The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0398  Thursday, 22 August 2013


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

Date:         August 22, 2013 10:50:34 AM EDT

Subject:     Shakespearean London Theatres (ShaLT) 


The project ‘Shakespearean London Theatres (ShaLT)’ is a collaboration between De Montfort University in Leicester, England, and the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London, who are the custodians of the nation’s theatre-historical artefacts collection. The project, which is funded by the United Kingdom’s Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), was launched at the V&A on 23 April 2013. At the launch, we showed off five of the six project ‘outputs’:


1) A free walking map (12,000 copies to be given away) showing a series of modern London walks within a two-mile radius of St Paul’s Cathedral that take in a number of early modern theatre-historical sites, and giving the walker some basic information about those sites. The locations and descriptions used here and in the other outputs are based on the latest archival and archaeological research. We are indebted to Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) for the precise coordinates of buildings whose foundations they have excavated.


2) A printed guidebook to the walks, available from the most widely used online booksellers as well as High St bookshops; just search for ‘Shakespearean London Theatres’.


3) A interactive map-based website at <http://shalt.org.uk> containing pictures and freshly composed descriptions of the various sites, and downloadable copies of all outputs.


4) A free smartphone app (iOS and Android) that guides you around the London sites and tells you about them.


5) A series of public talks by world-class theatre historians at the Victoria and Albert Museum across this summer (see the V&A website or ShaLT the website for details of remaining talks).


The sixth output has taken a little while to complete as it’s the most ambitious and expensive: four-and-a-half hours of documentary film about the theatres of Shakespeare’s time. The films include descriptions of the theatres, the playing companies, the audiences and the social contexts, with contributions by theatre historians including Andrew Gurr, Tiffany Stern, Grace Ioppolo, Michael Dobson, Martin White, Lucy Munro, Andy Kesson and Julie Sanders, and freshly shot illustrative excerpts (with professional casts) from the plays Sapho and Phao by John Lyly, The Spanish Tragedy by Thomas Kyd, Richard 3 by Shakespeare, Eastward Ho! by George Chapman, John Marston and Ben Jonson, and A Fair Quarrel by Thomas Middleton and William Rowley.


Like all the other outputs from the ShaLT project, these films are made available for anyone to use in any way they see fit, including research, teaching, and commercial exploitation.  All ShaLT outputs are covered by a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike licence (CC-BY-SA) which means you can do what you like with our stuff but you must acknowledge that you got it from us and you mustn’t put on your reuse of it a more restrictive licence than the one we’re giving you. So, do what you like, just don’t pretend it didn’t come from us and don’t try to lock it up.


We’re going to launch the films in a series of thematically connected bundles over the new few weeks. The first bundle we’re calling ‘Beginnings’ and it comprises:


1) An introduction to the rise of theatre in the middle of the sixteenth century (10 minutes) http://youtu.be/ufkQk0E0SjY


2) An examination of the role of John Lyly in early theatre (10 minutes) http://youtu.be/mmCLHqjIGB0


3) A performed excerpt from Lyly’s play Sapho and Phao Act III Scene 4, first performed c.1583 (6 minutes) http://youtu.be/okYqncz1lxM


4) A research interview with theatre historian Andy Kesson on the subject of Lyly (20 minutes) http://youtu.be/6fZYY8UWBiw


5) A research interview with theatre historian Lucy Munro (30 minutes) http://youtu.be/ce4yFGZ136A


This first bundle, ‘Beginnings’, is now available on YouTube.  The links to the YouTube films are also given on the ‘Films’ page of the ShaLT website at <http://shalt.org.uk>. We’ll also in a little while put the raw films themselves (in high and low-resolution formats) on the ShaLT website so you can download them directly rather than having to stream them from YouTube, and then of course you can edit them, put them into your own teaching materials, show them in any public or private venue, and so on.


The ShaLT project investigators, myself and Andrew Gurr, would like to thank the AHRC for funding this work and the Victoria and Albert Museum for a fruitful partnership.


Gabriel Egan

Professor of Shakespeare Studies

De Montfort University


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