Stage Swagger & Swordplay: Adapting Shakespeare for Kids

Brendan Kelso is the mastermind behind the Shakespeare for Kids collection, the book series of Shakespeare plays adapted for children that are creating a young fan base for the Bard.

Learn how Brendan's creative plays are making Shakespeare infectiously fun for you and your students in this exclusive TeachHUB interview.

Where did your passion for Shakespeare stem from?
11th grade - I entered a Shakespeare competition and did a soliloquy from Midsummer - it was Bottom's speech, "Methought I was..." out of 120 kids, I received honorable mention - there was something about that moment in front of the judges where I just clicked. I felt like I rose to another level. I could see and think about what the audience was doing, while still performing - it was like I was in two places at once. Serious dose of adrenalin there! And my 12th grade year, I went to the Ashland Oregon Shakespeare Festival, best in the country.

How did the Shakespeare for Kids Books come to be?
About 7 years ago, I took a year off of work to be with my newborn son. Soon, my wife basically said, "you need to bring in some cash". She was already in with the Parks & Rec as a after school science program, so she got me to do "Hamlet in a can". I wrote up my first script. The kids LOVED it.

My first group wanted to do another play and, at the same time, a home school group requested that I teach their kids. At that point, I started doing session after session with kids constantly returning for another dose of the Bard. I got approached by two different theater groups who paid me, so they could use my scripts with their kids. It was clear there was a demand for this, so I found an on-demand publishing house and went to it.