Yet another plenary appeared on television last week. Historian Michael Wood consulted Dr Erin Sullivan, a lecturer and fellow with the Shakespeare Institute, for her expertise on BBC Four’s documentary Shakespeare’s Mother: The Secret Life of a Tudor Woman. The program follows William Shakespeare’s mother Mary Arden through personal and financial loss during an era of religious upheaval and the rise of a new kind of middle class.
The program is available to watch on BBC iPlayer for three more weeks. Go to 32:13 to hear Dr Sullivan discuss how Mary Arden might have dealt with grief after the deaths of her oldest children. Also check out the episode to see shots of the lovely Stratford-upon-Avon, where the BritGrad Conference will be held.
Last month, we profiled BritGrad plenary Chris Laoutaris, a lecturer and fellow at the Shakespeare Institute. Last week, he appeared on BBC’s The One Show in a segment about Lady Elizabeth Russell, the subject of his book Shakespeare and the Countess: The Battle that Gave Birth to the Globe. Gyles Brandreth interviewed Dr Laoutaris in Playhouse Yard, a location central to the struggle between the “bard and the battle-axe.”
Russell, a strict Puritan, raised a petition against building a theatre in the upscale neighborhood of Blackfriars, London. Early modern NIMBYs who signed the petition included Lord Hunston, William Shakespeare’s patron, and Richard Field, his former publisher and boyhood friend.
Russell succeeded in pushing Shakespeare across the river where he wrote plays for the world-renowned Globe, only to return to Blackfriars after her death. Laoutaris actually suggests Shakespeare’s grudging admiration for his nemesis is evidenced by his creation of the Countess of Rousillon in All’s Well That End’s Well.
Do you consider yourself a hero? Well, it doesn’t matter as long as you can write about them. Shakespeare Jahrbuch, the Yearbook of the German Shakespeare Society, is calling for papers on Heroes and Heroines. Send them your work by March 31.
The 2016 volume of Shakespeare Jahrbuch will be a special issue devoted to “Heroes and Heroines”.
The editorial board of Shakespeare Jahrbuch invites essays on the following topics:
Shakespeare as a cultural/national hero
Heroes and heroines in Shakespeare’s plays
Heroism in Shakespeare’s plays
Tragic and comic heroes/heroines
Heroism and genre
Shakespeare and the heroes of early modern England
Shakespeare and (early modern, Romantic, Victorian, modern …) hero-worship
Actors and actresses as heroes/heroines
Heroes /heroines in Shakespeare adaptations
Papers to be published in the Shakespeare Jahrbuch should be formatted according to our style sheet.
Please send your manuscripts (of not more than 6,000 words) to the editor of the Shakespeare Jahrbuch, Prof. Dr. Sabine Schülting (email: sabine.schuelting(at)fu-berlin.de), by 31 March 2015.
Bring out your dead! On March 27, the University of York will celebrate Richard III’s reinternment with a workshop on… corpses. Submit your proposals for Over His Dead Body by January 5:
The legal battle between Leicester and York over the remains of Richard III
came to an end in May 2014 with a High Court ruling that the last
Plantagenet king is to be buried in Leicester Cathedral. This hard-fought,
sometimes acrimonious, dispute over bones found in a municipal car park
presented a fascinating spectacle; a modern, even postmodern, restaging of
the medieval myth of the king’s two bodies. The King is dead; long live
In this research workshop, York and Leicester put their differences aside –
or rather, bring them together in memory and celebration of the historical
figure who inspired one of Shakespeare’s most popular incarnations. To mark
the occasion of Richard’s reinterment on March 26, 2015, the Department of
English and Related Literature at York and the School of Modern Languages
at Leicester invite proposals for a research workshop that will explore the
significance of the Shakespearian dead body on page, stage and screen.
Participants will be invited to join the audience at a memorial lecture in
York Minster on March 26, followed by the research workshop at Kings Manor
– a seat of Tudor government in northern England – on Friday March 27.
Perhaps even more so than the ghost, the Shakespearian dead body raises
fundamental questions about space, place, and belonging and about the
powers that shape its medial and intermedial exhumations and reinterments.
