Ralph Cohen Honored by the Folger Shakespeare Library

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0527  Wednesday, 21 November 2013


From:        Hardy Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         November 20, 2013 at 2:38:09 PM EST

Subject:    Ralph Cohen Honored by the Folger Shakespeare Library


Ralph Alan Cohen, Director of Mission and Co-Founder of the American Shakespeare Center, has been awarded the 2013 Shakespeare Steward Award, presented annually by the Folger Shakespeare Library in recognition of outstanding contributions to the innovative teaching of Shakespeare in American classrooms.


Folger Director Michael Witmore presented Cohen with the award on October 26, 2013 at the closing event of the Blackfriars Conference, the American Shakespeare Center’s biennial gathering of scholarship on early modern drama.  “Ralph has a long been a leader in the community of Shakespeare scholars who see that there is much to learn from the practice of staging Shakespeare’s plays,” noted Witmore. “People think differently about Shakespeare and Renaissance drama because of what Ralph has done.”


Peggy O’Brien, the Folger’s Director of Education added, “Ralph is close to magical. All of his gifts—scholar, teacher, director, and entrepreneur—have driven work that has created lively and exciting Shakespeare experiences for hundreds of thousands of students and teachers. And the founding and growth of the American Shakespeare Center besides! It’s an honor for us at the Folger to honor him."


Past recipients of the Shakespeare Steward Award include the partnership between the Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Chicago Public Schools; scholars Gail Kern Paster and Jeanne Addison Roberts; the Denver Public Schools Shakespeare Festival; Peggy O’Brien; and the inaugural recipient, Susan Biondo-Hench, a high school English teacher in Carlisle, Pennsylvania who founded a student Shakespeare festival in her community.


In 1988, Cohen and Jim Warren formed the Shenandoah Shakespeare Express, a touring theatre company focused on bringing back the energy of early modern theatre by using their staging conditions. 25 years later, the company has been renamed The American Shakespeare Center, and has brought Shakespeare performances to hundreds of American communities and advanced an interest in Shakespeare and his times by building a re-creation of the Blackfriars Theatre and creating an American center for the performance and study of Shakespeare in Staunton, Virginia.


Cohen, Co-founder and Director of Mission at the American Shakespeare Center, is Gonder Professor of Shakespeare and Performance and founder of the Master of Letters and Fine Arts program at Mary Baldwin College.  


He has directed 30 productions of plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, including America’s first professional production of Francis Beaumont’s The Knight of the Burning Pestle. He also directed the first revival of Thomas Middleton’s Your Five Gallants and co-edited the play for Oxford University Press’s Collected Works of Thomas Middleton.


He is the author of ShakesFear and How to Cure It: A Handbook for Teaching Shakespeare. He twice edited special teaching issues of Shakespeare Quarterly and has published articles on teaching Shakespeare as well as on Shakespeare, Jonson, and Elizabethan staging. ShakesFear will see its second printing in 2014.


He founded the Studies Abroad program at James Madison University, where he won Virginia’s award for outstanding faculty. He has frequently directed summer institutes on Shakespeare and staging sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 2001 he established the Blackfriars Conference, a biennial week-long celebration of early modern drama in performance.


In 2008 he won the Commonwealth Governor’s Arts Award along with ASC Co-Founder Jim Warren. In 2009 he was the Theo Crosby Fellow at Shakespeare’s Globe in London. He earned his undergraduate degree at Dartmouth College and his doctorate at Duke University and has honorary degrees from St. Lawrence University and Georgetown University. 


Hamlet: The Undiscovered Country, Second Edition and E-book

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0525  Tuesday, 20 November 2013


From:        Steve Roth <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         November 19, 2013 at 8:33:28 PM EST

Subject:    Hamlet: The Undiscovered Country, Second Edition and E-book


Fellow SHAKSPEReans: Many of you have been kind enough to support and help me with my Hamlet book, and I wanted to let you know that it's just been released in a second edition, and (finally) in an e-book edition.


