Celebrating Shakespeare’s 400-year legacy at the World Shakespeare Congress
'Creating and Re-creating Shakespeare'
31 July - 6 August 2016, London and Stratford-upon-Avon
In 2016, four hundred years after his death, the world remembered Shakespeare. The London Shakespeare Centre at King’s College London, along with a host of cultural organisations and other universities, co-organised the World Shakespeare Congress to celebrate this historic event.
The tenth World Shakespeare Congress honoured the continuing global resonance of his work through a rich programme of plenary lectures, seminars, panels, workshops, events, and performances. Events took place across two locations significant in Shakespeare’s personal life, first in Stratford-upon-Avon and then in London. The Congress offered unparalleled opportunities to engage with current Shakespeare performance, criticism, and pedagogy, and to connect with fellow Shakespeareans from around the world.
The 2016 congress included five special plenary sessions, hosted at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon and on stage at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in Southwark, London, and addressed the theme of ‘Creating and Re-creating Shakespeare’.
- Greg Doran on the Royal Shakespeare Company: This opening plenary session featured Greg Doran, Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, who drew on a film archive of the RSC’s work past and present, to discuss the Company’s artistic life and history.
- Howard Jacobson in Conversation: The second session saw the Booker Prize-winning novelist Howard Jacobson in conversation with Professor Adrian Poole of the University of Cambridge, to discuss Jacobson’s novelistic adaptation of The Merchant of Venice (due to be published this year by Hogarth) and the role Shakespeare has played in the history and form of the novel.
- Dame Harriet Walter: The final Stratford plenary took the form of a full-length lecture by the lauded British actress, and veteran Shakespearean, Dame Harriet Walter. Dame Harriet reflected on her recent roles in all-female productions of Julius Caesar and Henry IV Parts One and Two.
- Shakespeare and Music:
In London, Claire Van Kampen, Composer, Playwright, and founding Director of Music at Shakespeare’s Globe, was joined on stage at the Globe by members of the theatre’s Early Music Ensemble for a combined lecture and performance on the topic of Shakespeare’s Music.
- Global Shakespeare:
Rounding off the plenaries programme, and taking up some of the ways in which Shakespeare’s plays have been reimagined around the world, was a panel of international theatre directors of Shakespeare, chaired by the Globe’s Executive Producer Tom Bird.
The congress is co-orginised by the London Shakespeare Centre at King’s College London, Shakespeare’s Globe, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the University of Birmingham’s Shakespeare Institute.
Folger Digital Texts
The Folger Shakespeare Library is delighted to announce the launch of Folger Digital Texts. These are reliable, expertly edited, and free digital Shakespeare texts for use by researchers. Starting from the Folger Editions of Shakespeare's works edited by Barbara Mowat and Paul Werstine, Folger Digital Texts uses XML to create a highly articulate indexing system. Researchers can read the plays online, download PDFs for offline reading, search a play or the whole corpus, navigate by act, scene, line, or the new Folger Throughline Numbers. In short, every word, space, and piece of punctuation has its own place online. Twelve plays are currently available, and the remainder of the works and poems will be released throughout 2013.
The XML-coded files are offered as a free download for noncommercial use by scholars and can be used as the groundwork for digital Shakespeare research projects, app development, and other projects.
The Folger Shakespeare Library editions, published by Simon and Schuster, remain available in print and as ebooks and include essays, glosses, notes, and illustrations from the materials in the Folger collections.
Vodafone funds researcher at London Shakespeare Centre
Emanuela Guastella, who is soon to join the London Shakespeare Centre as a part-time researcher, has been selected for the Vodafone World of Difference programme, which gives 500 people the chance to work for their dream charity – and get paid.
Emanuela will carry out archival research at the Arts Council for England for four months, part-time, starting in early March 2013. She will examine the large number of applications submitted to the ACE by independent theatre companies who have successfully applied for funding to support intercultural projects involving, or inspired by, Shakespeare.
The data gathered through this project will be used to help independent theatre artists and companies understand what features of their work match the criteria by which public bodies like the ACE allocate funding. This type of support is particularly vital to ensure the survival of independent artists and companies at a time when public funding is harder to get than ever before.
Arrangements are already in place to ensure that the findings of Emanuela’s research project are disseminated through publication (as a chapter in my new book on Shakespeare and Global Modernity) and that they are discussed with a large number of theatre artists and practitioners. Such discussions will occur as part of one-day events and/or workshops set up by the London Shakespeare Centre in partnership with artists’ advisers and creative consultants who routinely work with theatre artists in London and the South East .
Emanuela’s project will have a significant impact on the ability of local artists to secure the support they need to continue to work in a climate of great financial hardship. The timing of her contribution to the work done by the London Shakespeare Centre is also crucial in one other important respect: the London Shakespeare Centre is one of the key cultural institutions who can ensure that the legacy of key national events like the Cultural Olympiad lives on and that it feeds into future events, including Shakespeare400, which aims to strengthen the links between the London Shakespeare Centre and cultural partners and artists in London and the South East, as well as nationally and internationally.
On 21 February 2013 leading cultural organisations have signed a letter of intent to confirm their partnership with King’s in a coordinated season of multiple events for the Shakespeare quatercentenary in 2016. Please read about this event here
Why Shakespeare is Italian
In a piece written for the Guardian online as part of its series celebrating the World Shakespeare Festival, Dr Sonia Massai, Reader in Shakespeare Studies at King’s College London, comments on Italy’s love affair with Shakespeare, and says anyone who claims the Bard’s poetry is lost in translation might have to think again.
Sonia Massai is based in the London Shakespeare Centre and is the editor of ‘World-Wide Shakespeares: Local Appropriations in Film and Performance’ and is currently working on a new book on intercultural Shakespeare in performance.
The full article can be found at Guardian online.
LSC's Professor McMullan on BBC Four
The King and the Playwright BBC4, 10 May 2012 Professor Gordon McMullan, spoke about Shakespeare and early modern theatre and culture.
MA features in THES
Our MA in Shakespeare Studies has been featured in the THES.
LSC's Dr Hannah Crawforth on Radio 4
Dr Hannah Crawforth of the London Shakespeare Centre appears on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour.