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Some dozen or sixteen lines

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.054  Thursday, 5 February 2015


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

Date:         February 5, 2015 at 12:31:40 PM EST

Subject:    Re: Dozen or sixteen lines


I much appreciate Gerald Downs’ careful response. I won’t response to his textual assertions, because I lack his certainty as to the provenance and revision history of various passages. 


As to the failure of the mousetrap to prove Claudius’s guilt, I will refer to my more complete examination of the question (and previous discussions of that question) here:


Despite nearly unanimous critical and editorial agreement over the centuries that the mousetrap succeeds (see the footnotes to that article), Claudius simply standing and calling for lights—which is all the text gives us—is hardly an unambiguous giving out. Hamlet’s manically motivated belief and Horatio’s utterly ambiguous comments do not alter that fact.


Beyond that, I think this suggestion re: the dozen or sixteen lines at least highlights something that has been under-appreciated: the extent to which the mousetrap is designed to catch not just the conscience of the king, but of the queen. 


That abuse of Claudius’s queen gives him even more public justification for his anger, and for stopping the play with his call for lights.


All of which demonstrates Shakespeare’s mastery of dramatic tensions in the mousetrap scene, a mastery and level of tension that I think have been insufficiently appreciated.

Skeptic Article

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.053  Thursday, 5 February 2015


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

Date:         February 4, 2015 at 12:09:05 PM EST

Subject:    Skeptic Article


SHAKSPERians might be interested in this article appearing in the February 3 online issue of Skeptic magazine:


I offer this as a matter of interest only, not with the intention of opening the well-banned debate.


[Editor’s Note: The topic has been banned for many, many years and continues to be. However, the article may be of interest to many subscribers. –Hardy]

Antony Sher in Henry IV Parts I and II

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.052  Thursday, 5 February 2015


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

Date:         February 5, 2015 at 8:29:57 AM EST

Subject:    Antony Sher in Henry IV Parts I and II: 'Give me a cup of sack!


[Editor’s Note: From The Guardian online/ -Hardy]


Antony Sher in Henry IV Parts I and II: 'Give me a cup of sack!' 


The Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Henry IV Parts I and II, directed by Gregory Doran, is out now from Opus Arte on DVD and Blu-ray. Watch Antony Sher’s ‘ magnificent, magnetic Falstaff’ hold court in the tavern, followed by a conversation between King Henry (Jasper Britton) and Prince Hal (Alex Hassell)

The Other Place to Return in 2016

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.051  Thursday, 5 February 2015


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

Date:         February 5, 2015 at 8:26:40 AM EST

Subject:    The Other Place to Return in 2016



The Other Place to Return in 2016

5 February 2015


RSC to open new festival theatre, including research, development and rehearsal spaces, and announces a ground-breaking new collaboration with the University of Birmingham


Work begins this month to reinstate the Royal Shakespeare Company’s (RSC) iconic studio theatre, The Other Place in Stratford-upon-Avon, opening in 2016 to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.


The project is being made possible thanks to the support of private and public funders, including very generous donations from The Gatsby Charitable Foundation and The Backstage Trust, a £3m Lottery grant from Arts Council England and a new collaboration with the University of Birmingham, Founding Partner of The Other Place.


Originally built in 1973, The Other Place was home to the RSC’s developmental and new work, housing many landmark productions with RSC alumni such as Judi Dench, Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren. The theatre closed in 2006 to make way for the temporary Courtyard Theatre, where the RSC performed during the transformation of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.


The new Other Place will include a 200-seat flexible studio theatre, built within the external steel structure of The Courtyard Theatre, two new rehearsal rooms, and a new home for the RSC’s 30,000 piece Costume Store, giving people access for the first time via theatre tours.


Under the leadership of Erica Whyman, RSC Deputy Artistic Director, the theatre will be a festival venue for RSC productions, with new work festivals taking place twice a year. As a creative hub, it will house rehearsals, research and development, and training for artists throughout the year. Local amateur groups will be able to use the theatre for rehearsals and performances, and the venue will provide additional performance space for the Company’s work with young people and the local community. The Other Place will also be available for commercial hires, raising valuable income to support the RSC’s artistic programme.


The RSC also announces today a new five year collaboration with the University of Birmingham and its Stratford-based Shakespeare Institute. The relationship is rooted in the vision of The Other Place as a centre for creative and academic exchange. At its heart are three practice-led research projects taking place each year, where students, academics and artists develop, critique and respond to provocations. Students will also have access to creative and teaching spaces at The Other Place, with RSC artists and practitioners providing input to undergraduate and postgraduate courses.