It’s not hugely changed, but I have worked in many insights and corrections that have arisen since the first edition, many of them arrived at with your help. (Thanks!)


I’m especially pleased with the e-book version, which—because of the book’s many tables and other special text and graphic elements—was a challenging conversion. I think the e-book reading experience may be even better than print (something I rarely say about e-books). This not least because all the laboriously embedded hyperlinks to the play text, and to primary and secondary source materials, are working. 


If you’re among those I address above and I haven’t written to you directly offering a copy of the e-book, or if you’d like to consider it for class adoption, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line; I’d love to send you one. 


Thanks for listening,



Performance of King John

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0520  Monday, 18 November 2013


From:        Richard Waugaman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         November 17, 2013 at 5:13:25 PM EST

Subject:    Performance of King John


An excellent production of King John will be performed for one more week near Washington, DC, at the Avant Bard Theater—


King John gave us Robin Hood and the Magna Carta. Find out why. In a fever dream of British royal history, Shakespeare’s most enigmatic king wrestles with covetous heirs, rebellious lords and his own conscience as he struggles to retain the throne–and his own sanity.


Directed by Artistic Director Tom Prewitt and featuring Acting Company members Christopher Henley, Cam Magee and Chuck Young.




Previews: October 27 at 2:00 pm, October 29-31 at 7:30 pm


Opening Night: Friday, November 1, 2013 at 7:30 pm.


Performances: Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 pm; Saturday and Sunday at 2 pm through November 24.


All previews and Saturday matinees are Pay What You Can!



For tickets, order online or call WSC Avant Bard at 703-418-4808.



Theatre on the Run

3700 South Four Mile Run Drive

Arlington, VA 22206


Richard Waugaman


Richard III - Silent Film Screening

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0519  Monday, 18 November 2013


From:        Hardy Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         November 15, 2013 at 5:25:04 PM EST

Subject:    Richard III - Silent Film Screening


Richard III - Silent film screening

Silent Film Special Event in partnership with The University of York


On 27 Nov at 6pm we will be screening a silent film version of Richard III in the main auditorium. The film stars celebrated stage and screen actor Frank Benson as a deliciously dastardly Richard in a precious piece of film and theatre history recorded on the stage of Stratford’s Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in 1911. The film will feature musical accompaniment and, in a performance first, will be voiced live by our cast from the stage production to a commissioned ‘silent cinema actor script’.


Script, voice-to-screen direction and introduction: Judith Buchanan


Tickets: £5, or £3 students and for those who have a ticket to the theatre production


Event Running Time: 45 mins total, including introduction and a short Q&A after the screening


With live, original piano accompaniment by John Sweeney


British Shakespeare Association Fellowships Day and AGM

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0518  Friday, 15 November 2013


From:        British Shakespeare Association <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         November 15, 2013 at 9:42:23 AM EST

Subject:    British Shakespeare Association Fellowships Day and AGM 


British Shakespeare Association


BSA Fellowships Day Saturday 30 November


10.00am to 4.00pm, The Shakespeare Centre, Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon.


The British Shakespeare Association are conferring upon Professors Terence Hawkes and Stanley Wells the title of Honorary Fellow in recognition of their significant contributions to Shakespeare scholarship. The day starts at 10am and includes reflections on and appreciation of the work and careers of two very different kinds of Shakespeare scholars. Ewan Fernie and Susan Basnett will speak on Terry and Carol Rutter and John Jowett on Stanley. A closing panel discussion will be followed by a sparkling wine reception.

 The day will cost £5.00 per person (no discounts, pay on the door only). 


Members of the BSA are invited to remain after the event for the BSA’s Annual General Meeting (from 4.00pm). It would be helpful to have a sense of numbers in advance, so we are inviting people to sign up via e-mail. Please send your name and contact details (including a phone number) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Alternatively, you can just turn up on the day.

