Here in this article, Helen Mirren takes exception to having school children read Shakespeare, as opposed to being introduced to it via a live performance, or at least a film.
I agree in principle. Certainly introducing Shakespeare strictly as text has its advantages. I'll never deny that. And once students get to high school, it can and probably should be a large part of studying the Bard.
Even then, if one's only goal is to introduce textual analysis and iambic pentameter and other linguistic subjects to a student. And while there is nothing wrong with that approach, (I study such things myself informally, I think as an introductory approach, it misses a great deal of the point.
Shakespeare's plays are scripts. Intended from the very beginning to be performed. They existed for the benefit of actors, and not readers. That is not to say that English scholars have no business dissecting them, but if one's ultimate goal is to introduce Shakespeare itself to young people, as opposed to merely introducing the literary devices he may (or may not) have employed in his story telling, there is a great advantage to having a performance be one of the first exposures to the Bard a student experiences.
I say "one of" because I wouldn't rely 100% on a "cold viewing" in order to introduce students to Shakespeare. A primer on his language and vocabulary would be in order before exposing them to an actual production. A brief discussion of how we believe his plays were staged originally would not hurt either. For I do not, as many do, believe that a "perfect" performance of a Shakespeare play will make all of the unfamiliar language suddenly clear to the totally uninitiated. The Bard was brilliant, but he was not magical. Those four centuries between his time and ours cannot simply be ignored. (Though many companies believe Shakespeare is only ever confusing because it is not performed properly, and that's bogus.)
Still, I favor de-emphasizing textual analysis in favor of viewing of performance for the earliest of Shakespeare exposure. I am, after all, an actor, and Romeo and Juliet first and foremost is in fact a script, not a novel.
And if Helen said it, it can't be that off the wall of a concept, can it?