Shakespeare: A knack for following theatrical fashion

Venice. Two faithful friends are pitted against a vengeful moneylender who is out for blood. In a climactic trial scene they proclaim their willingness to die for each other; the moneylender’s revenge rebounds against him when a woman outwits him, and in a further twist of the knife his daughter ends up married to a … Continue reading Shakespeare: A knack for following theatrical fashion

“What is a house?”

Recently, I was lucky enough to attend the Before Shakespeare project’s first Advisory Board meeting. The above question, posed by Dr Andy Kesson, provides a good example of the project’s opening strategy. The board was keen to interrogate long-accepted terminology from the early modern studies toolbox, sometimes with disorientating effects (on this observer, at least) … Continue reading “What is a house?”

An Elizabethan Haunting: Antitheatricality and Playgoing

A haunted theatre these days is a perfect premise for a horror film. It is also, apparently, a backstage reality at a prominent West End venue, the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane—perhaps because it is the oldest surviving and functioning theatre construction in England. There are, of course, old superstitions about the Scottish Play and worries … Continue reading An Elizabethan Haunting: Antitheatricality and Playgoing

Putting the Shh into Shakespeare

In our first blog post I raised the question of the defining characteristics of the sixteenth and seventeenth century playhouses: their sheer number, their architectural and performance function, their attempts to capitalise on the art of theatre, and most crucially the way they were the product of working people as financiers, artists and core audience. … Continue reading Putting the Shh into Shakespeare