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Shakespeare

Content in this section focuses on the Bard’s work and contemporary responses to and interpretations of it. There’s a broad range of topics to explore here, from Madeline Sayet’s interrogation of the Shakespeare system, to Lavina Jadhwani’s conversation about dismantling the plays’ anti-Black language, to a panel about Shakespeare and new work.

The Latest

Shakespeare in Gdansk: A Vessel for Past, Present, and Future
Essay
Shakespeare in Gdansk: A Vessel for Past, Present, and Future
by Monica Payne
29 September 2022
“The Ills We Do, Their Ills Instruct Us So”: Indigenous Futurism at the South Dakota Shakespeare Festival
Essay
“The Ills We Do, Their Ills Instruct Us So”: Indigenous Futurism at the South Dakota Shakespeare Festival
by Robert Hubbard
25 July 2022
The Shakespeare In Paradise Festival
Essay
The Shakespeare In Paradise Festival
A Celebration of Bahamian Theatre and Performance
by Robert Hubbard
23 November 2021
A woman dancing on stage.
Shakespeare in Gdansk: A Vessel for Past, Present, and Future
Essay

Shakespeare in Gdansk: A Vessel for Past, Present, and Future

29 September 2022

Monica Payne recaps the 26th international Gdansk Shakespeare Festival, where artists from around the globe adapted, deconstructed, and celebrated Shakespeare’s plays through boldly contemporary productions.

A woman in a traditional garb stands outside facing an audience.
“The Ills We Do, Their Ills Instruct Us So”: Indigenous Futurism at the South Dakota Shakespeare Festival
Essay

“The Ills We Do, Their Ills Instruct Us So”: Indigenous Futurism at the South Dakota Shakespeare Festival

25 July 2022

Robert Hubbard discusses the South Dakota Shakespeare Festival production of Othello, which Tara Moses adapted and directed through an Indigenous Futurist lens. The resulting production employed its Shakespearean source text to model solidarity between Tribal Sovereignty and Black Liberation movements.

Seven Black actors performing on stage accompanied by the band.
The Shakespeare In Paradise Festival
Essay

The Shakespeare In Paradise Festival

A Celebration of Bahamian Theatre and Performance

23 November 2021

Robert Hubbard sits down with Dr. Nicolette Bethel and Philip A. Burrows to discuss their creation of the annual Shakespeare in Paradise Festival in the Bahamas.

Going Beyond Shakespeare
Podcast

Going Beyond Shakespeare

with Rob Crighton

17 November 2021

Shakespeare looms large over both the American and British theatre scenes. But his outsize influence means that we’ve long neglected a dizzying array of fascinating and brilliant theatre written by other early modern England dramatists. Robert Crighton and the Beyond Shakespeare Company are working to remedy this, and Robert joins us for this episode to discuss how they’re trying to expand our awareness of the theatre of this era.

A portrait of Tana Wojczuk.
Lady Romeo: Learning About Nineteenth-Century Actress Charlotte Cushman with Tana Wojczuk
Podcast

Lady Romeo: Learning About Nineteenth-Century Actress Charlotte Cushman with Tana Wojczuk

3 November 2021

In the nineteenth century, Charlotte Cushman became United States’ first celebrity actress. Tana Wojczuk, who has written a new biography of Cushman, joins the Mike Lueger to talk about the actress’s remarkable life both on stage and off.

event poster with headshot of will wilhelm and text teacakes and tarot.
Teacakes and Tarot with Will Wilhelm and Robert O'Hara
Video

Teacakes and Tarot with Will Wilhelm and Robert O'Hara

Theatre, Classics, and the future of queer inclusive practices are all in the cards during this intimate interview series with your next artistic crush

Thursday 3 June 2021
United States

Island Shakespeare Festival presented Teacakes and Tarot with Will Wilhelm and Robert O'Hara livestreaming on the global, commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Thursday 3 June 2021 at 6:30 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 8:30 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 9:30 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4).

event poster with headshot of will wilhelm and text teacakes and tarot.
Teacakes and Tarot with Will Wilhelm and Jéhan Òsanyìn
Video

Teacakes and Tarot with Will Wilhelm and Jéhan Òsanyìn

Theatre, Classics, and the future of queer inclusive practices are all in the cards during this intimate interview series with your next artistic crush

Thursday 20 May 2021
United States

Island Shakespeare Festival presented Teacakes and Tarot with Will Wilhelm and and Jéhan Òsanyìn livestreaming on the global, commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Thursday 20 May 2021 at 6:30 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 8:30 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 9:30 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4).

event poster with headshot of will wilhelm and text teacakes and tarot.
Teacakes and Tarot with Will Wilhelm and Joshua Castille
Video

Teacakes and Tarot with Will Wilhelm and Joshua Castille

Theatre, Classics, and the future of queer inclusive practices are all in the cards during this intimate interview series with your next artistic crush

Thursday 6 May 2021
United States

Island Shakespeare Festival presented Teacakes and Tarot with Will Wilhelm and and Joshua Castille livestreaming on the global, commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Thursday 6 May 2021 at 6:30 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 8:30 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 9:30 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4).

a large group of actors on an outdoor stage
Shakespeare in Black with Renea Brown
Podcast

Shakespeare in Black with Renea Brown

Daughters of Lorraine Podcast Episode #9

7 October 2020

Daughters of Lorraine Podcast hosts Jordan Ealey and Leticia Ridley interview actress Renea Brown on the interactions between Black theatre and Shakespeare, as well as her experience as a Black Shakespearean performer.

