BLENHEIM PRE-SHOW TALKS

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Wednesday 10th July - Playhouses in Shakespeare’s Time
Professor Tiffany Stern (The Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon-Avon)

This free pre-show talk considers early modern playhouses: what were they like? what were their multiple uses were? how does understanding how they functioned affect our understanding of Shakespeare?

In lively and scholarly ways, Professor Stern will focus in turn on the two parts of the word ‘playhouse’: first on the various forms of ‘play’ – play meaning fun – that were sold within playhouses, including food, drink, books, ballads, prostitution and drama; second on the various forms of ‘house’ – house meaning habitation or clan – that made up playhouses, including tap-houses, tiring-houses, necessary-houses and the actors themselves.

Tiffany Stern is Professor of Shakespeare and Early Modern Drama at the Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon-Avon (University of Birmingham). She is a distinguished scholar of performance practices in the Early Modern period. Her books include Rehearsal from Shakespeare to Sheridan (2000); Making Shakespeare (2004); [with Simon Palfrey] Shakespeare in Parts (2007; winner of the 2009 David Bevington Award for Best New Book in Early Drama Studies); Documents of Early Modern Performance (2009; winner of the 2010 David Bevington Award for Best New Book in Early Drama Studies); co-edited collection of essays with Farah Karim-Cooper, Shakespeare’s Theatres and the Effects of Performance (2013).

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Thursday 11th July - A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Professor Judith Buchanan (University of York)

What do we find in Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream? Fairies, mortals, mechanicals, a wood near Athens and lots of fun. But amidst the frolicking and the comic pickles, there are other forces at work too.

Come along for a lively free pre-show talk that will attend specifically to some key moments in the play, refresh your understanding of the play and give you plenty to listen out for in attending Juliet Forster’s and Tom Wright’s rip-roaring production in Shakespeare's Rose Theatre.

Judith Buchanan is Professor of Film and Literature and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of York. A Shakespearean with a special interest in performance, she co-wrote and was Shakespeare advisor to the recently released British Macbeth feature film, directed by Kit Monkman. She has published widely on Shakespeare films and performance history and she speaks regularly to public and audiences in the UK and internationally.

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Thursday 23rd July - Romeo and Juliet
Professor Emma Smith (University of Oxford)

There is no better way to prepare for a performance of Romeo and Juliet in the Shakespeare Rose Theatre in Blenheim than to hear Professor Emma Smith speak about the play.

Rediscover some of the nuances of Shakespeare’s language, have an opportunity to focus attentively on some key passages, consider how Shakespearean tragedy works and, in the process, enrich your own theatrical experience of Juliet Forster’s wonderful production in Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre.

Emma Smith is Professor of Shakespeare Studies at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Hertford College, Oxford. Her research interests are in early modern drama and Shakespeare, especially modern reception in criticism and performance. Recent publications include Shakespeare’s First Folio: Four Centuries of an Iconic Book (OUP, 2016) and This is Shakespeare (Pelican, 2019). She speaks and broadcasts widely on Shakespeare and literary history.

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Wednesday 24th July - Macbeth
Professor Judith Buchanan (University of York)

In this lively free pre-show talk, Judith Buchanan will invite us to look in detail at various key passages from the play to think about the vitality of Macbeth’s own thought processes and language, how Shakespeare shows characters both revealing and obscuring the complexity of their own motivations, and how acts both of looking forward and looking backwards frame some of the most important things in the play.

The talk will help alert audiences, with a degree of heightened attention, to some key moments in Damian Cruden’s and Tom Wright’s vigorous production in Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre./p>

Judith Buchanan is Professor of Film and Literature and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of York. A Shakespearean with a special interest in performance, she co-wrote and was Shakespeare advisor to the recently released British Macbeth feature film, directed by Kit Monkman. She has published widely on Shakespeare films and performance history and she speaks regularly to public and audiences in the UK and internationally.

Free Event Tickets