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My Life on Stage with Shakespeare

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.193  Friday, 18 April 2014


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

Date:         April 17, 2014 at 8:12:08 PM EDT

Subject:    My Life on Stage with Shakespeare


[Editor’s Note: The following is an extract from the Independent’s extract of Rory Kinnear’s My Life on Stage with Shakespeare. –Hardy]


Rory Kinnear’s My Life on Stage with Shakespeare


When I was very little I didn’t want to be an actor. I wanted to be a butcher. Or a goalkeeper. Early in my adolescent years I took the risk of appearing as Sir Epicure Mammon in The Alchemist and Pandarus in Troilus and Cressida and then, finding to my young astonishment that I was getting attention and some praise for my performances, I began to think that acting might be a better fit. My father had been an actor, but he had died when I was 10, and so in lots of ways I had to discover it all for myself.


One of the things that I discovered, and which became clear especially when I was at university and working on Buckingham in Richard III and Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew, was that what I got most excited by was the rehearsal process. It seemed to require identifying the particular conundrums that a play and character threw up, the various forks in the road ahead, examining them thoroughly, and then making a decision. There wasn’t necessarily a right decision – especially, as I discovered to my delight, with Shakespeare – but there had to be a decision. I tend to approach parts initially just by thinking about them, and then afterwards I try to figure out what works well in the doing – they’re two different disciplines really, for me – and then I try to marry them up to get a wholly successful and coherent performance, which then needs to fit in with the design, direction, other actors, and all the other aspects of a production which must combine so that everything is working together and everyone is trying to tell the same story.


One of my first professional jobs was as Caliban in The Tempest. I then worked at the RSC for a season, as Tranio in The Taming of the Shrew and Caius Lucius in Cymbeline, and then I did Laertes at the Old Vic in 2004 with Ben Whishaw in the role of Hamlet. There followed a Shakespeare- less break of six or seven years before I did Angelo in Measure for Measure at the Almeida in 2010.


Shakespeare wrote his characters precisely, and yet there is room for each actor to find his own Angelo, and also – as I was then to discover his own Hamlet, his own Bolingbroke and his own Iago, too. I had the opportunity to revisit Hamlet in the title role a little later that year at the National Theatre. I had already been quite familiar with the play, having encountered it at school and having taken the opportunity to write on it during my English degree. Acting, though, requires a different skill set than academia.


Shakespeare gives his actors quite a lot of open-endedness within which to work: you’re not often given much back-story, and you’re certainly never guided by him to any particular decision. You have to make your own.


Consequently, there’s a lot of thrashing about involved in figuring out how to create a character with a full life, including relationships that have already been formed and those parts of his life that have already been lived – and then connect that full life, largely of your creation, with Shakespeare’s creation, the character’s lines.


What surprised me most with Hamlet was that, having gone through that rehearsal process, it wasn’t until the first time I performed it in front of an audience that I realised that it’s only in relation to that body of witnesses that Hamlet discovers himself. If you’re rehearsing in a white room, doing those soliloquies to a wall, even though it’s quite self-reflective and leads to a number of important insights, you’re not really getting anything back.


To actually lead an audience of 1,200 people through those soliloquies and to be open-hearted in how you share them is incredibly moving, and I was surprised at the effect that had on me during the first week of performance. The rehearsal process had actually been quite isolating, since, as Hamlet, I’d spent seven weeks cut off from everyone: not only is Hamlet on stage most of the time and so excluded from the backstage experience, but the charting of the play is the deterioration of his relationships with everyone else (except for maybe Horatio, but even he gets it in the neck sometimes). Since they know the play so well, the audience tends to be ahead of him in terms of what he’s thinking; as a result a lot of the time Hamlet seems to be playing catch-up with what everybody else already knows.


As a result, although at times I would hear contented sighs – and frequently people saying Hamlet’s lines along with me – I also had people say to me afterwards that it was only after a while that they realised that I was doing such-and-such a speech. I suppose it can be surprising to discover these well- known words in the context of the narrative of a play, rather than as verbal set pieces. I suspect that secretly we might believe such great – and famous – outpourings of eloquence and wisdom should be heralded by a pause in the action and a suitable fanfare.


[ . . . ]


With each of Shakespeare’s plays, the same cast and the same director could sit down again mere months after they’ve done a production and come up with a totally different production: the readiness is all. I’m sure that for each role I would want to give a very different performance now. But however I did them, I would still want to focus on those moments when the characters become something they weren’t before. I would want to try to hold on to who they were, with all the weight of their histories, and yet follow them in the successive moments of becoming who they are, as they are faced with those big questions. They are questions we all face in our own lives: questions about beliefs, and trust, and power, and how to do the best we can with whatever unexpected circumstances life throws at us.