The collaboration will develop a laboratory for theatre artists working with scholars and students in creative experiments that stimulate connections between the arts, the academy, and society at large.


Erica Whyman, RSC Deputy Artistic Director, said:


‘I am hugely excited about re-imagining The Other Place as a vibrant, creative space, embodying the challenging and alternative spirit of the original. It will be an exemplary home for theatre artists, and a space where students, our actors, visiting theatre makers and our audiences can really feel part of the “engine room” of the RSC.


‘The theatre will house a beautiful new studio theatre and multi-functional spaces for rehearsal, teaching, research, technical fit-out, digital capture, conferences and entertaining. We will also be able to use the space to generate income from commercial hires to support our work. We are collaborating with Ian Ritchie Architects and Tom Piper as Design Consultant, whom I recently worked with on the production of The Christmas Truce. I am a great admirer of his work and thrilled to be working with him on this project.


‘Our collaboration with the University of Birmingham is a brilliant opportunity for students to get right into the heart of the RSC, using the theatre and its resources as part of their undergraduate and postgraduate studies. Their presence, alongside our artists, will bring a real energy to the building.


‘Our award-winning Midsummer Mischief festival in summer 2014 gave a flavour of what’s to come in The Other Place. In 2016, the theatre will be back as a new resource for the 21st century for the RSC, our partners and our audiences. We are very grateful to all our funders who have made this possible – including a major Lottery grant from Arts Council England, The Gatsby Charitable Foundation and The Backstage Trust.’


Professor Sir David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, said:


‘This is a hugely exciting collaboration that builds on our existing relationship with the RSC and promises to have enormous benefits for both parties – not least the opportunity to combine our world-leading arts research with the RSC’s cutting-edge artistic practice. Our students will undoubtedly benefit from the numerous teaching and creative opportunities afforded by this innovative project, and I am very much looking forward to seeing how it progresses.’


Peter Knott, Area Director, Arts Council England, said:


‘We’re really pleased to be able to invest in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s ambition to restore The Other Place into a thriving hub for theatre-making and learning, as well as support plans to renovate its historic costume workshops. Part of the Arts Council’s role is to invest in the equipment and facilities cultural organisations need to produce great art. This significant investment from our National Lottery-funded Capital programme will see the RSC create a dedicated space for artists, young people, students and the local community, while also improving the company’s facilities for research and production that are essential to the creation of world-class work.’


The Other Place is one of two major building projects taking place on the RSC’s Stratford-upon-Avon estate, which will open in time for the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 2016. The other is the Swan Wing project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, which is restoring the fabric of the oldest part of the RSC’s estate and sits adjacent to the Swan Theatre. The project also includes a major new exhibition celebrating the RSC’s rich history of theatre making. More information


Arts Council England has also awarded a £2.1m Lottery grant for the renovation of the RSC’s Costume Workshop, one of the largest in-house departments in the UK, situated opposite the Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres. Planning for the redevelopment of the buildings is currently underway and work will begin in 2017, following the completion of The Other Place and the Swan Wing, and when the remaining funds have been raised.


For further information, contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 07966 295032 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 01789 412622.


For the University of Birmingham please contact Stuart Gillespie on +44 (0)121 414 9041.


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History of The Other Place 


The Other Place was the Royal Shakespeare Company’s original studio theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. It began life as a tin shed rehearsal room and in 1974, following a series of experimental theatre projects such as Actors Commando and Theatregoround, it was converted into a studio space for adventurous and experimental work by contemporary writers.


The Other Place was the brainchild of Buzz Goodbody, the pioneering visionary at the helm of its artistic direction in its early days, who made it the most productive tin shed in theatre history. Inspired by the revolutionary spirit of the alternative theatre movements occurring throughout Britain, Buzz created an unconventional auditorium, which aimed to create a sense of community and intimacy between actors and audience. This was a period of great change, altering the face of British theatre forever; with the earliest signs beginning in 1960 when Peter Hall joined the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre as Artistic Director with the objective to ‘to express Shakespeare’s intentions in terms that modern audiences could understand.’


The Other Place was closed in 1989 for two years of rebuilding, and reopened its doors in 1991 with a permanent brick building. This building later closed and was adapted as a foyer to The Courtyard Theatre which housed RSC productions during the transformation of the RST and Swan theatres.


