Meet our new committee!

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 

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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.

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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

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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

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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. 

 

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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 

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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

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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!

 

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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

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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

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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.

 

 

Post-Conference Wrap Up

Thank you all for attending BritGrad 2016! What an amazing three days full of stimulating conversations, inspiring perspectives, and new connections (and, we hope, friendships). We heard papers on nicknames, philosophy, translation, adaptation, Star Wars, rhetoric and linguistics, Dekker, Jonson, gesture, queer theory, theatre practice, stage design, witches, and a great deal more. The caliber of both the papers presented and the questions asked in each panel were really excellent – we hope you enjoyed them as much as we did!

In case you weren’t able to join us, we’ve made a Storify story with a selection of the live-tweets from the conference. If that’s not enough for you (it wasn’t nearly enough for us) and you want a taste of the whole event, head over to our Twitter page, where you’ll be able to see more on student panels and plenary lectures. You can also find photo albums of each day of the conference (plus the party!) on our Facebook page.

Before you get too involved with tweets and photos, here’s a small sampling of #britgrad2016 by the numbers:

Innumerable tweets posted using the conference hashtag

33 Photos tweeted using the conference hashtag

24 Student panels

18 Photos taken by a BritGrad committee member of attendees enjoying our roving selfie booth

12 Carafes each of coffee and tea (which we think shows admirable restraint)

10 Boxes of macaroons for dessert on Day 1

8 Plenary speakers

4 Travel bursaries awarded by the Lizz Ketterer Trust

2 Video presentations

And your 10 committee members are pleased to announce that they’re almost 100% recovered.

Again, thanks for helping to make the Eighteenth BritGrad conference a smashing success – here’s to #britgrad2017!

Welcome to #britgrad2016!

The week we’ve all been waiting for is finally here, and we are very much looking forward to meeting each and every one of you!

With that in mind, the official British Graduate Shakespeare Conference Committee would like to cordially invite you for an informal welcome drink at our local hostelry, The Dirty Duck. From 6pm on Wednesday 1st June we have reserved a small seated area of the pub, on the right-hand side as you enter. We hope that as many of you as possible can make it!

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The Duck, as it is called by most locals, can be found on Waterside, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6BA, just along from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. It is within walking distance of most accommodation, and hosts a variety of affordable food and drink options to suit most tastes. Not only is it one of our favourite locals, but it’s also the hangout for many an RSC actor – keep your eyes peeled for Hamlet!

Just in case you need a hand getting there, here’s a map:

Hamlet @ The Royal Shakespeare Theatre

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This year we have the pleasure of offering tickets to see Hamlet at the RSC. When booked with registration tickets are the special price of just £16 – we have a very limited number left, so don’t miss out!

Any Shakespeare fan will know Hamlet, but this production brings you the play like you’ve never seen it before. It’s bright, it’s fast, it’s young, and it’s performed by one of the strongest ensembles the RSC has seen in a long time. We won’t ruin it for you, but it’s safe to say we loved it and we hope you will too!

Find out more about Hamlet from the RSC, or watch the feature trailer  here.

Travel Bursary Applications Now Open

Good morning!

We’ve added a new page to the blog this morning, in the drop-down menu below “Funding Resources.” You’ll find information on the four competitive travel bursaries being offered to delegates this year, through the generous support of the Lizz Ketterer Trust, as well as the downloadable application (available both as a PDF and Word document).

Applications are due 19 May and are open to all full- or part-time students who have been selected to present a paper at this year’s conference. Other application requirements and details are listed on the new page. Applications may be submitted by email or post.

In the meantime, remember that early-bird registration for auditors also ends on 19 May. You’re welcome to register after that, however late fees will apply. Submit a registration form today – BritGrad 2016 is shaping up to be a great conference and we’d love to see you there.

~ The BritGrad Committee

Plenary Profiles: Stephen Purcell

Ready for the eighth in our series of Plenary Profiles? Meet Stephen Purcell: an academic and artistic director who specialises in Shakespeare in performance.

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Stephen Purcell is Associate Professor of English at the University of Warwick. His publications include Popular Shakespeare, the Shakespeare Handbooks volume on Webster’s The White Devil, and Shakespeare and Audience in Practice. His research focuses on Shakespeare and his contemporaries in modern performance and popular culture. He directs for the theatre company The Pantaloons.

Check back soon to find out more about our plenary speakers for BritGrad 2016!

Abstract Reminder & Other Updates!

It’s hard to believe that we’re almost to the end of March! A few BritGrad updates for you, as we get closer to the conference date.

First, and most importantly, there are only five days (!!) until the abstract submission deadline! Submit your 200-word abstract by 23:59 GMT on 21 March for consideration at BritGrad 2016. We will consider abstracts for papers twenty minutes in length on subjects relating to Shakespeare, Early Modern, and/or Renaissance Studies. More creative forms of criticism, such as original writing or performance, may also be submitted, also requiring a 200-word abstract.

Second, we’ve implemented a change this year, in that registration and abstract submission are now separateThis means that registration for both delegates with accepted abstracts and auditors (those not speaking at the conference) will open after the 21 March abstract deadline has passed. Don’t worry, we’ll send plenty of emails and post to all our social media accounts once registration has opened.

