Archive for September, 2011


Macbeth: Theatr Hafren, Mid Wales

September 30, 2011

Icarus Theatre Collective in association with The Kings Theatre and South Hill Park Arts Centre present Macbeth

Friday 30th, Sep, 1st Oct 2011 7:45PM

“Something wicked this way comes… The vicious, barbaric undercurrent in Shakespeare’s epic tragedy surfaces in this kinetic, blood-thirsty production. Unrivalled on the battlefield, Macbeth is rewarded with rank and favour by a grateful king. But with each enemy butchered to serve his vaulting ambition, Macbeth’s lust for power takes a more menacing grip. Lauded as one of the most fearless touring companies in the UK, Icarus’ new production goes straight for the jugular. Expect inventive performances and original live music.”

Find out more at Theatr Hafren



Stephen Greenblatt: Shakespeare’s Freedom

September 21, 2011

The latest issue of The Review of English Studies contains a review by Johann Gregory (Cardiff University) of Stephen Greenblatt’s Shakespeare’s Freedom.

Find out more here



September 19, 2011

From Shakespeare’s Globe:

“In 1603 moralist, Henry Crosse, described what happens to spectators while attending   a play: ‘for at a Play the whole faculty of the mind is altogether bent on delight; the eye earnestly fixed upon the object, every sense busied for the time, the ear narrowly waiteth to catch that [w]hat is uttered, sending it to wit’.

For Renaissance writers and thinkers, the senses were ordered in a hierarchy with the ‘princely’ senses of sight and hearing at the top, smell in the middle and the ‘sinful’ senses of taste and touch at the bottom. But despite this popular ordering of the senses, many playwrights and artists privileged the senses of taste and touch over the others.

This season, Globe Education will celebrate the senses by exploring how in Shakespeare’s time, they were imagined to be crucial gateways to the external world.”

Professor Richard Wilson from Cardiff University will be speaking at the Globe conference below:


Friday 4 – Sunday 6 November

Globe Education has gathered together a range of distinguished scholars and theatre practitioners to investigate the early modern culture of the senses as it pertains to the worlds of medicine, epistemology, music, performance, science, clothing and art. In addition to plenary lectures there will be panels and practical sessions on hearing, sight, smell, touch, taste and proprioception (the sixth sense). Speakers include: Dr Margaret Healy (Sussex), Professor Katherine Duncan-Jones (Oxford) Professor David Lindley (Leeds), Professor Ayana Thompson (ASU), Professor William West (Northwestern), Dr P.A. Skantze (Roehampton), Professor Richard Wilson (Cardiff), Dr Lucy Munro (Keele), Dr Eric Langley (Royal Holloway), Tom Cornford (Director), Professor Jonathan Hope (Strathclyde), Professor Patricia Cahill (Emory), Professor Lara Farina (West Virginia), Dr Katharine Craik (Oxford Brookes), Professor Benedict S. Robinson (Stonybrook), Professor Hristomir Stanev (Louisville).

The conference at the Globe will address three issues: first, the Renaissance theory of the senses and how its discourses impacted upon the imagination of the early modern playwright; second, the relationship between the senses and medicine in relationship to humoural psychology and the actor’s body; third, the Elizabethan and Jacobean theatres (outdoor and indoor) as multi-sensory producing spaces and the effects of performance upon the senses. In addition, this conference will address ways in which the senses can be integrated pedagogically into the university classroom in English and Theatre studies programmes. Scholars from a variety of disciplines (history, psychology, theatre, and English) will address these questions through scholarly papers and workshops (pedagogical and theatrical).  Finally, this conference hopes to revise the view that early modern theatre was either a place for ‘seeing’ or ‘hearing’; rather, play-going in this period was a multi-sensory experience involving a complex integration of all of the senses, which are called upon throughout a Shakespearean play.


Nancy W. Knowles Lecture Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe



Taffy Shakespeare

September 16, 2011

View Taffy_Sha...JPG in slide showJust in from the Fluellen Theatre Company:

Did Shakespeare really write his own plays? A hilarious new comedy has been written to point that the great man’s works may have originated from Wales.

Taffy Shakespeare tells the story of an Elizabethan Welsh stand-up comic who goes to London to seek his fortune, bumps into a struggling playwright with writer’s block called William Shakespeare, and ends up writing his plays for him.

However, Queen Elizabeth hates the Welsh and so the original titles such as ‘All’s Well in Taffs Well’, ‘Romeo and Blodwyn’, ‘The Taming of the Saesneg’ and ‘MacBethan’ have to be changed to their better-known titles in order to save him from the executioner’s axe.

Specially written for Fluellen Theatre Company as a one-man show forSwanseacomedian Kevin Johns MBE, this is a new, hysterically funny historic fiction.

“Working on this project has been a laugh a minute and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed doing so for the past month,” said Kevin, who plays Ianto Pugh and hails from the fictional rural village of Llanffunny.

“It’s a unique and excellently written piece of comedy and the reaction we have had to date has been a very positive one.

“We’ve showcased it in Swanseaand Porthcawl and to end our mini tour at the Tenby Arts Festival will be an absolute delight. It’s always a great place to visit; I’ve performed in the town before with a summer season production and the reception I had was out of this world.

“And the Tenby public are certainly in for a treat with Taffy Shakespeare – they will thoroughly enjoy it.”

Taffy Shakespeare writer, Francis Hardy, added: “This has turned out to be another successful project and we can’t wait to showcase it at the Tenby Arts Festival.

“It will be a great way to end our tour and I’m sure it’s something that the people of Tenby, and Pembrokeshire, will enjoy.