Arts Council England

Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2010 and 2015, we will invest £1.9 billion of public money from government and an estimated £1.1 billion from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

Restoration of RSC’s Swan Wing

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.050  Thursday, 5 February 2015


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

Date:         February 5, 2015 at 8:25:32 AM EST

Subject:    Restoration of RSC’s Swan Wing





1 December 2014




The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has announced the start of a major project which will see the restoration of the oldest part of the Company's theatres in Stratford-upon-Avon, plus the opening of a new exhibition, which will immerse visitors in the RSC's rich history and showcase how the Company makes its world famous productions. The project is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. 


Work begins in January 2015 when scaffolding will be erected around the front of the Swan Theatre for restoration work to begin. The restored Grade II* listed Swan Wing and the new exhibition will open in 2016, to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death. Performances will continue in the Swan Theatre throughout the project. 




The 1879 wing forms the entrance of the current Swan Theatre, and was built as part of the original Shakespeare Memorial Theatre. The façade and interior of the building will be significantly restored, revealing the hidden heritage within the building and enhancing the beautiful public spaces. 


Alongside the sympathetic cleaning of the brickwork, lead windows, and roof ‘lights’, the project will include the restoration and interpretation of the three exterior bas reliefs by Paul Kummer, which depict stories from Shakespeare of comedy, history and tragedy; and the original stained glass windows which line the Swan Theatre staircase and illustrate the famous lines of the ‘Seven Ages of Man’ from Shakespeare’s As You Like It.




Installed throughout the Swan Wing, a major, new exhibition will celebrate the stories, creativity and moments of innovation in the RSC’s past and present. Visitors aged 8 and upwards will be transported behind the scenes, to capture the magic of theatre and the rich history behind the Company’s performances. Previously unseen treasures from the RSC’s internationally renowned Archive and Collection will feature in the exhibition, including costumes, set designs, props, photographs, paintings, drawings, audio and video recordings, and much more. 


More information on the exhibition, designed by exhibition architects, Kossmann.dejong and curated by the RSC’s Events and Exhibitions team, will be announced in Spring 2015. 


Geraldine Collinge, RSC Director of Events and Exhibitions, said

‘The Swan Wing project will allow us to conserve and restore elements of this beautiful Stratford-upon-Avon landmark, which has been a feature of the town since the 1870s. Many of the original elements have been hidden over time and we want to bring these back for the local community and visitors to enjoy.


‘We know that people of all ages relish the chance to discover how we make our productions. Our new exhibition will allow them to do this through the history of the RSC and will showcase our fantastic Archive and Collection. It will be of interest to everybody and will include activities for children and families as well as providing resources for students and schools. It will be a fun and exciting way to find out how theatre has been made in Shakespeare’s home town over the centuries’


The Other Place 


The RSC also plans to re-open The Other Place studio theatre in 2016. Designs for the new look The Other Place are currently being finalised. The RSC recently submitted a Stage Two Arts Council Lottery application to secure the final funds for the project, after being awarded Stage One approval in July this year. News about the application is due early next year. Work is planned to begin shortly afterwards, with a planned opening in 2016 in time for the anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. 


The Other Place and Swan Wing building projects will run in tandem. More information about both projects will be available in Spring 2015, alongside further details about the wider celebrations throughout Stratford-upon-Avon during the anniversary year. 


For further information please contact Jane Ellis 07966 295032, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or Dean Asker on 07789 937759, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


The Swan Theatre remains open throughout with a full season of productions, including Volpone with Henry Goodman, Christopher Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta and the rarely-performed play Love’s Sacrifice by John Ford. 


The Swan Wing project is paid for through a £2.8 million award from the Heritage Lottery Fund, with generous support from the Garfield Weston Foundation, The Wolfson Foundation and many other generous supporters. 


The Swan Wing - the Swan Wing is the only remaining part of the 1879 Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, which burnt down in 1926. The Wing originally housed a library, reading room and picture gallery and it currently includes the façade and entrance, hallway, bar area, staircase, current Ferguson exhibition room and the bridge which links it to the Swan Theatre auditorium. 


RSC Archive and Collection – The RSC selects and preserves images, recordings, artefacts and other materials from past productions and the work of the Company to conserve its history for future generations. Where possible, items are used as part of a handling collection to help people learn about the history of Shakespeare in performance and the whole Archive and Collection provides inspiration and context for new commissions and exhibitions. 


The Archive includes records of all types, from photographs to prompt books covering productions from 1879 to the present. These are cared for on the RSC's behalf by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and are available for research purposes at the Shakespeare Centre Library. The Collection is managed by the RSC's Events and Exhibitions team and is maintained at a storage building in Stratford-upon-Avon, which is not open to the public. A small selection of items is on display within the RST.

Website and Social media

Follow the RSC on Twitter  @theRSC 

Follow the RSC Press Office on Twitter  @RSCPress 

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