Play On Shakespeare

Re-imagined for current audiences, ACMRS Press is proud to publish these modern verse translations of thirty-nine of Shakespeare’s classic plays.

Play On Shakespeare is a non-profit company promoting and creating contemporary modern translations of Shakespeare’s plays. Since its inception in 2015, Play On has commissioned dozens of contemporary playwrights and translators to translate 39 Shakespeare plays into modern English, with a majority of the commissions being helmed by BIPOC and womxn playwrights. Far from a paraphrasing exercise, each playwright was tasked with matching Shakespeare’s linguistic rigor as they approached the text, preserving rhyme, rhythm, metaphor, meter, imagery, symbolism, rhetoric, and the structure that make Shakespeare’s plays engaging and accessible to today’s audience. Play On partners with artists and organizations across the globe to deliver and advocate for these translations through different channels, including theatrical productions, podcasts, publications, and film. For more information, visit

Play On Shakespeare is made possible through generous support of the Hitz Foundation.

If you need a Shakespeare script that's not cloaked with Renaissance arcana nor slathered with modern slang, try these editions.
— Ron Charles, Washington Post


It’s been difficult to define precisely. It turns out that there is no word for the kind of subtle and rigorous examination of language found here. We don’t mean “word for word,” which is what most people think of when they hear the word translate. We don’t mean “paraphrase,” either.

This project looked at Shakespeare’s plays through the lens of the English we speak today. How much has the English language changed since Shakespeare? Is it possible that there are conventions in the early modern English of Shakespeare that don’t translate to us today, especially in the moment of hearing it spoken out loud as one does in the theater?

How might we “carry forward” the successful communication between actor and audience that took place 400 years ago? “Carry forward,” by the way, is what we mean by “translate.”

Contemporary Modern English

The Play On Shakespeare project aimed to tease out what we mean by contemporary modern English, and a matrix of writers was created who embodied many different lived experiences: age, ethnicity, gender-identity, experience with translations, geography, English as a second language, knowledge of Shakespeare, etc.

What the playwrights had in common was a deep love of language and a curiosity about the assignment. Not everyone was on board with the idea and I was eager to see how the experiment would be for them.

The Festival

To celebrate the completion of the translations, all 39 plays were presented in a staged reading format at a festival in June 2019 in partnership with The Classic Stage Company in New York. The blend of Shakespeare with another writer was seamless and jarring at the same time. Countless actors and audience members told us that the plays were understandable in ways they had never been before.

The Book Series

Now it’s time to share their work through this exciting new book series. These editions are based on the festival readings. They mark a moment in time. The translations aren’t definitive; they never will be. The original commission asked for two drafts, which is enough to put the ball in play. The real fun with these texts is when there are actors, a director, a dramaturg, and the playwright wrestling with them together in a rehearsal room.

More Information

For information on release dates, reviews, publicity, or other inquiries, please contact

Full Title List with Playwright “Translator”

Please look for all 39 titles in the Play On Shakespeare series, and the playwright who wrote the translation. Publication of all titles are scheduled to be complete by early 2024.

All's Well That Ends Well
— Virginia Grise

Antony and Cleopatra
Christopher Chen

As You Like It
David Ivers

The Comedy of Errors
Christina Anderson

Sean San José

Andrea Thome

Edward III
Octavio Solis

Lisa Peterson

Henry IV (Parts 1 & 2)
Yvette Nolan

Henry V
Lloyd Suh

Henry VI (Parts 1, 2, & 3)
— Douglas P. Langworthy

Henry VIII
Caridad Svich

Julius Caesar
Shishir Kurup

King John
Brighde Mullins

King Lear
Marcus Gardley

Migdalia Cruz

Measure for Measure
Aditi Brennan Kapil

The Merchant of Venice
Elise Thoron

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
— Jeffrey Whitty

Much Ado About Nothing
Ranjit Bolt

Mfoniso Udofia

Ellen McLaughlin

Richard II
Naomi Iizuka

Richard III
Migdalia Cruz

Romeo and Juliet
Hansol Jung

The Tempest
Kenneth Cavander

Timon of Athens
— Kenneth Cavander

Titus Andronicus
Amy Freed

Troilus and Cressida
Lillian Groag

Twelfth Night
Alison Carey

The Two Noble Kinsmen
Tim Slover

The Winter’s Tale
Tracy Young

Performance Demos

Watch these short demos of translations in action!

King Lear


Romeo and Juliet

The Demos Discussed

Please visit the Play On Shakespeare YouTube Channel for more videos related to these exciting translations: