Plenary Profiles: Paul Prescott and Paul Edmondson

We are pleased to introduce another dynamic duo: Dr Paul Prescott, Associate Professor at the University of Warwick, and Dr Paul Edmondson, Head of Research and Knowledge at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

Dr Prescott received his MA and PhD from the Shakespeare Institute. He is a Trustee of the British Shakespeare Association and the Associate Director of the postgraduate program Global Shakespeare. He has taught and acted across the globe, and, in 2010, Warwick awarded him a Commendation for Teaching Excellence. Prescott has edited for the Shakespeare Bulletin and Internet Shakespeare Editions, served as Academic Associate on Teaching Shakespeare: Online Professional Development, and co-organised ‘Acting Against the Grain: Non-Traditional Shakespeare’ in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Prescott has written numerous reviews, essays, and books, including Reviewing Shakespeare: Journalism and Performance from the Eighteenth Century to the Present (Cambridge, 2013). He and plenaries Erin Sullivan and Paul Edmondson spearheaded A Year of Shakespeare: Reliving the World Shakespeare Festival (Bloomsbury, 2013), and he wrote a chapter for the forthcoming Shakespeare on the Global Stage: Performance and Festivity in the Olympic Year (Bloomsbury/Arden, 2015), which he also edited with Sullivan.

Dr Edmondson earned his MA and PhD at the University of Birmingham and is currently an Honorary Fellow at both the Shakespeare Institute and the Society for Teachers of Speech and Drama. He co-edits Penguin Shakespeare and Palgrave Macmillan’s Shakespeare Handbooks. On top of directing the Stratford-upon-Avon Poetry Festival, Edmondson is Chair of the Hosking Houses Trust, a Trustee of the Rose Theatre Trust, and an Associate Minister in the Church of England. He has given lectures on Shakespeare around the world.

Edmondson has written on a variety of topics, such as Christopher Marlowe and the Brontës. His books on Shakespeare include Shakespeare Beyond Doubt: Evidence, Argument, Controversy (edited with Stanley Wells, Cambridge, 2013), Twelfth Night: A Guide to the Text and Its Theatrical Life (Palgrave, 2005), and Shakespeare’s Sonnets (with Wells, Oxford, 2004). Shakespeare (Profile Books, 2015), The Shakespeare Circle: An Alternative Biography (Cambridge University Press, 2016), and several poetic commissions are forthcoming.

Paul and Paul will be discussing their epic project Shakespeare on the Road. They celebrated Shakespeare’s 450th birthday by visiting more than a dozen Shakespeare festivals across the United States and Canada.


Plenary Profiles: Chris Laoutaris

Get to know the fantastic plenaries of BritGrad 2015! Dr Chris Laoutaris, a lecturer and Birmingham Fellow at the Shakespeare Institute, will be featured as the first in a series of brief speaker profiles.

Laoutaris received his undergraduate, master’s, and doctorate from University College London, where he taught and served as Renaissance Literature Course Convenor. He has lectured at Goldsmiths College, University of London, and is currently teaching at the Shakespeare Institute.

He relishes archival adventures and interdisciplinary explorations of early modern literature. His wide range of interests includes poetry (it’s in his blood, having descended from a line of poets), women’s history, translation, and Renaissance studies of anatomy. Other research areas involve early modern superstition and witchcraft, satire, death-ritual, Puritanism, monstrosity, and natural history.

You might have heard of Laoutaris’s book Shakespeare and the Countess: The Battle that Gave Birth to the Globe (Penguin 2014), which has received numerous accolades. The Telegraph and Observer listed it as one of the best books of 2014, and it made the shortlist for the Tony Lothian Prize for Biography. The Countess follows the formidable Elizabeth Russell, a lady who successfully opposed the creation of a Blackfriars playhouse in 1596, forcing William Shakespeare to adapt his writing for the Globe Theatre.

Laoutaris has also written Shakespearean Maternities: Crises of Conception in Early Modern England (Edinburgh University Press 2008) and is now working on the Birmingham Fellowship Project Team Shakespeare: The First Folio and the Men who Created the Shakespeare Legacy.

As expected from someone with such diverse expertise, Dr Laoutaris will speak on the fascinating topic of early modern robotics in Shakespeare and Spencer. Prepare for old-school cyborgs!

Plenary #6 & #7: DOUBLE BILL!

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.


will sharpe collab


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 A Year 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 The Complete 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.

Shakespeare and Education symposium, 3 July

The Shakespeare Institute will hold a free to attend symposium titled ‘Shakespeare in Education: Current Trends and New Directions’, organised exclusively by students of The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham on Wednesday 3rd July 2013.

The symposium is designed for those interested in Shakespeare and education including students, alumni, and any Shakespeare educators, and will be held at the Shakespeare Institute campus over one day from 10am-4pm, bringing together both new and expert researchers at an emerging hub of scholarship in Shakespeare and education. 

Together with disseminating, sharing, and discussing a range of teaching methods and approaches, we have visiting speakers and experts to discuss topics at the forefront of the field, ranging from using digital Shakespeare resources to getting published. 

