Posts Tagged ‘Lancaster University’


Shakespeare Inside-out in Lancaster

February 24, 2012

British Shakespeare Association
10th Anniversary Conference
24-26 February, 2012


Elizabeth Ford and Richard Wilson from Cardiff University will be taking part in the British Shakespeare Association Conference in Lancaster this weekend.



(SUNDAY 26th)

Panel 39: ‘Clowning’ Workshop and paper (2.00 pm – 3.30 pm, Studio A29 LICA Building)

Chair: Steve Longstaffe

Placing and Spacing the Clown: Launce in The Two Gentlemen of Verona

Elizabeth Ford, Cardiff University.

It is generally accepted that the clown role of Launce in The Two Gentlemen of Verona was added to the play for the actor Will Kemp. Kemp/Launce operates chiefly in the intermediate space of the on-stage area identified by Robert Weimann as the ‘platea’, and is associated by most critics with the residual features of festive ‘clownage’ still at large in the early 1590s. But along with his ‘cur’, Crab, Launce also acts as a burlesque parallel to the themes of love and friendship in the wider play.  The role, therefore, explores but also joins the liminal space of performance between stage and yard in popular Elizabethan theatre, providing Shakespeare with a ludic prototype for a host of clowns and fools to come.  Kemp’s Launce instils Shakespeare’s first comedy with an experimental performative edge – one which shines through Ralph Crane’s literary mediation of the play for inclusion in the First Folio.  In this paper, I will show how the only early extant text of the work captures Kemp’s performance, and how the transitory and evolving spaces of clown and author can be glimpsed behind the Folio’s static textuality.


(SUNDAY 26th)

Panel 24: Shakespeare and I (10.00 am – 11.30 am Conference Centre Room 1) Chair: Ramona Wray

Panel leaders: Will McKenzie (Birkbeck, London) Theodora Papadopoulou (University of Cyprus)

Participants: Simon Palfrey (Brasenose College, Oxford University) Richard Wilson (Cardiff University) Phil Davis (University of Liverpool) Paul Edmondson (Shakespeare Birthplace Trust).

The aim of this panel is to bring together for discussion some of the contributors to the collection of essays Shakespeare and I (in press to be published by Continuum in early 2012).The book, part of Continuum’s innovative, provocative Shakespeare NOW! series, strives to advance a new, active, self-invested critical writing; it challenges its contributors and readers to explore their deepest, most intimate responses to the plays and poems. Shakespeare and I argues passionately that critical writing must assay the difficult task of articulating life-forging, life-changing effects of literary art: that these irreducibly personal, formative (and transformative) experiences are a legitimate, if not essential, object for critical writing.

The BSA conference provides an ideal forum for discussion of the book and the living, breathing kind of critical thought and practice it presents. The contributors to the book assembled here do not only consider how aesthetic experience’s fierce energy mocks feeble boundaries of ‘subject’ and ‘object’, ‘inner’ and ‘outer’, ‘play’ and ‘playgoer’, ‘text’ and ‘reader’; they have also, much more riskily, turned themselves ‘inside out’ by publishing in this avowedly autobiographical critical text something of their own sense and intuition of themselves. The panel seeks to explore the consequences of such a step. After presenting a small extract from their essay, the contributors will each be asked to reflect on the difficulties, lessons, even pleasures, of writing it. How did the exercise change their perspectives on Shakespeare, criticism or, indeed, on themselves? In the general discussion which follows, we would hope to stimulate a thoughtful discussion on the value of self-investment in any literary consideration of Shakespeare, and the new formal shapes for criticism that this might necessitate and entail.



A Colloquium with Terry Eagleton

April 28, 2011

Re-reading William Shakespeare Twenty-five Years On:

A Colloquium with Terry Eagleton

Northern Renaissance Seminar

Saturday 7 May 2011, Storey Institute, Lancaster

Speakers include:

John Drakakis, Peter Womack, Marion Wynne-Davies, Richard Wilson

Find out more here.


CFP Shakespeare Inside-out: Depth/Surface/Meaning

March 10, 2011

5th Biennial British Shakespeare Association Conference



On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the BSA Events Committee, we are delighted to announce that the 5th Biennial British Shakespeare Association conference will take place at Lancaster University on 24th-26th February 2012. Building on the success of our previous conferences at King’s College, Warwick, Newcastle and De Monfort, this conference will provide an opportunity for Shakespeareans from a variety of backgrounds to come together and discuss their work. By moving the conference date to February, we are also able to celebrate the BSA’s 10th birthday. We very much look forward to working with Professor Alison Findlay and her team at the University of Lancaster on this major event for the British Shakespeare Association.


The title of the conference is Shakespeare Inside-out: Depth/Surface/Meaning. Shakespeare’s texts produce meaning by turning insides out. We are drawn into the plays and poems from the outside through surfaces: books, screens, words, objects, costumes, the surfaces of actors’ faces and bodies, retellings or adaptations, teaching spaces and theatres, and via our experiences of immediate effects like music, laughter, tears, movement. The texts, meanwhile, turn deep human questions, emotions, subjectivities outwards by projecting them as words and performance. This conference will ask how the relationship between surface and depth operates in Shakespeare’s work. How does it function in different types of performance practice from live theatre to film? In the traces of the past that have come down to us? And in our practices as teachers and critics? The conference will explore ‘the deep value of surfaces’ (Shusterman), the dynamic relationship between surface and depth across a range of practices: reading, watching, editing, teaching, performing.

The conference programme includes lectures, workshops, seminars and performances of Much Ado About Nothing at Lancaster Castle (and Love’s Labours’ Lost by Northern Broadsides). Speakers include Barrie Rutter (Northern Broadsides), Professor Jean E. Howard (Columbia University); and Professor R. S. White (Centre for Excellence for the Study of History of the Emotions, University of Western Australia).

Proposals for panels, papers, workshops or presentations on any aspect of the topic are welcomed from across the membership of the BSA by 1 October 2011 and can be emailed to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
How do rituals and ceremonies in Shakespeare work as superficial orderings of emotion and violence?

Do Shakespeare’s texts offer ‘deeper’ rewritings of source texts or do the inter-textual relationships themselves deserve more in-depth study than they have received to date?

How do adaptations or retellings of Shakespeare act as gateways to and from the texts?

Does music in Shakespearean performances add depth or is it the ‘icing on the cake’?

How much deeper can we dig behind the fairly sparse documentation of early modern theatre practices – playing and watching?

Does learning about Shakespeare happen on an immediately-measurable level or at more intangible cognitive, affective and spiritual levels or both at once?

Is it possible (or even desirable) to quantify what goes on as the result of a performance, a film, a teaching session?


View the BSA website here.

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