Archive for February, 2011


Healthy Reading Exhibition: 1590-1690

February 11, 2011




Exhibiting a healthy context for the first publisher’s blurb to a Shakespeare play

“Honey-tongued” Shakespeare may have been known for his “sugred sonnets”, but this exhibition places Shakespeare’s “savoured salt of wit” and the readers’ “wits’ healths” – discussed in the unique 1609  preface to Troilus and Cressida – in the context of some culinary, medical, literary and religious texts published between 1590 and 1690.

Arts and Social Studies Library

In SCOLAR, lower ground floor (until Wed Feb 16th).

Curator: Johann Gregory – with valuable assistance from Alison Harvey (Assistant Archivist) and Peter Keelan (Head of Special Collections and Archives)


Fabler Shakespeare Readers in Cardiff

February 5, 2011

Fabler Shakespeare Readers is a community arts engagement project devised and facilitated by Adam Timms.

In 2007, a small group of individuals commenced reading the complete works of Shakespeare above a cafe in Canton, Cardiff. In 2008 the group moved to Chapter arts centre, its current home, and the popularity of the group grew enormously. We regularly involved groups of around 20-30 individuals from the local community – theatre-goers, Shakespeare fans, academics, newcomers, actors, directors, writers – all are welcome! In December 2010 we will complete the first cycle of Shakespeare’s sole-authored works, with out reading of The Tempest. 2011 will see the launch of Fabler Theatre Company and our next phase of readings!”


Next reading:  Sunday, Feb 6th, 2011 , The Two Noble Kinsmen 6.30pm, Media Point, Chapter, Cardiff. (Cost: £3 on the door)

Chapter Arts Centre, Market Road, Canton, Cardiff

For more information about Fabler projects click here.


Welsh writer premieres Shakespeare Gnome pic in Hollywood

February 5, 2011

NEW Disney 3-D flick Gnomeo and Juliet nearly didn’t make it from the pen of a Welsh writer to the screen – because a Hollywood agent had no idea what a gnome was.

The star-studded CGI movie, which stars the voices of James McAvoy and Emily Blunt as the star-crossed lovers, was scripted by Newport writer John Smith and writing partner Rob Sprackling after they came up with the idea 11 years ago.

But the work was packed away after it was given the thumbs-down in LA.

Mr Smith, 47, said: “We ended up putting the script in a drawer and forgetting about it for a year.”

Then John – who wrote the football comedy Mike Bassett: England Manager starring Ricky Tomlinson – made some changes with Rob.

They posted it to a London agent who sent it to Elton John’s Rocket Pictures. Disney then snapped up the script for the $25m flick.

But there was another stumbling block. Insiders at the legendary US studio apparently felt the movie was too quirky for the mainstream.

One was quoted on saying: “We could never quite get the balance of story elements right.

“This film was supposed to be a parody of Romeo and Juliet. We wanted the audience to care about these lawn gnomes and what they were going through. And on top of that, we were being told to shoehorn in as many Elton John songs as possible.”

Elton, who has been involved in the project since at least 2003, is executive producer on the film.

“What we wound up with was something long on whimsy but really short on heart,” the source said.

“There were individual bits, characters and sequences that were great. Really fun. But the story as a whole didn’t hold together.”

So the project was shifted to Disney subsidiary Miramax – which produced Quentin Tarantino’s bullet and blood fest Pulp Fiction.

Things worked out better there.

Gnomeo and Juliet – which also stars Maggie Smith, Patrick Stewart, Ozzy Osbourne and Michael Caine – premiered in Hollywood this week.

“It was amazing to see my idea being premiered to all these stars,” added Mr Smith, a former student at Cardiff’s Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. “I am very proud.”

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Ben Jonson Now

February 4, 2011

Where is Jonson on the eve of his new edition? This seminar on February 12 brings together current work on Jonson and offers an opportunity to discuss the last decade of extraordinary developments in Jonson studies and, of course, the next. Speakers will discuss the Jonson’s drama, his big walk, his politics and classical learning.

Speakers include:

To be followed by a round table discussion: Jonsons then, now and to come….

The seminar will take place from 13:30 to 17:30 on February 12, it will be held in Birkbeck, in or near Malet Street, London WC1. Room to be confirmed.

This event forms part of The London Renaissance Seminar, which meets at Birkbeck regularly to discuss the literature, culture and history of the English Renaissance. It is free and welcomes all students, academics and people with an interest in the Renaissance or early modern period.


Find out more here.

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