“They will love Kevin (Johns) and the way he brings his character to life; he’ll have everyone believing that Shakespeare’s plays were actually written by a Welshman.”

The show, which has already been performed at Swansea and Porthcawl, will end their debut with a debut visit to the Tenby Arts Festival.

It will take place on day one of the festival – Saturday September 17 – at Church House on Upper Frog Street (8pm).

Tickets will cost £8 and they can be purchased from the Box Office at Church House (enter via High Street), by telephoning 07815 571589 or at the door prior to the performance providing it hasn’t sold out.

Fluellen Theatre Company is based in Swansea and will premiere all of its productions at the city’s Grand Theatre before touring throughout Wales and beyond.

They will also present Shakespeare’s Cymbeline – which is part-set in Pembrokeshire – at The Gate in Roath on Thursday October 13.

More information can be found by visiting or on Twitter @FluellenTheatre


Much Ado About Nothing – Mappa Mundi

September 15, 2011

“After the critical and popular successes of their most recent touring productions – Dangerous Liaisons (2010), She Stoops To Conquer (2009) and The Importance Of Being Earnest (2008) – we are delighted to announce that Mappa Mundi – one of Wales’ most dynamic and popular theatre companies – return to Shakespeare for the first time since 2005.

Their next production, which will tour Wales and England in the autumn of 2011, will be Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.

Shakespeare’s popular comedy tells of two pairs of lovers, Benedick and Beatrice, and Claudio and Hero. Benedick and Beatrice are engaged in a “merry war”; they both talk a mile a minute and proclaim their scorn for love, marriage, and each other. In contrast, Claudio and Hero are sweet young people who are rendered practically speechless by their love for one another.

Benedick and Beatrice are tricked into confessing their love for each other, and Claudio is tricked into rejecting Hero at the altar. However, Dogberry,  a Constable who is a master of malapropisms, discovers—unbeknownst to himself—the evil trickery of the villain Don John.

With an eight strong cast this is perfect material for Mappa Mundi’s unmistakable theatrical style.”


They will be in Cardiff at the Coal Exchange on 18-19th October 2011. Find out about more tour dates and information here.




Shakespeare: Sources and Adaptation at Cambridge University

September 8, 2011

Alun Thomas (Cardiff University) and Johann Gregory (Cardiff University) will be in Cambridge this weekend to present their paper “Playing with Precedents in Shakespeare: Expectations in Richard III and Troilus and Cressida (abstract below).

Johann Gregory will also be chairing the session on Shakespeare and Terry Pratchett’s Discworld.

Historical, theatrical and literary precedents set up audience expectations for those in the know. Many audience members, for example, would be aware while watching a play about Julius Caesar that he was assassinated. Similarly, in Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida, audiences who had read Chaucer would know that Cressida apparently breaks her faith in past versions; if audiences had seen the Admiral’s Men stage Cressida as a leper, then they might expect her to meet a similar fate in the King’s Men’s production too. The tension of expectation is epitomised in Richard III in the figure of Queen Margaret. As some of the audience would know, by the time of the events of the play the real Margaret was dead; the Margaret we see onstage is both an anachronistic and unhistorical character. The first part of this paper engages with the historical expectations which are deliberately unfulfilled in Richard III and examines how the ghostly onstage presence of the dead Margaret unsettles the boundaries of historical drama. The second part addresses literary precedents in Troilus and Cressida, focusing on the figure of Cassandra who – as a prophesier – thinks she knows what is to come; it seeks to draw some conclusions about the relationships in the play between the promise of the characters, audience expectations and the potential for dramatic failure.

They will be speaking as part of the Cambridge Shakespeare conference:

Shakespeare: Sources and Adaptation 

(9-11th September, Cambridge University)


Hamlet & Poetry Conference in Cardiff

September 8, 2011
Conference poster

Date: 13-14 September 2011

Location: ATRiuM, University of Glamorgan, Cardiff, UK

Organised by: Dr Márta Minier (University of Glamorgan) and Dr Ruth J. Owen (Cardiff University)

Shakespeare’s Hamlet and its innumerable rewrites and intertextual traces have been shaping literary and cultural production for centuries. This multidisciplinary conference will bring together scholars of literature from Modern Languages, English, Drama, Translation Studies and Creative Writing to reflect on the rewrites and traces in poetry. It will focus on the interrelationships between Hamlet and poetry in terms of influence, allusion, intertextuality and transposition. Whilst Hamlet has made possible some great modern poems, the ramifications of Shakespeare’s play for poetry and poetics have been considerably less charted than the narrative and dramatic rewrites. This conference seeks to redress the balance by examining how, and to what ends, poetry has recourse to Hamlet, its fragments and its translations.

Find out more here.


Fabler Shakespeare Readers in Cardiff

September 7, 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: The Merchant of Venice

Sunday, Sept 11th, 2011, 6.30pm, Media Point, Chapter, Cardiff.

(Cost: £3 on the door)

The Jew of Malta  by Marlowe will follow on Oct 9th.

Chapter Arts Centre, Market Road, Canton, Cardiff

For more information about Fabler projects click here.


World Shakespeare Festival 2012

September 6, 2011


An “unprecedented gathering” of global performers and artists is to be revealed later today as part of the World Shakespeare Festival.

Next year’s festival, produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company, is part of the Cultural Olympiad, a series of artistic events for the 2012 Olympics.

Festival director Deborah Shaw has said it will explore “tectonic shifts in society” through the bard’s plays.

Performances will take place both in London and across the UK.

The festival, which is also part of the Cultural Olympiad’s London 2012 Festival, will run from 23 April to 9 September and celebrates Shakespeare as the “world’s playwright”.

Find out more and read more from the BBC here.

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