two actors onstage
Staging Bilingual Classical Theatre
Essay

Staging Bilingual Classical Theatre

15 September 2020

Carla Della Gatta offers strategies and considerations for theatremakers who are looking to create bilingual or semi-bilingual renditions of the canonized classics.

madeline sayet holding a paper shakespeare mask
Interrogating the Shakespeare System
Essay

Interrogating the Shakespeare System

31 August 2020

Madeline Sayet argues that promoting Shakespeare as the best writer of all time is a dangerous and white supremacist viewpoint, and she believes it’s time to interrogate the Bard’s placecent as the pinnacle of theatrical achievement.

actors onstage
Dismantling Anti-Black Language
Essay

Dismantling Anti-Black Language

27 August 2020

Holly Derr interviews Lavina Jadhwani about the document she created called Dismantling Anti-Black Linguistic Racism in Theatre, which offers several examples of potentially anti-Black language, such as Ethiopian, master, and minstrel; their use in Shakespeare; why they might be problematic; and possible substitutions.

Photo of a white German man pouring whiskey for a Black Nigerian man.
I am Wole, I am Heiner
Essay

I am Wole, I am Heiner

For a Fully Realized Representation of Brown Artists on Stage

27 May 2020

In this last installment of the Beyond the Western Canon series, Sadie Berlin questions how marginalized voices are represented on stage and calls for more experimental work by artists of color on Canadian stages.

woman in dramatic lighting.
Translating the Bard
Essay

Translating the Bard

What Does a Modern Shakespeare Look Like?

6 January 2020

Loren Noveck discusses the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Play On! project, which commissioned thirty-six playwrights to translate the entire corpus of Shakespeare into contemporary modern English.

 two actors onstage
Unmanly Grief
Essay

Unmanly Grief

Performing A Trans Hamlet

10 September 2019

Aley O’Mara reflects on Daniel Winder’s Hamlet and speaks to the lead—trans actor Jenet Le Lacheur—about the titular character in this production being nonbinary and transfeminine.

two actors onstage
Provoked and Triggered
Essay

Provoked and Triggered

Content Warnings and Student Spectators

21 July 2019

Professor Christin Essin talks about problematic staging of gendered violence at a production she recently brought her students to and the importance of content warnings and taking care of survivors in theatrical works.

actors onstage
“To the heart, she led them there”
Essay

“To the heart, she led them there”

Native Theatre, Inclusion, and Shakespeare on the Great Plains

18 July 2019

Robert Hubbard discussions Madeline Sayet’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the South Dakota Theatre Festival.

actors onstage
Staging Sexual Assault Responsibly
Essay

Staging Sexual Assault Responsibly

Lessons from The Changeling

10 July 2019

Charlene V. Smith talks about asking hard questions around the interpretation of early modern English classics, Brave Spirits Theatre’s production of The Changeling, and five tips for dealing with sexual assault in art responsibly.

a sepia toned photograph
Are We Traumatizing People?
Essay

Are We Traumatizing People?

9 July 2019

Emer McHugh and Jess R. Pfeffer discuss Hamlet’s nunnery scene, how gendered violence onstage is often about the perpetrator’s character development, problematic assaults on TV, and more.

joe haj and rob melrose
“Who are you when scared?”
Essay

“Who are you when scared?”

Confidence, Fearlessness, and Artistic Direction

23 June 2019

Artistic directors Joe Haj of Minneapolis’s Guthrie Theater and Rob Melrose of Houston’s Alley Theatre talk about confidence and fearlessness, a company of actors, fighting for the classics, and more.

an actress onstage
A Look into Theatre’s FutVRe
Essay

A Look into Theatre’s FutVRe

18 April 2019

Carley B. Johnson examines two recent projects that link theatre with virtual reality and augmented reality.

Title page of a restoration-era edition of Macbeth
Restoring An Alternate Version of Shakespeare’s Works
Podcast

Restoring An Alternate Version of Shakespeare’s Works

Theatre History Podcast #70

8 November 2018

The Restoration was an era of theatrical innovation and rebirth in England. It also saw a number of strikingly radical revisions of William Shakespeare's original plays. Dr. Amanda Eubanks Winkler joins us to talk about her work with the Performing Restoration Shakespeare project, which is studying these adaptations and helping to revive them for the stage.

two actors
A Non-Binary Awakening in Philadelphia
Essay

A Non-Binary Awakening in Philadelphia

12 September 2018

Pax Ressler looks at both the successes and challenges for non-binary theatre artists in Philadelphia.

a drawing
Dr. Sara B.T. Thiel on Pregnancy on the Stage in Early Modern English Drama
Podcast

Dr. Sara B.T. Thiel on Pregnancy on the Stage in Early Modern English Drama

Theatre History Podcast #66

4 September 2018

How do you depict pregnancy when you're working with an all-male cast? Dr. Sara BT Thiel joins us to discuss this and other issues connected to pregnancy on the Stuart stage.

Decolonizing Theatre/La Descolonización del Teatro
Essay

Decolonizing Theatre/La Descolonización del Teatro

an Introduction/Introducción

27 May 2018

Annalisa Dias and Madeline Sayet introduce the Decolonizing Theatre series by exploring the ways the American theatre has been and still is complicit in the legacy of colonialism.