We invite proposals for 15-minute presentations offering textual readings of
Shakespearian bodies, including but not only Richard, either in the
Shakespearian text, or in modern or contemporary production and
performance. Topics might include the following:
· ‘The body is with the king, but the king is not with the body’:
where do we find, or look for, the Shakespearian dead body?
·‘Look on her. Look, her lips’: the Shakespearian dead body as
‘sight’ or image; its embodiment in or by performance, and/or in other
·‘O gentlemen, see, see! Dead Henry’s wounds Ope their congealed
mouths and bleed afresh!’ What is at stake in the physical confrontation
of the dead with the living?
· What does the Shakespearian dead body lose, or gain, in translation or
·How have particular productions or performances used the Shakespearian
dead body to ask questions about the ‘world’ outside the play?
·What motivates contemporary artists, directors, translators and academics
to contribute to these re-incarnations?
·How is the Shakespearian dead body given value in non-cultural
institutions (the State, science, the press)?
Inter- or multi-disciplinary perspectives are welcome. Proposals featuring
abstracts of up to 250 words in English and a short biographical
description should be sent in word format (doc. or .docx) to both
organizers by January 5 2015.
Please put ‘Over His Dead Body proposal’ in the subject line of your
Nicole Fayard, University of Leicester: firstname.lastname@example.org
Erica Sheen, University of York: email@example.com
Greetings! While you’re eagerly awaiting BritGrad 2015, we will periodically alert you to relevant conferences and calls for papers. Let’s begin with The Halved Heart: Shakespeare & Friendship (with the looming submissions deadline of December 12):
For men and women in Shakespeare’s England, friendship was a relation that
spanned the exquisite virtue of amicitia perfecta and the everyday exchanges
of neighbourliness and commerce. A friend might be ‘another self’, but it was
essential to be wary of false friends or flatterers. The complex nature of early
modern friendship was a rich source of inspiration for early modern dramatists.
Globe Education at Shakespeare’s Globe is pleased to announce our spring
conference, The Halved Heart: Shakespeare and Friendship (Friday 17
– Sunday 19 April 2015), and we invite proposals for papers and panels.
Speakers may address the Renaissance fascination with the ethical demands
of idealised friendship, or the pragmatic reality of instrumental alliances,
as explored on stage. Papers might consider the theatre as a site of social
promiscuity, where spectators could be instructed in the arts (and hazards) of
friendship even as such relationships were enacted in the auditorium. Or they
might examine the overlap between friendship and eroticism, and the points of
conflict between friendship and other forms of social alliance such as marriage,
or the relationship between monarch and subject.
The conference will conclude on Sunday 19 April with a staged reading by a
company of Globe actors of The Faithful Friends (Anon., King’s Men, c.1614).
Proposals of no more than 300 words for papers (or panels of up to three
papers) may be submitted to Dr Will Tosh on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The deadline for submissions is Friday 12 December 2014.
The conference is for scholars and students but is open to all members of the
public who are interested in debates about early modern theatre and friendship.
When bookings open, visit the Globe’s website to purchase tickets. Who doesn’t want to learn about friendship? Just don’t go down the dark route taken by Valentine and Proteus in The Two Gentlemen of Verona.
With apologies for the obvious lateness of this information, here is the programme for this year’s 16th British Graduate Shakespeare Conference: BritGrad schedule 2014
It will also be in your delegate packs, with abstracts for each paper, to help you to decide how best to plan your schedule. Panels are taking place simultaneously in the Hall, the Reading Room, and the Annexe, but all plenary sessions will be in the Hall with no competition, allowing you to enjoy them unadulterated.
We kick off with David and Hilary Crystal at 9:25 tomorrow morning. BE THERE.
In an act of potential hubris, I’m going to try to offer a summary of each day’s event with a daily blog from the conference. If that doesn’t happen, I’m sorry – but in that case there will be a full write-up at the end. Enjoy your BritGrad!
