She is currently preparing her first book, Shakespeare’s Playhouses: Repertory and Theatre Space at the Globe and the Blackfriars, 1599-1613 for publication. Before joining the University of Kent, Sarah has been a Globe Education Lecturer, Lecturer in Early Modern English at King’s and associate lecturer at the Central School of Speech and Drama; she has taught short courses on Shakespeare and performance in India and Germany.
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 separate. This 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!
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!
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!
It’s been difficult keeping this quiet, but today we finally get to share the big news with you! Below is the official list of plenary speakers for BritGrad 2016. We’re thrilled to be able to offer nine amazing plenaries (including some BritGrad alums!) at this year’s conference, providing a broad range of interests and perspectives.
This year’s speakers include:
Martin Killeen (University of Birmingham)
John Jowett (The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham)
Here’s the next in our series of Plenary Profiles. Meet John Jowett, a leading scholar in the field of textual studies and familiar face at the Shakespeare Institute!
John Jowett is Professor of Shakespeare Studies and Deputy Director of the Shakespeare Institute. He is an Associate Editor of the Oxford Shakespeare (1986; rev. 2005) and has edited Richard III (2000) and Timon of Athens (2008) for the Oxford Shakespeare series; and Sir Thomas More (2011) for Arden. He is an Associate General Editor of the Oxford Thomas Middleton (2007) and its companion, Early Modern Textual Culture (2007), and is the author of Shakespeare and Text (2007), and [with Gary Taylor] Shakespeare Reshaped: 1606-1623 (1993). He is a General Editor of the Arden Early Modern Drama series, and of the New Oxford Shakespeare (2016).
Check out this interview with Prof. Jowett on textual editing, ‘Sir Thomas More,’ and Shakespeare as a writer.
Check back soon to find out more about our plenary speakers for BritGrad 2016!
Over the coming weeks, we’ll be introducing our fabulous lineup of plenary speakers for BritGrad 2016 in a series of short profiles. Here is the first: meet Martin Killeen, Rare Books Librarian at the Cadbury Research Library!
Martin Killeen is a qualified librarian with a Degree in Philosophy and English Literature and an MA in Shakespeare Studies. Martin’s professional career started in the Main Library of the University of Birmingham, where he managed public service departments including the Language, Literature and History Reading Room; in 1996 he joined Special Collections where he is now Rare Books Librarian at the Cadbury Research Library. A major part of Martin’s role involves exploiting the rich resources of the repository (printed books, archives and manuscripts) to support teaching, learning and research across all the disciplines within the University and beyond; this includes delivering talks and presentations, leading seminars with original materials and publishing papers based on the Library’s holdings (eg, Charles Dickens, A W Pugin, John Baskerville, John Drinkwater and Birmingham in WW1).
Check back soon to find out more about our plenary speakers for BritGrad 2016!
While we normally post CfPs from all sorts of other universities and conferences, today the BritGrad committee is excited to announce a very special CfP — our own!
We’ve updated our Call for Papers page with the 2016 information (including a downloadable pdf), but you can also find the link right here.
One new thing to note this year: we’ve separated the registration and abstract submission processes, which means that those who wish to present at BritGrad should first submit a 200-word abstract and then register once we’ve gotten back to you. This is for two reasons: one, we’re thrilled (and quite flattered) that BritGrad has grown so popular over the last few years and that so many people want to submit abstracts! But this leads to point number two, which is that we have a limited amount of space and time slots for our conference in which to fit all those many people who want to submit abstracts. However this will give all potential speakers some great experience for any other, future academic conferences to which they will undoubtedly apply. If you have any questions, please get in touch — we’re happy to chat.
Hopefully you’re all as excited as we are for BritGrad 2016.
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
Screenings with Q&A: Vishal Bhardwaj’s trilogy Maqbool, Omkara, Haider
in collaboration with the British Film Institute, London –29&30April
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:
Indian film translations/adaptations/appropriations of Shakespeare’s works
The final day of BritGrad began with a panel on tyranny. Nicole Mennell (University of Sussex) gave her paper “‘So barbarous and so beastly’: Animal Imagery, Tyranny and Dehumanisation in Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Titus Andronicus“. She spoke about characters transforming into literal and metaphorical animals. Tyrants are bestial in their cruelty, but because they possess rationality, they are even worse than beasts. Hunters also become predatory creatures in pursuit of prey. Human victims, as well, can metamorphose, such as Titus‘s Lavinia, who is compared to a doe and suffers several mutilations.
