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King's hosts 10th World Shakespeare Congress

Posted on 29/07/2016
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King’s hosts 10th World Shakespeare Congress

Over 800 Shakespeare scholars from almost fifty countries will gather at King’s College London next week as the university co-hosts the 10th World Shakespeare Congress to explore and honour the Bard’s life and work.

Organised by the International Shakespeare Association (ISA) the World Congress is held every five years and 2016 is the first time it will be co-hosted in two locations that were integral to both the personal and working life of William Shakespeare. Delegates will arrive in London on Thursday following the start of the Congress on Sunday in Stratford-upon-Avon. With an overarching theme of ‘Creating and Recreating Shakespeare’, the Congress will look at the continuing global relevance of Shakespeare’s work through a varied programme of plenaries, panels, seminars and workshops.

Speaking in anticipation of the Congress, Professor Gordon McMullan, Director of the London Shakespeare Centre at King’s said ‘This year is a special year for anyone who loves Shakespeare and at the World Shakespeare Congress we will celebrate his memory and the global cultural legacy of his works. It is fitting that this quatercentenary World Congress is based in not just one but two locations: in Shakespeare’s birthplace, and final resting-place, Stratford-upon-Avon; and in the city where he made his name and where his genius flourished—London. At King’s we look forward to welcoming delegates from around the world to share in a range of cultural and intellectual opportunities in the places where Shakespeare was born, acted, wrote and died.’

Shakespeareans from around the world, including the US, Canada, New Zealand, Malaysia, Brazil, UAE, Egypt, France, Australia, Japan, China, Italy, Singapore, South Africa, Mauritius, Portugal and India, will take part in seminars and panel discussions, exploring different aspects of the Bard’s work and the global cultural legacy he continues to have around the world.

Speakers at the 2016 World Shakespeare Congress include internationally renowned actor Adrian Lester. As the son of Jamaican immigrants to the UK, Lester will discuss his early exposure to Shakespeare and his recent performance as Othello at the National Theatre, as well as his ability to move between big-budget films and small scale live performances.

Other highlights include:

  • Booker Prize-winning novelist Howard Jacobson discussing his novelistic adaptation of The Merchant of Venice and the role Shakespeare played in the history and form of the novel.
  • Gregory Doran, artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company exploring the company’s artistic life and history.
  • Shakespeare's Globe's Founding Director of Theatre Music, Claire van Kampen will be joined on stage by Bill Barclay, Globe Director of Music and an ensemble of early music players.
  • A plenary session chaired by the Globe’s Executive Producer Tom Bird, where a panel of international theatre directors will be taking up some of the ways in which Shakespeare’s plays have been re-imagined around the world. 

The Congress is co-hosted in Stratford by the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and the Shakespeare Institute, of the University of Birmingham. In London, Shakespeare's Globe and the London Shakespeare Centre, at King's College London play host to the international delegation. It is the first time that the International Shakespeare Association has bought all of these partners together to host the 2016 World Shakespeare Congress.

The full schedule of plenary sessions, seminars and lectures are available online.

 

For further information please contact: Claire Gilby, PR Manager (Arts & Sciences), King’s College London claire.gilby@kcl.ac.uk or 020 7848 3092.

 

Notes to editors

The International Shakespeare Association (ISA) was created in 1974 as an umbrella organization to connect Shakespearians and Shakespeare societies across the globe. With its headquarters at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, a small committee of prominent Shakespearians, including John Russell Brown, O. B. Harrison, George Hibbard, and Levi Fox, helped shape the association’s original objectives, including advising on the initiation and planning of World Shakespeare Congresses. The original executive committee, like all committees since, was made up of representatives from around the world.  The first ISA World Shakespeare Congress took place in Washington in 1976 as part of the American bicentennial celebrations. Since the Washington meeting, the ISA has continued to stage World Congresses at five-year intervals: Shakespeare, Man of the Theatre (Stratford-upon-Avon, 1981); Images of Shakespeare (Berlin, 1986); Shakespeare and Cultural Traditions (Tokyo, 1991); Shakespeare and the Twentieth Century (Los Angeles, 1996);  Shakespeare and the Mediterranean (Valencia, 2001); Shakespeare’s World/World Shakespeares (Brisbane, 2006); Renaissance Shakespeare: Shakespeare Renaissances (Prague, 2011); and Creating and Recreating Shakespeare (Stratford-upon-Avon/London, 2016).