 If you wish to join the British Shakespeare Association and attend the AGM, you can sign up to be a member on the website . Memberships cost £25 (£15 concessions), and you can also opt to receive the BSA’s journal Shakespeare at the extremely discounted price of £15.

Kind regards,

The British Shakespeare Association


Herbert-Dickinson NEH Seminar

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0516  Wednesday, 13 November 2013


From:        Richard A. Strier <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         November 12, 2013 at 1:05:39 PM EST

Subject:    Herbert-Dickinson NEH Seminar


Dear Folks,


I don’t know whether this will be of interest to anyone on this list (or your graduate students), but it might be (two spots of the 16 are available for grad students).


I am offering an NEH Summer Seminar for College Teachers this summer (July 7-Aug 8) at the University of Chicago on “George Herbert and Emily Dickinson.”  Anyone interested can e-mail me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or, better yet, for full information, go to the seminar website:



Richard Strier

Sulzberger Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus

Editor, Modern Philology

Department of English

University of Chicago

1115 E. 58th St.

Chicago, IL 60637 


Online Lecture - Hamlet

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0515  Tuesday, 12 November 2013


From:        Jake Goldberg <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         November 11, 2013 at 10:24:48 AM EST

Subject:    Free Online Lecture - Hamlet


[Editor’s Note: I post this advertisement with some reservations; nevertheless, it is possible that someone on this list might be interested. –Hardy]


LibertasU will be hosting a number of free online lectures over the next few weeks. One will take place on Tuesday, Nov 19th at 8:30 PM Eastern, when Professor John Alvis will give a lecture on Shakespeare’s Hamlet.


Professor Alvis is a highly respected and experienced academic and we’re sure that all of the participants will enjoy taking part in the real-time discussion and debate of ideas afforded by our unique online platform.


Participation in the lecture is limited. We hope you will pass this message on to your members so that those who would like to participate will have the opportunity to register.


More information is available on our website:


Best regards,

Jake Goldberg


Programs with Adam Gopnik and with Theatre for a New Audience

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0512  Monday, 11 November 2013


From:        John F Andrews <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         November 10, 2013 at 6:35:04 PM EST

Subject:    Programs with Adam Gopnik and with Theatre for a New Audience  


A Hearty Tribute to Theatre for a New Audience


Thursday, November 21

Program 6:00, Reception 7:15 p.m.

The National Arts Club

15 Gramercy Park, Manhattan

Free, but Reservations Requested


Founded in 1979 by Jeffrey Horowitz, and chaired for most of its distinguished history by Theodore C. Rogers, THEATRE FOR A NEW AUDIENCE has earned dozens of honors and provided a congenial setting for directors like Arin Arbus, Julie Taymor, and Darko Tresnjak, and for actors such as Kathleen Chalfant, Mark Rylance, and John Douglas Thompson. It was the first American company to perform one of the playwright’s classics in Stratford-upon-Avon’s Royal Shakespeare Theatre, and its rendering of The Merchant of Venice, with F. Murray Abraham as Shylock, was featured in the RSC’s recent Complete Works Festival. Julie Taymor staged versions of Titus Andronicus and The Tempest at Theatre for a New Audience before she directed those works on film, so it’s altogether fitting that her long-anticipated production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is now inaugurating the Theatre’s sparkling new POLONSKY SHAKESPEARE CENTER in Brooklyn. Please join us for a celebratory toast to Jeffrey Horowitz and Ted Rogers.   



A Memorable Evening with Adam Gopnik


Friday, November 22

Reception 6:00, Program 6:30 p.m.

The English-Speaking Union

144 East 39th Street, Manhattan

Members $10, Others $20


Best known, perhaps, for Paris to the Moon, a touching account of the years he and his family spent in the City of Light, Adam Gopnik has also enriched our lives with Americans in Paris, an anthology of New World responses to the French capital, and The Table Comes First: France, Family, and the Meaning of Food, a volume that has been lauded in the Dining section of the New York Times and is now being adapted for the theater.


