Bollywood, Reviewing Comedy, and Staging Early Modern Dutch Sex: Papers Called For.

Today’s post is to bring to your notice three calls for papers, spanning the Atlantic Ocean and stopping off in India along the way (and if that sounds like a geographical impossibility, you clearly haven’t read The Winter’s Tale.) The events take in the seriousness of reviewing comedy, the presence of Shakespeare in Bollywood cinema, and the erotic dramaturgy of 15th-century ‘blunt Hollanders’ (as described in Henry VI Part 3. Summaries of each conference follow – you can find out more on the host institutions’ respective websites.


1) Adapting, Performing and Reviewing Shakespearean Comedy in a European Context. 

Interdisciplinary Symposium at the Institute of Modern Languages Research (IMLR), London, Thursday 12 and Friday 13 June 2014.

This two-day symposium brings together practitioners, reviewers and academics to generate a focused debate on the transnational and regional aspects of humour and its manifestation in Shakespeare’s texts and adaptations. Events such as the World Shakespeare Festival, as well as international Shakespeare festivals and the increase in international tours of Shakespeare productions, continually raise the issue of “International Shakespeares” vs “local culture(s)” – a key concern of this symposium.

The event concentrates on the text, performance, and reviewing of Shakespeare’s comedies in a European context. We invite proposals for 15-minute papers and provocations that will contribute to and spark focused panel discussions. We also welcome proposals for performances and workshops focusing on the practical exploration of the interrelationship between humour, Shakespearean text and adaptation, performance and reviewing.

Confirmed keynote contributors include:

Prof. Tom Bishop, University of Auckland

Niels Brunse, translator

Prof. Michael Dobson, Shakespeare Institute

Mark Fisher, theatre critic (The GuardianThe Scotsman and others)

Dr. Steve Purcell, University of Warwick & Pantaloons

Dr. P.A. Skantze, University of Roehampton


Contributions are invited on topics in the following areas:


1)    “Comedy and Culture: The Starting Point”

Papers in this section should explore the underlying relationship between humour and culture. Questions to be asked could include: Which aspects of humour are universal/which are dependent on cultural context? How does Shakespearean comedy reflect the interrelationship of humour and culture?


2)    “Adapting Across Cultures”

Concentrating on textual adaptation, contributions to this panel could address issues of language, translation, surtitling, and dramaturgy, as well as historical dimensions of textual practice and adaptation.


3)    “Performing Across Cultures”

This panel could consider issues of “transnational” performance, e.g. local vs. global audiences; audience and humour; transgeneric forms and humour (especially where comedies are played as tragedies and vice-versa), as well as Shakespeare and community/citizenship.


4)    “Reviewing Across Cultures”

This panel could consider the art of the review; national styles of reviewing; the institutionalisation of reviewing; print versus new media, and festival reviewing. It could also compare local, national and “transnational” reviews (i.e. reviews of touring productions).


Please send 200-word abstracts with a 50-word biography by 15thFebruary 2014 to the following address:


Please indicate whether you want to contribute a 15-minute paper or a workshop / performance piece.


2) Love, Sex and Romance in Early Drama. 26th April 2014, University of Toronto.


From 24 to 27 April 2014 Poculi Ludique Societas is putting on a production of Lancelot of Denmark and Of Winter and Summer. These two so-called abele spelen, together with the other abele spelen Gloriant and Esmoreit, are the oldest surviving secular plays from the Low Countries, preserved in the Van Hulthem manuscript (c.1410). Of Winter and Summer is also the oldest known allegorical Dutch play and an early example of the debate play. Both Lancelot of Denmark and Of Winter and Summer are concerned with love and sex; the former is also one of the very few surviving romance plays of medieval Europe, a seemingly popular genre well into the early modern period.

This one-day symposium aims to explore both the idealised and realistic portrayal of love and sex on the medieval and early modern stage as well as the relationship between drama and romances, both in the Low Countries and beyond.

Potential topics include:

  • representations of love and/or sex on stage
  • how to stage the act of sex
  • romance plays
  • the connections between medieval romances and plays (e.g. in manuscript context)
  • the role of dramatic festivities at wedding celebrations
  • connections between medieval debates dealing with love and plays

Please send a 400 word abstract to by 15 March 2014.

More information here.

3) Shakespeare in Bollywood, 27th June 2014, Royal Holloway, University of London.

On 27 June 2014, Royal Holloway will host a one-day graduate conference on Shakespeare in Bollywood with the renowned critic Dr.Poonam Trivedi of Delhi University as keynote speakerThe day aims to bring together academics and practitioners in the field to gain a better understanding of the current state of research in this vibrant field. Organised by Koel Chatterjee and Preti Taneja in the English Department with the support of Dr Deana Rankin,Deputy Director of the MA in Shakespeare, with funding from the RHUL Research Fund and the English Department, this conference will, we hope, be the first of a series of events on Shakespeare and Indian Cinema culminating on a larger-scale conference and film festival in 2016.

We invite proposals for 20 minute papers on any aspect of Shakespeare and Bollywood. Topics could include:

  • Prehistories
  • Commercial Hindi Shakespeare films
  • Economics – global and local
  • Gendering Shakespeare/ Gendering Bollywood
  • Hindi Art-House Shakespeare films
  • Shakespearean songs and Bollywood music
  • Shakespearean Actors and Film-makers
  • ‘Academic’ Shakespeare vs. ‘Popular’ Shakespeare
  • Translation theory and practice
  • Adaptation theory
  • Hybridity and (post)-colonial theories
  • Art work and promotional material – posters, flybills, film trailers, coffee table books

Abstracts of 300 words (plus a 50 word bio) should be sent to by 3 March, 2014.

We will contact all those who send abstracts by 24 March, 2014.

The conference fee is £25 (to include light refreshments).


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