James Stredder will be running a session on ‘Active Shakespeare in the Cyberage: can collective theatre-making survive in today’s classroom?’ Until very recently James was the Chair of the British Shakespeare Association Education Committee and is still working with them in the field of Shakespeare and education. He has previously taught the Shakespeare and Pedagogy module at the Shakespeare Institute, holds a PhD and MA in Shakespeare studies, and is the esteemed author of the fantastic teaching resource The North Face of Shakespeare. He will be running a dialogue/workshop with you all discussing where current trends in teaching Shakespeare have come from, and the new directions that they are taking now.

Andrew Kennedy is a pioneer in software for education and is the managing director of software company Movie Storm. He is coming to share and develop with the delegates of the conference his new engagement with Shakespeare and educational software, in the hope to gain useful feedback to ensure that the product developed is something that will be of optimum usefulness in educational settings.

Our student-led symposium also aims to build on this knowledge base of current approaches to teaching Shakespeare, by situating it in the latest scholarly conversation through sharing insights gained through the organisers’ wider experience in participating at recent international level Shakespeare conferences. These include most importantly the ‘Worlds Together’ conference on Shakespeare in education in London late last year, sponsored by the Royal Shakespeare Company, and the recent Folger Shakespeare Library educational workshop on ‘Setting Shakespeare Free’ and active approaches at the 2013 Shakespeare Association of America (SAA) conference, Toronto. 

Lunch will be provided for all attending. We are also a short walk from the nearby railway station. There is parking, however it is very limited on site. Wherever possible, delegates are advised to use public transport or seek alternative parking in Stratford.

If you wish to attend please e-mail Laura Nicklin or Thea Buckley at with your name or click attending on the Facebook event. We look forward to seeing you at the event.

Getting to Know Your Plenary Speakers #2

Getting to Know Your Plenary Speakers #2: Martin Wiggins and Catherine Richardson

In the second post in our series, we turn now to Martin Wiggins and Catherine Richardson, who we’re happy to announce will be leading a site-specific drama workshop for all delegates, as part of their ‘Staging Places’ project. Read on for more details:  

‘Most plays were written to be staged in purpose-built theatres and were often capable of easy transfer into different performance spaces.  Our focus, however, is on dramatic works which were designed for performance in specific locations which were at best only semi-theatrical in nature.  We will illustrate some ways in which it can be illuminating to put the surviving text into contact with the surviving buildings (or other performance spaces), and will be inviting participation by younger scholars in a project to study such collocations in a wide range of instances from the drama produced in the British Isles during the period between the English Reformation and the English Revolution.’

Dr Martin Wiggins is Senior Lecturer and Tutor for Research Students at the Shakespeare Institute. He is the author of Journeymen in Murder: The Assassin in English Renaissance Drama (1991), Shakespeare and the Drama of his Time (2000), and Drama and the Transfer of Power in Renaissance England (2012), as well as the ongoing British Drama 1533-1432: A Catalogue (2012- ). He has also edited numerous plays for New Mermaids and Oxford English Drama, including Edward II (1997), Four Jacobean Sex Tragedies (1998), ’Tis Pity She’s A Whore (2003), and A Woman Killed with Kindness and Other Plays (2008).

Dr Catherine Richardson is Reader in Renaissance Studies at the University of Kent. She is the author of Shakespeare and Material Culture (2011) and Domestic Life and Domestic Tragedy (2004), as well as editing Clothing Culture 1350-1550 (2004) and co-editing Everyday Objects: Medieval and Early Modern Objects and its Meanings with Tara Hamling (2010), among others. She and Dr Hamling are also running an AHRC-funded research network on Ways of Seeing the English Domestic Interior, 1500-1700: The Case of Decorative Textiles, as well as co-writing a book, tentatively titled ‘A Day At Home in Early Modern England’.

Coming soon: Jonathan Slinger…

 [photo credit: Great Hall at Hampton Court Palace, copyright Gareth L Evans – on flickr]

CFP: Reanimating Playbooks symposium

It’s shaping up to be a busy spring in Stratford! 

A month before our conference convenes, the Shakespeare Institute will host a one day symposium on editing, Renaissance plays, and performance. Check out the CFP below – the deadline is two weeks today. Info on registration for auditors will be released in just a few weeks, so consider coming for the day even if you don’t wish to present. (We have it on good authority that the symposium convenors expect a day of lively discussion and editorial experimentation.)


Reanimating Playbooks:

Editing for Performance, Performance for Editing.

Symposium: Friday 10 May 2013, Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon-Avon

A one-day symposium to engage in the conversation between performance and text. We wish to provide a space to explore editorial practices on both sides of publication (from preparation to practice) and to explore how we use, compose, and conceptualise critical editions of Renaissance plays. The day will include a plenary panel of editors and theatre practitioners and two practical workshops.