The London Shakespeare Centre at King’s College London is devoted to research, learning and teaching in Shakespeare in particular and early modern English literary studies in general. In respect of Shakespeare we have particular strengths in textual studies, reception studies and performance studies, but we are equally passionate about early modern drama in general and about sixteenth- and seventeenth-century poetry and poetic form and about early modern women’s writing. The Centre builds on our external partnerships, notably those at Master’s level and beyond with Shakespeare’s Globe and the British Library, and with the other twenty-three partners who form the Shakespeare400 consortium, celebrating the Shakespeare Quatercentenary in 2016.

King's College London is one of the top 20 universities in the world (2015/16 QS World University Rankings) and among the oldest in England. King's has more than 26,500 students (of whom nearly 10,400 are graduate students) from some 150 countries worldwide, and nearly 6,900 staff. The university is in the second phase of a £1 billion redevelopment programme which is transforming its estate. For more information on King’s read our ‘King’s in Brief’pages.

The Shakespeare Institute is an internationally renowned research institution established in 1951 to push the boundaries of knowledge about Shakespeare studies and Renaissance drama. We offer a unique academic experience, providing an opportunity to study just minutes away from Shakespeare’s birthplace, school and grave, and the theatres of the Royal Shakespeare Company.The Institute is situated at Mason Croft in Stratford and was the former home of the novelist Marie Corellli. A purpose built library sits within the grounds of the Institute and contains around 60,000 volumes (including 3,000 early printed and rare books), archives and manuscripts, and audio-visual collections.   www.birmingham.ac.uk/shakespeare. The University of Birmingham was named University of the Year for Graduate Employment 2016 and University of the Year 2013/14 in The Times and The Sunday Times. It is ranked among the world’s top 100 institutions. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 4,000 international students from nearly 150 countries. The University collaborates with partners across the world to produce ground-breaking research, deliver innovative teaching, and to create opportunities for students and staff to gain international experience.

Shakespeare's Globe is a unique international resource dedicated to the exploration of Shakespeare's work and the playhouses for which he wrote, through the connected means of performance and education. Together, the Globe Theatre, Globe Exhibition & Tour and Globe Education seek to further the experience and international understanding of Shakespeare in performance. Globe Education is the dedicated education department at Shakespeare’s Globe. Established in 1989 by Patrick Spottiswoode, Director, it is today one of the most respected and largest arts education departments in the country, presenting a year-round programme of workshops, lectures, events and family theatre, UK and international outreach projects for schools and learning groups, Higher Education courses, pioneering digital resources and original research led by in-house academics. For more information, visit shakespearesglobe.com/education. The Shakespeare Globe Trust is a registered charity No. 266916. Shakespeare’s Globe receives no regular public subsidy.

The Royal Shakespeare Company creates theatre at its best, made in Stratford-upon-Avon and shared around the world. Everyone at the RSC - from actors to armourers, musicians to technicians - plays a part in creating the world you see on stage. We encourage everyone to enjoy a lifelong relationship with Shakespeare and live theatre and through our Education work transform experiences of Shakespeare for children and young people. Our approach is rooted in a 130 year history of making theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon and sharing that wealth of skills and knowledge with teachers and students all over the world. We work in over 14 countries world-wide and with around 530,000 young people every year. www.rsc.org.uk/education

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is the independent charity that cares for the world’s greatest Shakespeare heritage sites in Stratford-upon-Avon, and promotes the enjoyment and understanding of Shakespeare’s works, life and times all over the world. Established by Act of Parliament in 1847, the charity runs formal and informal educational programmes for people of all ages. It holds the world’s largest Shakespeare-related museum and archives open free to the public, a collection which is designated as being of international importance. The Trust is also headquarters of the International Shakespeare Association (ISA). The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is a registered charity (No.209302) and receives no public subsidy or direct revenue funding; it depends on income generated through the support of visitors, donors, volunteers and Friends. For more information, visit www.shakespeare.org.uk

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