Another of Mr. Gopnik’s recent publications, Angels and Ages: A Short Book about Darwin, Lincoln, and Modern Life, derives from a New Yorker article about the conflicting accounts of Edwin M. Stanton’s famous eulogy as America’s 16th President expired from a wound that had been inflicted a few hours earlier in Ford’s Theatre. According to a stenographer who took notes on that somber occasion, Stanton said “Now he belongs to the angels.” But near the end of the century, in their official biography of Lincoln, John Hay and John Nicolay, his personal secretaries, reported that Stanton said “Now he belongs to the ages.” Both versions echo familiar passages from the President’s favorite writer, and both accord with Shakespearean patterns that many have noted in their comments about Lincoln’s life and untimely death.


For this gathering, Mr. Gopnik will join the Guild’s John Andrews, who has published articles about the Lincoln assassination in The Atlantic and the New York Times, for a conversation prompted by the 50th anniversary of another tragedy that took place on a Friday, this time during a sunny autumn afternoon in 1963. The audience will be encouraged to join in reflections about relationships between the two events, and about ways in which both of them illustrate the enduring resonance of titles such as Julius Caesar, Hamlet, and Macbeth.



Welcoming a New Biography of Edwin Booth


Thursday, December 19

Program 6:30, Reception 7:45 p.m.

The National Arts Club

15 Gramercy Park, Manhattan

Free, but Reservations Requested


A prominent university administrator as well as a scholar who has written the definitive biography of 19th-century actor Joseph Jefferson, an eminent friend and colleague of Edwin Booth, Arthur W. Bloom has now completed what reviewers describe as our most authoritative study of Booth himself. During a discussion that will address a wide range of topics, among them how various members of America’s foremost theatrical family responded to the Civil War and its dramatic conclusion, and how the most distinguished of them then proceeded to put an enduring mark on roles like Brutus and Hamlet and earn renown as “The Prince of Players.” In 1988 Booth purchased a home on Gramercy Park and founded The Players, an institution he modeled after the Garrick Club in London, and it was there that he died in 1893. Copies of Edwin Booth: A Biography and Performance History will be on hand for purchase and inscription.



For more information about these and related offerings, visit To secure reservations and make credit-card payments, simply reply with a message to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 505-988-9560.


If you belong to the English-Speaking Union or the Shakespeare Guild, you qualify to receive a member discount for the November 22 program with Adam Gopnik. Should you wish to reserve through the ESU, you may do so with a message to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or with a call to 212-818-1200. If space remains available on the day of that event, you may pay at the door.


An Age of Kings 5 Disc DVD

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0505  Wednesday, 6 November 2013


From:        Louise Machin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         November 5, 2013 at 12:25:07 PM EST

Subject:    An Age of Kings 5 Disc DVD



Illuminations presents an exclusive 5-disc DVD of 


An Age of Kings 


Eight History plays by William Shakespeare


Groundbreaking adaptation of Shakespeare’s Histories available for the first time in 50 years


960 minutes including extras

£34.99 including VAT


An Age of Kings is the BBC’s compelling 15-part series from 1960 of William Shakespeare’s great national pageant of eight History plays. Watched by over three million viewers, it is the most ambitious Shakespeare project ever filmed for television.


Hailed by the Guardian as ‘ambitious ... exciting ... a striking example of the creative use of television’, it was a powerful demonstration of the BBC’s unique strengths and abilities in a time when Britain’s public service broadcaster was not principally in the hunt for ratings.


Planned as the inaugural production in the newly-built BBC TV Centre, An Age of Kings was later broadcast live on Thursday evenings every fortnight from Riverside Studios in Hammersmith as the series wasn’t ready in time for the opening. 


For more than 50 years, this TV landmark has been entirely unavailable in Britain. Yet its drama of power politics, betrayals, deceptions and deadly rivalries is as alive as ever. So too is the beauty of some of Shakespeare’s greatest poetry and prose.  