Speakers are invited to submit proposals for 10 minute ‘provocations’ in which a question may be posed, a sticky editorial decision worked through, a long-standing practice interrogated, a new methodology explored, or something else entirely queried, crowd-sourced, considered, contested or created. Suggested topics include but are not limited to:       

–       new solutions to old editorial cruxes

–       problems or triumphs in your own editorial projects

–       experiments with stage directions, punctuation, formatting, annotations

–       desired aims of individual editions, or proposals for a new series style

–       directors/dramaturgs as editors, and vice versa

–       favorite editors of days past

–       the pedagogy of critical editions

We also welcome proposals for 15-20 minute papers or workshops.

A limited number of volunteer actors may be available for workshops; anticipated requests ideally would be included in your proposal.

Please submit 150-word abstracts, along with brief biographical statement to C K Ash at by Friday 15 March. Accepted proposals will be notified 22 March. Please do not hesitate to e-mail her with any questions about the event.

You can download the pdf here: CFP Reanimating Playbooks

Calling all Shutterbugs!

BritGrad 2013 is looking for a photographer. Could it be you? It’s a fantastic chance to get involved in BritGrad, have some fun, and capture the experience for posterity. Last year’s photography by Jon Harvey was really enjoyable and added a lot to the afterlife of the conference and is something we are looking to repeat again this year. Candidates require their own camera but it does not need to be particularly high tech.
In addition the BritGrad registration fee would be waived for the successful applicant.
Please contact for more details if you are interested.

Registration is open!

Friends, postgrads, countrymen…lend us your abstracts!
We come to open BritGrad registration.
The research that men do lives after them,
The best is often entered in their papers,
So let it be with BritGrad.
(What are you waiting for? Get registering now! See the CFP and poster for more details.)

BritGrad 2013 News!

Hello all,

We’re very pleased indeed to announce that BritGrad 2013 will convene June 6-8. Mark your calendars now!

In other news, we have a new committee about to plan another excellent conference, chaired this year by Cathleen McKague. For more info on the core and sub-committees, head over to the About Us section of the site.

[They can be reached, as always, at]

CFPs: SI Review; ESRA summer conference; Bangor/BSA conference


Shakespeare Institute Review, Issue 2: ‘Shakespeare and the superhuman’

The journal’s second issue has pushed back the submission deadline to 31 October 2012. Head on over to the website here, to see how high the bar was set in the first issue, and to answer any style questions you may have. Full CFP can be found here.


2. SUMMER CONFERENCE – 26-29 June 2013

European Shakespeare Research Association: ‘Shakespeare and Myth’

The conference convenes in Montpellier, France. For more general information check the website.

[From the site:]

List of Seminars (download pdf for details):

  1. Early Modern Nature: Shakespeare, Science and Myth
  2. The Early Modern Reception of Shakespeare in Print and Manuscript: The Rise of Shakespearean Cultural Capital?
  3. Local and Global Myths in Shakespearean Performance
  4. Myth in Relation to Truth, fable, history, legend, folklore
  5. Myth, Romance and Historiography
  6. Mythical Performance and its Afterlife
  7. Mythologies of Childhood
  8. Protean Shakespeare: Adapting, Tradapting, Performing Early Modern Plays
  9. Shakespeare and Classical Mythology: European Perspectives
  10. Shakespeare, Myth and Asia
  11. Shakespeare and the Myth of the Feminine
  12. The Shakespeare Myth Reloaded: Demythologizing and Re-mythologizing Shakespeare Today
  13. Staging the Shakespeare Myths, 2000-2012
  14. Translating Myths and Mythologizing Translations

Please submit an abstract (200-300 words) and a brief bio (150 words) by 1 October 2012 to the convenors of the seminar you choose.

All participants will be notified about the acceptance of their proposals by 1 November 2012.


3. ONE-DAY CONFERENCE – 8 December 2012

Bangor University and the BSA: ‘On Page and Stage: Shakespeare, 1590-1890’

(The Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies – Bangor-Aberystwyth, the British Shakespeare Association and the School of English, Bangor University)

Abstracts due: 12 October 2012

University Conference Organisers: Stephen Colclough & Andrew Hiscock

Guest Speaker: Professor Andrew Gurr (Reading University)
Shakespeare editor and author of ‘Playgoing in Shakespeare’s London’

This one-day conference focuses upon performances, interpretations and publications of Shakespeare in the pre-modern period in the UK and beyond. It is envisaged that delegates will be addressing this subject from a number of disciplinary perspectives and presentations on the following subjects would be particularly welcome:

Shakespearean Performances 1590-1890s and Performance Reportage

Shakespearean Theatre History 1590-1890

World Shakespeares 1590-1890

Critical Responses to Shakespeare 1590-1890: e.g. journalism, diaries, correspondence

Reading Shakespeare 1590-1890: e.g. criticism, education, annotated editions

Material Shakespeare 1590-1890: mise-en-scène and mise-en-page

Shakespeare as Political Icon 1590-1890

These and other related subjects will be considered for presentation at this conference. Abstracts of no more than 200 words should be sent to the conference organising committee at no later than Friday 12th October 2012. All abstracts should include the proposer’s name, title, mailing address, email address, institutional affiliation, student/employed status.