Proceedings of the Shakespeare Graduate Conference 2012-2013

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.192  Friday, 18 April 2014


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

Date:         April 18, 2014 at 4:55:29 AM EDT

Subject:    Proceedings of the Shakespeare Graduate Conference 2012-2013


The British Institute of Florence is pleased to announce the online publication of the second volume of the Proceedings of the Shakespeare Graduate Conference on the theme Shakespeare and His Contemporaries: The Notion of Conflict (2012), The Italian Connection (2013). The volume, edited by the Coordinator of the Cultural Programme, Mark Roberts, is a selection of contributions of the 2012 and 2013 editions of the Graduate Conference. The volume can be read at


Sofia Novello

Library Assistant & Co-ordinator of the Shakespeare Graduate Conference

The British Institute of Florence

Palazzo Lanfredini

Lungarno Guicciardini 9

50125 Firenze


This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Shakespeare @LibertasU

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.191  Thursday, 17 April 2014


[1] From:        Jim Carroll < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         April 16, 2014 at 3:57:24 PM EDT

     Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Online Course 


[2] From:        William Junker < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         April 16, 2014 at 6:17:17 PM EDT

     Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Online Course 




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

Date:         April 16, 2014 at 3:57:24 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Online Course


>It seems to me too that the idea of ‘great men’ is gratuitous.

>I do not doubt that Shakespeare believed in the Great Man theory

>of history, but why should we? Maybe we should find ourselves

>well beyond that idea . . .


I have to ask: why should we be beyond that idea? Should we subscribe to the “copycat men” idea of history, where all the copycats go round and round publishing/disseminating/acting out the same old tired ideas in order to look busy and appear to be intelligent? I don’t think we’d make much progress as a species if there were not ‘great (wo)men” (better term: iconoclasts) who force the social climbers into thinking a new way. If not for iconoclasts we’d still be subject to con artists hyping Galen’s medicine and waste our time and money trying find the dark energy . . . oops, excuse me . . . phlogiston that powers the RNA world as it flies up the chimney.


And it’s a good thing Shakespeare was smart enough and iconoclastic enough to make fun of the sonnet form, otherwise we men might have all ended up like those poor gentlemen in Love’s Labours Lost.


Jim Carroll



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

Date:         April 16, 2014 at 6:17:17 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Online Course


As someone who holds a BA from the University of Dallas, I take exception to Appelbaum’s comment. While it is true that incoming students are issued colt revolvers during orientation week, the donning of cowboy hats is highly regulated. 

H(app)y 450th Birthday

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.191  Thursday, 17 April 2014


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

Date:        Thursday, April 17, 2014

Subject:    H(app)y 450th Birthday


The Folger Shakespeare Library


H(app)y 450th birthday, Will Shakespeare! 


In celebration, The Folger Shakespeare Library is offering the Folger Luminary Shakespeare apps for just $2.99, through April 27. Enjoy Hamlet, Othello, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream


Folger Luminary Shakespeare Apps


Designed to make great plays accessible to all readers in a lively digital format, the Folger Luminary Shakespeare Apps are an interactive reading experience that enriches the Folger Shakespeare Editions—the gold standard in modern edited Shakespeare texts—with

  • Full audio recordings by professional actors produced by Folger Theatre
  • Expert commentaries from leading scholars, teachers, and performers
  • Illuminating images from the Folger collections and video
  • Robust authoring and sharing tools 

From solitary reading to generative thinking, from the classroom to the theater, Folger Luminary Shakespeare apps offer an interactive reading experience to enhance our pleasure and understanding of Shakespeare’s extraordinary works.

Upcoming Events at Globe Theatre

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.190  Thursday, 17 April 2014


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

Date:         Thursday, April 17, 2014

Subject:     Upcoming Events at Globe Theatre


Globe Theatre Shakespeare’s Birthday Celebration: 21 April

Free Family Open Day

Monday 21 April

12 noon – 5.00pm (last admission 4.30pm)


To celebrate Shakespeare’s 450th birthday we invite you to join our free family open day, packed with fun activities, performances and special ticket offers.


Shakespeare’s Birthday is a great way to introduce children to the Globe and Shakespeare, or simply to visit us in party mode.


