As we storm through January, it’s time to look forward to BritGrad 2017. This year’s committee have been working away behind the scenes to set everything in motion, so we thought it’s time for a round of introductions. At the Shakespeare Institute, we appreciate that you can tell a lot about a person from what they like about Shakespeare. So we tasked our wonderful committee to tell us their favourite Shakespeare play and why they are looking forward to BritGrad…
Co-chairs: Elizabeth Jeffery and Karen Harker
This is our co-chair Elizabeth’s second time serving on the committee, so what’s her favourite thing about BritGrad?
One of the great things I love about BritGrad is that the conference brings a lot of academics together from very different backgrounds. It’s a great opportunity to have some very stimulating conversations and the energy brought by all the participants is electric. I can’t wait share that experience again.
And the tough question: what is her favourite Shakespeare play?
Much Ado About Nothing is my favourite. It cracks me up every time, no matter how many times I see it.
Karen is currently a PhD student here at the Institute, after completing her MA in 2015. She told us about her favourite Shakespeare play:
My favorite play is King Lear, although Twelfth Night comes as a close second. King Lear is complex, both textually and in regards to its performativity. The questions of which text to use, how to stage particular scenes, and the characterization of the Fool mean that performances across history are varied, and even in modern contexts, generate interesting and often heated debate. A myriad of adaptations have reinterpreted and appropriated the text and characters in extremely interesting and thought-provoking ways. On a personal level, I have always loved the character of Kent, who gives my favorite quote from all of Shakespeare in the first act: “See better.”
Secretary: Corinne Furness
Corinne is a PhD student at the Institute and the Royal Shakespeare Company. She told us why As You Like It is her favourite Shakespeare play:
I’m a nightmare list maker when it comes to favourite plays (I want to choose one from each category!) but if forced to choose on pain of death I would say As You Like It, because the ability to write joy is massively underrated. As You is a world where the characters revel in joy (with the notable exception of Jacques who, of course, revels in sadness) and maybe in 2017 a dose of a world of joy and possibility is exactly what we need!
Co-registrars: Martin Higgins and Philippa Vandome
After a BA in English Literature and Philosophy, Martin is currently undertaking an MA in Shakespeare Studies. We asked him what he is looking forward to about this year’s BritGrad and, of course, his favourite Shakespeare play…
BritGrad will be my first academic conference as a postgraduate, so I’m really looking forward to participating. My favourite Shakespeare play is Coriolanus because I think it’s the most dramatically effective Roman play and a very provocative tragedy.
Philippa is studying for an MA in Shakespeare and Theatre, but what’s her favourite Shakespeare play?
If had to choose I think I would go for Much Ado About Nothing, because I simply love Beatrice and wish I was her!
Treasurer: Kelsey Ridge
Kelsey Ridge is currently working towards her Ph.D. at the Shakespeare Institute. We asked Kelsey for her favourite Shakespeare play:
While there’s nothing quite like Macbeth, my favourite Shakespeare play is Cymbeline, because for me it’s kind of like a ‘Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits’ album.
Co-Publicity: Sarah Swaine and Beth Sharrock
Sarah is studying Shakespeare Studies MA here at the Institute. We also gave her the tough decision of choosing a favourite Shakespeare play…
There are so many, I can’t pick a favourite. I’m going to have to be diplomatic and choose a Marlowe instead, Dr Faustus!
Beth also studies Shakespeare Studies. Her favourite Shakespeare play? And what is she looking forward to about this year’s BritGrad conference?
I can never quite decide but I keep coming back to write about Titus Andronicus. I’m really interested in the effect of spectacle and in embodiment, and I think Titus speaks for itself on those two counts. This is my first BritGrad conference and I’m very excited to talk with attendants and find out what is occupying everyone’s attention around Shakespeare at the moment.
It/Tech: Jennifer Waghorn
This is Jennifer’s third time on the BritGrad committee, which she has managed to fit around a PhD at the Shakespeare Institute. Jen told us about her favourite Shakespeare play:
My favourite play, for this week at least, is The Tempest. I’ve gradually come to love it over the past few months: because the backstory and resolution are so rich, because the structure works so well, because the possibilities for setting and for relationships for the main four characters are endless, because Shakespeare does something thoroughly unprecedented and very exciting with theatre music, and because of Ariel. And the best thing about BritGrad is an overwhelming sense of being welcomed into an academic community, by your peers and by the plenaries who are willing to share their time and experience with you. It’s a great confidence boost if you’re an emerging academic
Party Planner and Catering: Andrea Moon
Andrea is currently studying an MA in Shakespeare and Education. We asked Andrea for her favourite Shakespeare play:
My favourite play is Hamlet. I love the intensity of the scenes, the hectic creativity of Hamlet, actions and words, and then the performative possibilities and how the play always carries humorous charm despite being a tragedy. Its a kaleidoscope of emotions when you watch it.
If you’d like to know about the research interests and academic track records of this year’s BritGrad committee, you can read more here.