body and mind need the satisfaction of gluttony to not feel empty on the inside. This feeling resides in me like an all-you-can-eat buffet, a diet of junk food, a love for painkillers, a “happy” relationship, a perfume that loses its scent easily, a trip to the good old casino, or a discontinued book series that you had just started. We all want more than what we currently have.


Charlie Rosenberg

A Cheeseburger with cheese or without? Yet the oozing answer lies deep beneath my breast bone carry’d out by that of a blood pumping vessel.
Weather thee is acquainted with the satisfaction of warmth, familiarity, and the comfort that a soothing dairy product doth induce
Tho if one was to violently upset themselves, the darkness of lactose will melt over
Brie against guda, lactose against man
art thou a generational skirmish, or is thou an evolved state of being?
Will those who decide to consume decadent dairy one day be at the knees of a great pain that transforms the breast to an opaque state and walks you into the cold night?
Tho is it wrong to assume a burger be it just a burger, cheese or not?
Can a succulent slice a dairy, creamy and divine in texture, bubbling in the confines of my gut adjust the state of mind to that of satisfaction?
Perhaps no, perhaps never. Perhaps the satisfaction of a burger lies in more than just a creamy endeavour.
perhaps burger consumption alone is enough to make a disordered soul anew again.



The University of Guelph resides on the land of the Between the Lakes Treaty No. 3, the territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit. This land is part of the Dish with One Spoon, a covenant between Indigenous nations to live peaceably on the territories of the Great Lakes region. We recognize that today this gathering place is home to many First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and acknowledging them reminds us of our collective responsibility to the land where we learn, live and work.