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Shakespearean London Theatres (ShaLT)

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0183  Wednesday, 17 April 2013

From:        Gabriel Egan < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         April 16, 2013 3:41:32 PM EDT

Subject:     Shakespearean London Theatres (ShaLT)

 

A two-year Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded project called Shakespearean London Theatres (ShaLT) comes to fruition with a launch on 23 April 2013 at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

 

The project aims to get people walking around and learning about the London sites where there were theatres 400 years ago. Many people are aware of the plays of William Shakespeare and his famous playhouse, the Globe on London’s Bankside. The ShaLT project tells the full story behind the vast theatrical scene that thrilled London for over fifty years during the reigns of Elizabeth I, James I and Charles I.

 

The ShaLT website is a repository of writings and pictures about the playhouses, entrepreneurs, audiences, actors and dramatists that made up this foundational theatre industry. It uses a zoomable map of modern London overlaid with the sites of interest: if you click on these you get extensive text and pictures for each one. A free printed Walking Map (available at tourist outlets across the capital and downloadable from the website) gives the precise locations of all of the London theatres (backed by the latest archaeological discoveries) and offers five suggested walks that take in the original London sites, all within a two mile radius of St Paul’s Cathedral.

 

There is also a 48-page colour Guide that includes the map, copious illustrations, and the full chronological narrative history of theatre in this period. For those who prefer to be paperless, there’s a smartphone app (Apple and Android) that will guide you on the walks and provide all the textual and pictorial information that’s in the printed versions.

 

The texts and pictures of the project are supported by a series of short filmed documentaries that are illustrated with freshly acted excerpts from particular plays, including Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy, Lyly’s Endymion, and Marston, Chapman and Jonson’s Eastward Ho! The documentaries were produced by John Wyver and his company Illuminations TV (you may know them from their films of Royal Shakespeare Company productions) and the dramatic scenes were directed by James Wallace.

 

Over the summer, ShaLT will be running fortnightly public talks at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London given by leading experts: Andrew Gurr, Peter Womack, Julie Sanders, Tiffany Stern, Joanne Tompkins, Jean E. Howard, Ralph A. Cohen, Farah Karim-Cooper, Martin White, Gary Taylor and Martin Butler. The first of these is Andrew Gurr’s talk “Why was the Globe round?” at 3pm on the launch day, 23 April 2013.

 

We do hope you can join us for the public talks. Tickets are available from the Victoria and Albert Museum online shop at http://www.vam.ac.uk/whatson/event/2411.

 

If you’re interested but can’t make the launch or the other public talks, why not go to our website and take from it what you want? Everything we have created is offered to you under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike licence (CC BY-SA) so you can reuse it in your own research or teaching, put copies of it on your own website (commercial or non-commercial) or even put it all on a DVD and try to sell it. Regarding the licencing of the materials we have made, we take the same approach as Woody Guthrie did with his music:

 

“This song is Copyrighted in the U.S., under Seal of Copyright #154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin’ it without our permission will be mighty good friends of ourn, ‘cause we don’t give a dern. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, that’s all we wanted to do.”

 

The ShaLT team would like to thank the AHRC not only for the money to do all this, but for supporting the project’s give-it-all-away Open Access policy. Those in the UK struggling with recent government edicts in favour of Gold Open Access might, it is hoped, see in this project some of the benefits of the Green Open Access approach.

 

Our project site is http://shalt.org.uk but while we’re putting all the bits in place for the launch on 23 April you might need to go to our development site at http://shalt.web1.rkh.co.uk

 

Anyone able to yodel any of our materials will be admitted to the launch event without a ticket.

 

Prof Gabriel Egan (ShaLT Principal Investigator) on behalf of the ShaLT team comprising himself and:

 

Prof Andrew Gurr (Co-Investigator)

Dr Maurice Hindle (Project Manager)

Dr Peter Sillitoe (Post-Doctoral Research Associate)

Ms Meena Toor (Promotion Coordinator)

 
 

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