Sheltering with Shakespeare (Closed)

Join veteran Shakespearean actor and teacher Dakin Matthews for a wide-ranging exploration of how to read, interpret, and demystify the Bard.

Sheltering with Shakespeare, conceived and performed by Dakin Matthews is a free series of thirty brilliant, accessible episodes, each five to ten minutes long, about Shakespeare. Some episodes focus on Matthews’ “common sense” approach to performing Shakespeare; others are about a play, a scene, a sonnet, a character, a phrase, or even a word. Each video will send the viewer off on an unpredictable journey into the heart, mind, and art of Shakespeare. They are for professional and amateur alike.

The Host

Dakin Matthews headshot

Dakin Matthews is an actor, dramaturge, teacher, and Shakespeare scholar.

He has been a leading stage actor (in over 250 professional plays) on Broadway, and with The Mark Taper Forum, The Ahmanson Theatre, Roundabout Theater, Lincoln Center Theater, The Public Theater, Playwrights Horizons, Los Angeles Theatre Center, The Acting Company, American Conservatory Theatre, the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, PCPA in Santa Maria, South Coast Rep, The Shakespeare Theatre D.C., the Antaeus Theatre Company, PICT, and various other professional theatres.

His professional Shakespearean acting credits include: Macbeth, Bottom (four times), Falstaff (five times), King John, Richard III, Launce, King Lear (twice), First Gravedigger, Brutus (twice), Oberon, Malvolio, Capulet, Leonato, Antigonus (twice), Shylock, Dogberry (twice), Fluellen, Gremio, Thersites, Menenius, Baptista (three times), Buckingham, Don Pedro, Lafew, Friar Lawrence, Caesar, Casca (twice), Cornwall, Glendower, and many others.  He has directed The Winter’s Tale (three times), Julius Caesar (twice), Henry IV, Henry V, Coriolanus, and The Tempest. He won a Drama Desk Award for his Broadway adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry IV. And he was the Artistic Director of the Berkeley Shakespeare Festival.

He has dramaturged Shakespeare for the country’s leading directors, including Jack O’Brien, Dan Sullivan, Darko Tresnjak, Michael Sexton, and John Rando, and has coached numerous actors in Shakespearean roles, including Denzel Washington, Neil Patrick Harris, and Camryn Manheim.

He is a member of both the Motion Picture and the Television Academies.  He has appeared in over thirty feature films, TV movies, and miniseries, and made over three hundred appearances in episodic television, performing as a regular or recurring character in ten different series.

He is an Emeritus Professor of English at California State University East Bay. He has also taught at Juilliard, ACT in San Francisco, USD/Globe MFA Program, the Actors Center in NY, the Antaeus Company, and CalArts.  His text, SHAKESPEARE SPOKEN HERE, has been adopted at San Francisco State, Cal State Hayward, U.C. Irvine, University of San Diego, and the American Conservatory Theatre.  He has given workshops in Shakespearean verse-speaking around the world.


Series Four: Sonnets

Series Four will focus on Shakespeare’s sonnet sequence. The series will be divided into four separate parts. The first will explore what exactly a sonnet is, and what a sonnet sequence is. The second will explore Shakespeare’s famous sequence, examining its history, its structure, and its possible autobiographical nature. The third will explore the task of “interpreting” his sonnets, that is, not just analyzing them, but also reading or speaking them aloud—which was the original meaning of “interpretation.” And the fourth will analyze a number of individual sonnets, unpacking their complex meaning, analyzing their structure and technique, and suggesting how that meaning and complexity can best be conveyed to a listener. 

New episodes are released weekly.  Episode descriptions, release dates, and links to watch will be coming soon.






Deloitte and Bloomberg Philanthropies are the 2021-2022 Season Sponsors.

Principal support for Theatre for a New Audience’s season and programs is provided by The Hearst Foundations, JLGreene Arts Access Fund in the New York Community Trust, The SHS Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Thompson Family Foundation, and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Theatre for a New Audience’s season and programs are also made possible, in part, with public funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts; Shakespeare in American Communities, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature; and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.



Photo of Dakin Matthews by Blake Burcham.