With just a week left until the initial meet-and-greet, we’re delighted to announce the final pair of speakers for BritGrad 2014. On Saturday June 7th, 10:45-11:45, we will be welcoming Anna Marsland and David Rintoul to discuss The RSC’s Roaring Girls season, in a question-and-answer session chaired by Hannah Hickman and Charlotte Horobin. Hopefully you already have a number of burning questions for these two major players in a programme of productions showing examples of Jacobean drama which put complex, interesting female characters centre-stage – a return to the original remit of the Swan Theatre, to explore the wider Renaissance repertoire – but if you’d like some pointers about our speakers, the following will clue you in…
Anna Marsland is Assistant Director for The RoaringGirl, currently playing at the RSC, and The White Devil, which premieres on 30th July as part of The RoaringGirls Season. She graduated with an MFA in Theatre Directing from Birkbeck College, and was a Resident Trainee Director at the Royal Exchange in Manchester. She was also a finalist for the 2013 JMK Award for Young Directors. Her work as a director includes Twelfth Night at the Victoria Baths, Manchester and What the Butler Saw and Two, both at the ADC Theatre. As an Assistant Director, she has worked on Hope Light and Nowhere at the Underbelly, A Christmas Carol at the Young Vic, Miss Julie at the Royal Exchange Theatre, and Othello at The Rose Theatre, Bankside. Elsewhere in the Renaissance, Anna has also done text work for The Malcontent at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, and for Henry VI Parts 1, 2, & 3 at Shakespeare’s Globe.
David Rintoul is currently playing Sir Alex Wengrave in The RoaringGirl, and Monticelso in The White Devil as part of The RoaringGirls Season. He will later be part of the company for The Witch of Edmonton alongside Eileen Atkins. David studied at Edinburgh University and trained at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and has since worked extensively on stage and screen, with a career taking in productions at The National Theatre and the Theatre Royal, Bath, not to mention Dirty Dancing. His previous RSC appearances include, among others, The Taming of the Shrew (also staring Lisa Dillon), Henry IV Parts 1 & 2, and Edward III. In television he was notably Doctor Finlay in the television series of the same name, and in 1980 played the role of Mr Darcy in the BBC television adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.
Anna and David complete this year’s BritGrad programme – we hope you’re as excited to meet them as we are, and as we are to meet you. By now you should have received an email about abstracts and hats – keep your eyes peeled on this very blog (peeled to? peeled at?) for further information to follow.
Delegates to BritGrad 2014 are welcome to make use of the Institute’s parking facilities, but since the discovery two years ago of the body of King Richard III under a Leicester car-park, I’m personally hesitant about leaving my car anywhere in case a controversial historical personage reimagined by Shakespeare is waiting underneath my wheels. Are we going to find Macbeth in an underpass in Leith? Sir John Oldcastle in the coach park of a craft-brewery visitors’ centre? Or Hamlet in the nearest lay-by to a Jutland peat bog?
Our eight plenary speaker may not be able to confirm or deny these speculations, but he is well-positioned to discuss the archaelogical excavation which actually happened. We are honoured to be hosting Richard Buckley, Director of University of Leicester Archaeological Services and leader of the team of experts who uncovered Richard III’s remains in 2012, as a plenary speaker at BritGrad 2014. Richard’s plenary talk, entitled ‘Richard III Dig’, will take place in the Shakespeare Institute Hall on 5 June, Thursday, at 15.30.
Richard Buckley has worked on major archaeological projects, such as the investigation of Leicester Castle Hall and John of Gaunt’s Cellar (1986), the Shires excavation (1988-89) and the Causeway Lane excavation (1991), and has also authored a number of books on the subject, such as Leicester Town Defences (with J. Lucas, 1987), Leicester Castle Hall (with N.W. Alcock, 1987) Roman and Medieval Occupation in Causeway Lane, Leicester (with A. Connor 1999). In 2014 he was honoured by ULAS as the Archaeologist of the Year.
The discovery of Richard III’s remains incited renewed interest in the last Plantagenet King, not to mention a fresh contention between the noble houses of York and Leicester over where the bones should be reinterred. The physical facts of the skeleton with its visible scoliosis have also led to a reconsideration of Shakespeare’s most charismatic villain in light of the much-discussed ‘Tudor myth’. Richard Buckley’s plenary session will offer an insight into the excitement, anxiety, intellectual thrill and sense of history being remade which accompanied one the most famous archaeological quests in recent English history.
