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CFP: American Shakespeare Centre Conference

December 15, 2010

Information from the American Shakespeare Centre:

25 – 30 October 2011, Sixth Blackfriars Conference
(Be there for the bear … or for the truancy)

On odd numbered years since the first October the Blackfriars Playhouse opened, scholars from around the world have gathered in
Staunton, during the height of the Shenandoah Valley’s famed Fall
colors, to hear lectures, see plays, and learn about early modern
theatre. In 2011, the American Shakespeare Center’s Education and
Research Department will once again host Shakespeareans, scholars and
practitioners alike, to explore Shakespeare in the study and
Shakespeare on the stage and to find ways that these two worlds –
sometime in collision – can collaborate. Past conferences have
included such notable scholars as Andrew Gurr, the “godfather” of the
Blackfriars Playhouse, Tiffany Stern, Russ McDonald, Gary Taylor,
Stephen Greenblatt, Roz Knutson, Tina Packer, and many more in five
days full of activities.

Except for banquets, all events – papers, plays, workshops, – take
place in the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre,
the Blackfriars Playhouse. This conference distinguishes itself from
saner conferences in a variety of other ways. First, to model the
kind of collaboration we think possible we encourage presenters to
feature actors as partners in the demonstration of their theses. For
instance, in 2009, Gary Taylor’s keynote presentation “Lyrical
Middleton” featured ASC actors singing and dancing to the songs in
Middleton’s plays. Second, we limit each paper session to six short
papers (10 minutes for solo presentations, 13 minutes for
presentations with actors). Third, we enforce this rule by ursine
fiat – a bear chases from the stage those speakers who go over their
allotted time. Delegates also attend all of the plays in the ASC fall
season – Hamlet, Henry V, The Tempest, by Shakespeare, Tamburlaine by
Christopher Marlowe, and The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar
Wilde – and, for the past several conferences, bonus plays written by
their colleagues and performed by actors in the Mary Baldwin College
MFA in Shakespeare in Performance program. The spirit of fun that
imbues the conference manifests itself in the annual Truancy Award,
for the sensible conferee who – visiting the Shenandoah Valley at the
height of Fall – has the good sense to miss the most sessions.

The 2011 gathering will include a returning keynote speaker,
Shakespearean scholar Tiffany Stern, author of essential performance
studies such as Making Shakespeare, Rehearsal from Shakespeare to
Sheridan, and Documents of Performance. Professor Stern’s work has
played an influential role in the development of the American
Shakespeare Center’s Actors’ Renaissance Season, and her presentations
continue to inspire the further exploration of the plays of
Shakespeare and his contemporaries in the ASC’s educational and
artistic programming. Additionally, George T. Wright, author of
Shakespeare’s Metrical Art, will present. Professor Wright’s text on
prosody illuminates Shakespeare’s use of meter for actors and
scholars. We will invite our other speakers with an eye to other
aspects of Shakespeare’s plays in performance such as playing the
possibilities of rhetoric, playing in early modern theatres, early
modern play audiences (then and now), metrical analysis, early modern
rehearsal practice, early modern visual design, pedagogy (early
modern and current practice and its influence on performance).

Since each conference expands on the activities of the preceding
conferences, the 2011 incarnation will include thematic panels
following each keynote address. The work of the conference always
echoes in the work on stage at the Blackfriars Playhouse and in the
American Shakespeare Center’s Research and Scholarship department, and
it has provided the material for two books devoted specifically to
essays from the conference (Inside Shakespeare, edited by Paul Menzer,
and Thunder in the Playhouse, edited by Matt Kosusko and Peter
Kanelos). Plans are already afoot to include papers from the upcoming
conference in a third book.

ASC Education and Research extends this call for papers on any matters
to do with the performance of early modern drama (historical,
architectural, political, dramatical, sartorial, medical,
linguistical, comical, pastoral) to all interested parties for our
bi-annual conference to be held at the Blackfriars Playhouse in
Staunton, Virginia, 25-30 October 2011. The deadline to submit your
abstract is 31 May 2011.
Submit your abstract online:
http://www.formstack.com/forms/?1007217-Fa8fydC0oQ or contact Director
of Education, Sarah Enloe at sarahe@americanshakespearecenter.com or
540-885-5588 x28 for more information.

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