Following the theme of a traditional birthday party activities throughout the day include: a bouncy castle, face painting, Pin the Ruff on the Bard, cake decorating, pass the parcel, stilt performers, balloon animals, Punch and Judy shows and more. This is also an opportunity to visit the biggest exhibition dedicated to Shakespeare’s London, for free. (Normal adult price £13.50)


The event culminates with performances on the stage. We welcome back improvisational geniuses School of Night where “everything is created on the spur of the moment according to ideas and suggestions proffered by the audience.” There will also be scenes from Shakespeare performed and traditional balloon modellers. Is it your birthday on 21 April? Let us know and you might end up on the stage too.


Special Birthday Offer

From 21-27 April all yard (standing) tickets for performances throughout April will be available for a reduced price of 450 pence (normal price £5).  This celebratory offer is available in person or over the telephone. Please quote ‘Birthday offer’ (subject to availability).

Box Office : 0207 401 9919



Shakespeare at 450

Our first season in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse celebrates the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth.


The season opens with a stunning candlelit production of John Lyly’s witty and beautiful Galatea presented by the Edwards’ Boys from Shakespeare’s own grammar school.


Some of the world’s leading Shakespeare scholars tell us what the anniversary means to them in a series of exclusive Shakespeare at 450 Lectures, including this year’s Sam Wanamaker Fellow Jonathon Bate and previous Fellows Stanley Wells, Tiffany Stern, James Shapiro, Lisa Jardine, Andrew Gurr and Farah Karim-Cooper.


Read Not Dead celebrates its move into the Playhouse with an exceptional season including Jonson’s Every Man in His Humour in which Shakespeare originally acted, and the chance for you to choose the last reading of the season in a special public voting event.


David and Ben Crystal join us with a series of ground-breaking events in the Playhouse Exploring Original Pronunciation. Plus experience Macbeth as Shakespeare might have heard it in an extra special Read Not Dead coordinated by David and Ben Crystal, presented in original pronunciation and by candlelight.


This summer’s Study Days will satisfy the keenest of minds. Children and families can get involved in Story Days, and the sell-out Muse of Fire returns later this summer – with a twist in its tale.


Pre- and Post-show events illuminate the Globe Theatre season whilst the brand new Research in Action explores the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse inside and out with leading scholars and Globe Theatre artists: audience participation will be encouraged! 



Globe to Globe Hamlet will be the first production of the season, taking to the Globe stage on 23 April before beginning its two-year world tour. 


Opening on 24 April, Lucy Bailey’s hotly anticipated Titus Andronicus promises to utterly transform the Globe theatre. 


To celebrate Shakespeare's birthday we're visiting EVERY country in the world! Please back our project and be part of our journey.


The tour

On 23 April 2014 the Globe opens its most ambitious tour yet: a two-year tour of Hamlet that will visit every single country on earth. Sixteen extraordinary men and women will travel by boat, train, 4X4, tall ship, bus and aeroplane across the seven continents, performing in a huge range of unique and atmospheric venues – from village squares to national theatres, from palaces to beaches. 


The production is a fresh, pared-down version of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy of deferred revenge. The company of twelve actors and four stage managers will use a completely portable set to stage a Hamlet that celebrates all the exuberance and invention of Shakespeare’s language in a brisk two hours and forty minutes. The production will be directed by Dominic Dromgoole and Bill Buckhurst, designed by Jonathan Fensom and composed by Bill Barclay. Additional original music by Laura Forrest-Hay.


The role of Hamlet will be shared by Ladi Emeruwa and Naeem Hayat. All other male and female parts will be played in rotation by Keith Bartlett, John Dougall, Miranda Foster, Phoebe Fildes, Beruce Khan, Tom Lawrence, Jennifer Leong, Rawiri Paratene, Matthew Romain and Amanda Wilkin.



Titus Andronicus 

24 April - 13 July


Returning to Rome from a war against the Goths, the general Titus Andronicus brings with him the queen Tamora and her three sons as prisoners of war. Titus’ sacrifice of Tamora’s eldest son to appease the ghosts of his dead sons, and his decision to refuse to accept the title of emperor, initiates a terrible cycle of mutilation, rape and murder. And all _the while, at the centre of the nightmare, there moves the villainous, self-delighting Aaron.


Grotesquely violent and daringly experimental, Titus was the smash hit of Shakespeare’s early career, and is written with a ghoulish energy he was never to repeat elsewhere.


This production revisits Lucy Bailey’s spectacular Globe production of 2006

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