Third, we’re pleased to announce that BritGrad has partnered with the Lizz Ketterer Trust to provide a select number of competitive travel bursaries, for which a formal application will be released soon. Four bursaries will be available, one for a student traveling from outside the EU, one for a student traveling inside the EU, and two for students traveling within the UK. The application is not available just yet, but, again, we will make an announcement when it is. Because the bursaries won’t be disbursed before the abstract deadline, we strongly advise that you submit an abstract now so that you don’t miss out on what is shaping up to be a fantastic conference!

Remember that there are other funding resources available for students (for this and other conferences), some of which you can see on our funding page.

As always, feel free to contact us with any questions — we’re happy to help!

~ The BritGrad Committee

Plenary Profiles: Erica Whyman OBE

Here’s the third in our series of Plenary Profiles. Meet Erica Whyman: award-winning director, champion of The Other Place, and Deputy Artistic Director of the RSC!

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Erica is a theatre director with many years’ experience, and became Deputy Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company in January 2013. Working closely with Gregory Doran on all aspects of artistic strategy, she takes the lead on the development of new work, and the planned re-opening of the RSC’s studio theatre and laboratory space, The Other Place.

Erica was Chief Executive of Northern Stage from 2005 to 2012. She oversaw the opening of a new building, introduced a collaborative organisational culture and attracted local and national acclaim for the company’s repertoire of work. In 2012 she won the TMA Award for Theatre Manager of the Year.

She was Associate Producer at the Tricycle Theatre and Associate Director at ETT, and then became Artistic Director of Southwark Playhouse (1998-2000) and of The Gate Theatre, Notting Hill (2000-2004). She chairs the Board of Theatre503 and is a trustee of RTYDS.

One of the first fellows of the Clore Leadership Programme, Erica speaks regularly on artists in leadership roles. In 2012 she was awarded an OBE for services to Theatre in the UK.

Erica is currently directing A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the RSC and preparing for Dream to tour across the UK, utilizing amateur acting troupes as the Rude Mechanicals in each performance. Check out the trailer below!

Check back soon to find out more about our plenary speakers for BritGrad 2016!

CFP: Indian Shakespeares on Screen

We’re in the process of electing the new BritGrad committee, but while you’re waiting, why not apply to another conference co-organised by a former BritGrad committee member? Call for Papers below.

Indian Shakespeares on Screen

27-30 April 2016

An interdisciplinary symposium at Asia House, London – 27-29 April

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Screenings with Q&A: Vishal Bhardwaj’s trilogy Maqbool, Omkara, Haider

in collaboration with the British Film Institute, London – 29&30 April

Keynote Panel: Scriptwriters in discussion

Abbas Tyrewala (Maqbool, 2004)

Robin Bhatt and Abhishek Chaubey (Omkara, 2006)

Basharat Peer (Haider, 2014)

Indian Shakespeares on stage have garnered the increasing attention of academics both Western and Eastern, yet local and regional screen versions continue to be largely overlooked within the scope of Shakespeare on film. It has been a decade since the publication of India’s Shakespeare: Translation, Interpretation and Performance (2005), where Poonam Trivedi observes that despite the seven hundred million speakers of different Indian languages worldwide, Shakespeare’s impact on the theatre and films in these languages has yet to be accorded the critical attention it merits.

In 2014, we hosted a one-day conference in London to discuss the relationship between Shakespeare and Hindi cinema/ Bollywood, the world’s largest cinema industry. In 2016, we seek to widen this discussion to include the relationship between Shakespeare and Indian cinema, bringing together researchers and practitioners to establish the state of current scholarship in this vibrant, underexamined field.

We invite proposals for 20 minute papers (and panels), posters and creative approaches, from scholars of all disciplines including film studies, postcolonial studies, Shakespeare studies and translation studies. These could be on any aspect of Shakespeare and Indian cinema, especially regional cinemas and overlooked aspects of Shakespeare in Bollywood.

Topics could include:

  • prehistories
  • Indian film translations/adaptations/appropriations of Shakespeare’s works
  • practitioners’/directors’/writers’/others’ experiences
  • intertextual adaptations/intermedial crossovers
  • Shakespeare in Indian film festivals
  • documentaries on any aspect of Shakespeare in India/Indian Shakespeares
  • screenplays
  • economics global and local
  • comparisons of Shakespeare in Indian cinema to Shakespearean adaptations in other countries
  • Shakespeare in Indian cinema and regional audience reception
  • Shakespeare and parallel cinema
  • beyond Parsi theatre: Indian Shakespeare cinema and other indigenous performance traditions
  • Shakespeare and South-Asian diaspora films
  • challenges of researching Shakespeare and Indian cinema
  • challenges to and importance of building an archive
  • Shakespeare and socio-political campaigns in Indian cinema
  • gendering Shakespeare in Indian cinema
  • artwork and promotional material: posters, flybills, film trailers, coffee table books, music releases

Abstracts of 300 words and/or panel proposals (plus a 50 word bio) should be sent to shakespeareandbollywood@gmail.com by 25 November 2015.

Responses will be made by 20 December 2015. 

*Deadline now extended to 15 December 2015.*

Organised by:

Thea Buckley, Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham

Koel Chatterjee, Royal Holloway, University of London

Dr Varsha Panjwani, Boston University (London) and University of York

Dr Preti Taneja, University of Warwick and Queen Mary, University of London

Academic Advisor:

Dr Deana Rankin, Royal Holloway, University of Londoncfpcfp