An Age of Kings features outstanding actors, including Robert Hardy, Eileen Atkins, Judi Dench, and Sean Connery, at the beginning of their highly successful careers. More than five decades after it was first seen, An Age of Kings is a vivid and vibrant drama, with an unparalleled clarity and immediacy, sense of scale and poetic depth.


With 600 speaking parts and 30 weeks of rehearsal before filming, each episode cost £4000. The series was shot on only four cameras with a cyclorama used for the battle scenes and lots of smoke. 


DVD extras: The Making of An Age of Kings features Tony Garnett (Cathy Come Home, Days of Hope) interviewed at Riverside Studios. Garnett recalls his experiences on this groundbreaking series and the challenges of making one of the most ambitious Shakespeare projects ever filmed.  


Also included in the 5 disc DVD pack is a 24-page booklet giving background information and critical writing about the production.


Barcode: 5060291820072

Catalogue number: AOK166




An Age of Kings taster reel (20 mins)


The Making of An Age of Kings (14 mins, 15 secs)


YouTube and DVD trailer with DVD advert (3 mins)


An Age of Kings press pack download (includes 2d and 3d pack shots, 12 stills and poster)


Illuminations is a leading producer and publisher of cultural media with a distinguished history of making programmes about the arts, digital culture, and ideas. Recent productions include Rupert Goold’s Macbeth starring Patrick Stewart, and RSC director Greg Doran’s Julius Caesar. More performance DVDs can be found online at


More information and review copies, contact Louise Machin on 020 7288 8409/07958 225186 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Louise Machin


Essential media about the arts

A: 19-20 Rheidol Mews, London N1 8NU

T: +44 20 7288 8400 F: +44 20 7288 8488



2014 NEH Summer Seminar for College and University Teachers: “Tudor Books and Readers”

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0502  Monday, 4 November 2013


From:        Mark Rankin <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         November 3, 2013 at 3:33:09 PM EST

Subject:    2014 NEH Summer Seminar for College and University Teachers: “Tudor Books and Readers”


John N. King of The Ohio State University and Mark Rankin of James Madison University will direct a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar for College and University Teachers on the construction and dissemination of books and the nature of reading during the era of the Tudor monarchs (1485-1603). In particular, they plan to pose the governing question of whether the advent of printing was a necessary precondition for the emergence of new reading practices associated with the Renaissance and Reformation. Participants will consider ways in which readers responded to elements such as book layout, typography, illustration, and paratext (e.g., prefaces, glosses, and commentaries). Employing key methods of the history of the book and the history of reading, our investigation will consider how the physical nature of books affected ways in which readers understood and assimilated their intellectual contents. This program is geared to meet the needs of teacher-scholars interested in the literary, political, or cultural history of the English Renaissance and/or Reformation, the history of the book, the history of reading, art history, women’s studies, religious studies, bibliography, print culture, library science (including rare book librarians), mass communication, literacy studies, and more.


This seminar will meet from 23 June until 26 July 2014. During the first week of this program, we shall visit 1) Antwerp, Belgium, in order to draw on resources including the Plantin-Moretus Museum (the world’s only surviving Renaissance printing and publishing house) and 2) London, England, in order to attend a rare-book workshop and consider treasures at Senate House Library of the University of London. During four ensuing weeks at Oxford, participants will reside at St. Edmund Hall as they make use of rare book and manuscript holdings of the Bodleian Library and other institutions.


Those eligible to apply include citizens of USA who are engaged in teaching at the college or university level, graduate students, and independent scholars who have received the terminal degree in their field (usually the Ph.D.). In addition, non-US citizens who have taught and lived in the USA for at least three years prior to March 2014 are eligible to apply. NEH will provide participants with a stipend of $3,900.


Full details and application information are available at For further information, please contact Mark Rankin (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). Applications must be postmarked by March 4, 2014.