Polly Jeanetta Brown (The Shakespeare Institute) questioned whether Prospero of The Tempest and Dumbledore in Harry Potter were trusted tyrants. The answer was a resounding yes. The “benevolent” Dumbledore fits Plato’s “philosopher king” ideal, a tyrant for the greater good. He also uses cunning to keep the peace in a way that would make Machiavelli proud. Prospero can be seen as a Nietzschean figure, a “good man” who alters others to become more like him.
After that discussion of disturbing violence and sinister old men, Marie Ryan, Molly Lambert, and Octavia Finch (all from The Shakespeare Institute) talked about adapting Shakespeare for their Creative Practice course. They discussed their process of selecting plays and conflating characters. The group delegated writing but edited the piece as an ensemble for consistency. Lambert mentioned the struggles with creating effective but washable fake blood. Then the three performed ten minutes of their hour-length play, about a theatre company performing Much Ado About Nothing but living Othello behind the scenes.
Ronan Hatfull (University of Warwick) also presented “‘This Blasted Heath’: A Critical-Creative Exploration of William Shakespeare, Samuel Beckett and Cormac McCarthy Through Dystopia”. He showed a video and shared poetry as well as sections from his and his fellow students’ post-apocalyptic play, which drew from Shakespeare, Samuel Beckett, and Cormac McCarthy.
Our final plenary talk featured both Laurie Maguire and Felix Budelman with Oxford University: “Audience Responses toAmbiguity in Othello,The Winter’s Tale, and Two Greek Tragedies”. They used questionnaires to determine the alertness of audiences to ambiguities in theatre. The two found several kinds of audience reactions. For example, Aeschylus’s Libation Bearers revealed what they called The Oleanna Effect, named after David Mamet’s play. Audiences were split on whether one character in a masked production was faking grief. The scene was ambiguous in a way that provoked disagreements, but audience members generally didn’t perceive that ambiguity, as they were convinced they were right.
Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale revealed The Janus Effect, in which the audience appeared to perceive ambiguity regarding whether Leontes had reason to be jealous based on his wife’s behavior. Half of the audience was convinced one way or the other, while the other half genuinely didn’t know or selected multiple answers. Othello involved The Octopus Effect. Rather than focusing on one motive for Iago’s manipulations, members selected multiple compatible statements.
The last panel I attended on the last day was a blessedly lighthearted session on clowns. Rebecca Agar (University of Ulster) started by examining “The Use of ‘Low Comedy’ in The Famous Victories of Henry the Fifth“. This play, written around 1587, contained popular characters which were not featured in its historical sources. Agar wanted to look beyond the comic relief of the lower class characters to see the potential social commentary in the play’s humor.
Kim Gilchrist’s (Roehampton University) “‘How mad a sight it was to see Dametas’: The Arcadia, Tarlton, and Sidney’s escaping clown” analysed Philip Sidney’s views of clowning as found in the Arcadia. Gilchrist also looked at physical irregularity in clowns as well as Arcadia‘s influence on the play Mucedorus, noting the similarities between the latter’s clown Mouse and the character Dametas. Gilchrist determined that Sidney’s anti-clown views and the interaction between popular and more elitist texts were far more complex than has been accepted.
Finally, Charles Morton (The Shakespeare Institute) concluded the panel with “Your all-licensed fool”: Will Sommers, Robert Armin, and King Lear’s Fool”. He drew connections between Henry VIII’s beloved jester Will Sommers and the Fool in King Lear. Robert Armin, for whom the Fool’s role was likely written, wrote a book “Fool upon Fool”, which included a section on Sommers. Morton also regaled us with obscure and hilarious jokes told by Sommers, the most successful of which (then and now) was a fart joke.
The day was almost done. Richard O’Brien gave the closing remarks and presented two Liz Ketterer Memorial Awards for the best abstracts. First place went to Harry Ford (University of Exeter) for his “‘Set down your venerable burden’: piggybacking in Shakespeare’s As You Like It and the medieval outlaw tradition”, and 2nd went to Sam Meekings (Lancaster University) and his “Views from the Beargarden”. After a hearty round of applause for our hardworking BritGrad Chair, we relaxed and chatted in the Institute garden for the closing reception, which involved eating and drinking delicious refreshments.
BritGrad 2015 was filled with funny and fascinating talks from seasoned speakers and students alike. For some, this was their first conference. The papers were uniformly engaging but touched on a wide variety of early modern subjects: gender and sexuality, metre and poetry, playhouse culture–the list goes on.
A big thank you to the BritGrad 2015 committee for working so hard to put this together, to the stunning plenaries who shared with us their remarkable expertise, and to the students, the very reason for this conference’s existence. Until next year! May there be many more BritGrads.