The plenaries I’m announcing today are two men who give collaboration a good name, and are occasionally asked to discuss it in the Brazilian national press. They will be giving a collaborative talk about Shakespeare’s collaborative plays, and you’d be singularly foolish to miss it.
Sharp by name as well as by nature, Dr Will Sharpe is a Visiting Lecturer at the Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham. He is currently editing the New Oxford Shakespeare editions of Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing and Henry VIII. He contributed reviews to AYear of Shakespeare, a book-length compendium covering all of the plays performed as part of the World Shakespeare Festival in 2012. He has also taught at the University of Warwick and Nottingham Trent University, and completed postdoctoral work on the Cambridge edition of TheComplete Works of Ben Jonson at the University of Leeds. Will is a Chief Associate Editor of the RSC Shakespeare individual volumes series, for which he co-edited Cymbeline with Jonathan Bate, and one of the General Editors of Digital Renaissance Editions. He is also a founder member of a charity in memory of Dr Lizz Ketterer, the Lizz Ketterer Trust, which provides a scholarship offering a student from the Shakespeare at Winedale programme of the University of Texas—Lizz’s home state—the chance to follow in her footsteps and attend the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Summer School, held at the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon. Money is raised for the Trust by Ketterer’s Men, a theatre company for which Will is an enthusiastic actor and director.
Dr Peter Kirwan will be joining Will at BritGrad for a discussion of their contributions to the recent publication, William Shakespeare and Others: Collaborative Plays. Kirwan is Lecturer in Shakespeare and Early Modern Drama in the School of English at Nottingham University. His publications include articles on Shakespearean authorship, book history, performance history and new writing based on Shakespeare, and he is currently working on a monograph entitled Shakespeare and the Idea of Apocrypha and an essay collection, Shakespeare and the Digital World (Cambridge, 2014), co-edited with Dr. Christie Carson (Royal Holloway), reflecting on the effects of the digital revolution on Shakespeare Studies. Since 2013, he has been collaborating with the British Library and Dr Jo Robinson (Nottingham) on a collaborative doctoral award entitled ‘Provincial Shakespeare Performance’, culminating in an exhibition in 2016 at the British Library. He also runs a blog, The Bardathon, dedicated to reviews of Early Modern Drama within the UK.
Today on the blog it’s my honour to hand over to Charles Morton to introduce our fourth plenary speaker. BritGrad’s illustrious co-chair describes his former tutor, besides his remarkable academic achievements, as ‘one of the nicest people you are ever likely to meet’.
Professor Tony Howard has been at the forefront of much groundbreaking work on Shakespeare. As a mainstay of his alma mater, the University of Warwick, since its foundation, he has been a key factor in it becoming one of the leading English departments in the country. He also holds an MA from the University of Toronto. Howard’s work has often shone a much-needed and important light on neglected areas of Shakespeare studies, such as his 2007 work Women as Hamlet: Performance and Interpretation in Theatre, Film and Fiction (Cambridge) which includes studies of the shifting relationship of Shakespeare, culture and gender in many societies and ideological situations – from nineteenth-century Britain, America and France to Weimar Germany, Stalinist Russia, and Eastern Europe during the fall of Communism.
Last summer, he conducted a series of lectures at Shakespeare’s Globe on the South Bank offering a wonderful insight into the cinematic histories of some of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. He has translated many major works of Polish drama and poetry by writers such as Tadeusz Rozewicz, Maria Pawlikowska and Ewa Lipska.
His collaboration with playwright Howard Brenton on A Short Sharp Shock (Royal Court/Stratford East) provided a prescient insight into the politics of Britain in the 1980s. His other theatre work, the drama-documentary ‘I Have Done the State Some Service': Robeson, Othello and the FBI links to his current work as Principal Investigator for Multicultural Shakespeare, a major AHRC-funded project to record the contribution of Black and Asian artists to the development of Shakespearean performance in the UK and it is this project that he will be addressing at this year’s BritGrad conference. Sign up now for your chance to see this important work in progress.