TONIGHT: Harry Lennix Screens Shakespeare Film in Memphis

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0501  Saturday, 2 November 2013


From:        Newstok Scott <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         November 2, 2013 at 7:44:00 AM EDT

Subject:    TONIGHT: Harry Lennix Screens Shakespeare Film in Memphis


Hollywood actor Harry Lennix and scholar/screenwriter Dr. Ayanna Thompson screen their new adaptation of the “Henry IV” plays at the Indie Memphis Film Festival this Saturday night (9pm, November 2, Playhouse on the Square):


“H4” transports Shakespeare to contemporary Los Angeles to explore political struggles in the African American community. Performed in Shakespeare’s original language, “H4” will appeal to Shakespearean aficionados and newcomers alike:


Lennix and Thompson will converse with the audience following the screening. Mr. Lennix will also discuss his role as King Henry IV on WKNO’s “Checking on the Arts” on Friday, November 1 at 9am. The “Memphis Flyer” review of “H4” is pasted below.


Advance tickets ($15) can be purchased online:


Please share this announcement with anyone who might enjoy seeing this film.


Yours sincerely,

Scott Newstok

Shakespeare at Rhodes


The film H4, premiering this Saturday at Indie Memphis, moves a pair of Shakespeare’s more accessible history plays — Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2 — into the 21st century and measures their relevance against a contemporary African-American experience. That’s a tall order, and it may not even be the most interesting thing about this Kickstarter-funded experiment starring Harry Lennix as the titular H. The script, adapted to the screen by scholar/screenwriter Ayanna Thompson, preserves Shakespeare’s language but deviates far enough from the letter to challenge purists. Director Paul Quinn’s brave embrace of theatrical device and nonrealism should be an inspiration, and possibly even a model, for filmmakers looking to tell huge stories with miniscule budgets.


Although they delve into politics and warfare, the Henry IV plays have all the elements of a classic coming-of-age story. Henry Bolingbroke, played by Lennix in an eye patch, has never made peace with the fact that he took the crown by force, killing his predecessor, Richard II. To atone for his sins, he’d lead a crusade in the Holy Land, but as king he’s too caught up in the business of staying king, as border skirmishes break out and old friends become bitter rivals. Worse, instead of preparing to become king someday, his son and heir is too busy whoring and carousing with thieves and lowlifes. The artists collaborating on H4 have moved the play’s action to Los Angeles and transformed the “Prince of Wales” into the “Prince of Watts.”


Shakespeare’s mostly preserved language is frequently tweaked, with the odd modern reference. Falstaff calls for a cup of “malt liquor” and a capon. Another scene is set with the line: “This is Inglewood, not Guantanamo Bay — there are no hooded men.”


Translating Shakespeare to the big screen is more challenging that it might seem because so much of the rich descriptive language becomes redundant and cumbersome in a photographic medium. This is why relatively modest attempts like Joss Whedon’s recent take  on Much Ado About Nothing, which was shot primarily at the director’s home, can have so much more life than Kenneth Branagh’s lavishly appointed and famously uncut Hamlet. H4 shifts between scenes filmed in the graffiti-covered streets of L.A. and scenes shot on an essentially bare stage and in the dressing room of a theater, a convention that allows modern rivals toting switchblades and baseball bats to fight it out with swords and medieval bludgeons in slyly self-conscious displays of stage combat.


Because it was originally performed on a bare stage, Shakespeare’s words set the scene, and Quinn, Lennix, and company have capitalized on this, making it work in a way that may remind some film fans of the narration in Jean-Luc Godard’s sci-fi experiment, Alphaville.


Much ado has been made of Lennix’s dedication to H4, a film that the Shakespeare aficionado has described as a labor of love, but he’s one player in a strong ensemble that includes Keith David, Heavy D, Amad Jackson, and Geno Monteiro making a star turn as Hotspur, the rebel knight.



Saturday, November 2nd, 9 p.m.

Indie Memphis

Playhouse on the Square


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