WORKSHOP SESSION 1


Please note: It will help if you have your own copy of Macbeth with you. If not, you might like to have a digital copy of it open in another window or on the computer next to you. One copy can be found here .

Additionally as you explore the island, some starting points to information online about the play for those not so familiar with it can be found at the following sites:

Wikipedia Synopsis
Basic Plot Overview

1. Explore the island with a partner.


There are several different spaces to explore. These include:


The Arrival Grove (a prologue to the literary world)



Questions to consider:
  • what do you feel as soon as you are inside this space?
  • what do you notice first? what do you think the imagery is designed to conjure in your imaginations?
  • what lines from Macbeth can you hear?
  • why do you think these lines were chosen for the arrival grove?
  • what other sounds can you hear as you walk around the arrival grove?
  • what words or phrases do you see floating through the air?
  • how well do you think this space works as an entry point to the island and the literary world of Macbeth?
  • what else would you like to see here in this space?


The Head (the metaphorical representation of Macbeth's emotional journey throughout the play)



Questions to consider:
  • What is the emotional journey Macbeth takes throughout the play?
  • Scene 1 is the room which reflects Macbeth's "Call to Ego". How is this reflected in the architecture of the space?
  • Who are the apparitions and where do their lines come from?
  • Can you differentiate the two kinds of calls to ego experienced by Macbeth as indicated in the sound installation?
  • The sound installation is called "Golden Opinions". This comes from a line in the text. Locate the line and find out the context.
  • Sit on the throne and take a photo of yourself to add to the gallery.
  • What do the gallery images suggest?
  • Go to Lady Macbeth's Wunderkammer. Click the mirror :) Then study the items on and inside the wunderkammer. Click them for associated sounds. What is the significance of each of these items? Can you locate a line or scene in the text to match or refer to each item?
  • Why is Lady Macbeth inside Macbeth's mind here?
  • Click the spilled wine. What happens? What literary device does this signify?
  • Who is the person standing at the crossroads? Locate a passage in the text to support your idea.
  • The journey taken by Macbeth is full of symbolism. I want you to explore and experience without too much direction. As you do so, talk over with a partner what you are doing and what it might mean. We will have time to reflect back on this later. In a second exploration we might consider additional focus questions. Once you have taken the journey through the head, list some questions you might ask students when considering each of these spaces: The Enticement of Macbeth (Path of Temptation), The Descent into Evil (The Raven), The Chamber of Blood Imagery, The Maze, The Existential Crisis (cube of nothingness)
  • What additional guidance would you like to have here for students?

The "What If?" Island (the meta themes of Virtual Macbeth)


Questions to consider:
  • The bust of Shakespeare reflects the influence of Shakespeare on the English Language. Find some resources online which would support the kinds of discussion we might have with students about this.
  • The statue of Macbeth represents an alternate ending of the play - what would have happened had Macbeth been a hero and celebrated and memorialised in a statue? The statue also speaks to the theme of adaptation, which was introduced inside the Throne Room of the Head. What adaptations of Macbeth do you know of? List some links to the IMDB showing some of these.
  • The theatre masks (comedy / tragedy) reflects the nature of drama - what are some of the elements of drama and how do they work (i.e. crisis, denouement...). Find a resource online which might help students explore this.
  • The scales represent justice, truth, and morality. Some scholars claim that Macbeth's character was amoral. Can you locate some references to support this?
  • The document wallet with maps and a family tree represents the historical source material Shakespeare is said to have used in creating Macbeth. What do we know about the real Macbeth and the real Lady Macbeth? Locate some resources online which might describe these.


2. Sharing and Reflecting


  • This is a chance to talk about the island and share some your feelings and thoughts about the experience. It is also a chance to share back your thoughts and responses to some of the questions above.
  • This is also a chance to offer feedback about the construction of the island and its interactional design.