Abstracts and Biographies

Here’s more detailed information about the papers being presented and their authors. Abstracts are presented in alphabetical order by surname of first presenter, with the biographies of each presenter of that paper underneath the abstract.

Printable version here: Abstracts and Biogs To conserve paper, we won’t be distributing printed copies.

Theatre Companies Presenting Workshops:

Bell Shakespeare – Represented here by Jo Erskine, Education Manager

Come you Spirits – Represented here by Jo Bloom and Charles Mayer, co-founders

Bare Witness – Represented here by Chris Caroll, Artistic Director

Time Out of Joint – Represented here by Steve Rowland and Amiti Bey

Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles – Represented here by Laura Turchi and Kimiko Warner-Turner


Sarah Armstrong

‘The [W]ill is Infinite’: Emotional Empathy and the Place of Shakespeare in Medical Education

Progress is being made in medical education to bridge the traditional dichotomy of science and humanities. Integrating the works of William Shakespeare into the curriculum of medical schools has been discussed in recent scholarship (Gillis, 2018), but rarely trialled. Our pilot study conducted with students at the Australian National University Medical School investigated the benefit of harnessing Shakespeare to explore emotional empathy in medical students. In pre-clinical years, student doctors are often taught that cognitive, rather than emotional empathy, is a more sustainable form of compassion and mitigates the risk of so-called ‘compassion fatigue’. There is concern that empathy declines in student doctors during medical school, and that the overwhelmingly scientific focus of medical education contributes to students losing sight of the ‘human side’ of patient interactions. It is also widely acknowledged that the portrayal of human relationships in drama and prose can nurture empathy in clinical practice (Jeffrey, 2021). This paper will share the results of our pilot, where medical students explored excerpts from King Richard III and Macbeth, and reflected on their emotional and clinical responses. Using the definitions of empathy posed by Jeffrey (2021) and Fischer (2017), we argue that participation in Shakespearean drama, in the capacity of a spectator or performer, might help medical students to be more aware of their emotional responses towards patients, and to exercise a more sustainable emotional empathy in clinical practice. In this way, we use a health humanities approach to take Shakespeare ‘beyond’ English education and into the medical school.

Sarah Armstrong completed her Bachelor of Health Science degree at the Australian National University (ANU) in 2021. She began the four-year postgraduate Doctor of Medicine and Surgery degree at the ANU in 2022. Sarah has a passion for Shakespeare studies and is currently researching the use of Shakespeare to explore emotional empathy in medical students under the supervision of Dr Claire Hansen (ANU) and Dr Bríd Phillips (University of Western Australia).


Karen Attar

From Barbican to Bloomsbury via the World: The University of London’s First Folios 

With two First Folios and three copies each of the Second, Third and Fourth Folios, Senate House Library at the University of London is one of the world’s wealthiest libraries in terms of early Shakespeare folios. The proposed paper discusses the Library’s two First Folios. It engages with their immediate former owners, the Edwardian Baconian Sir Edwin Durning-Lawrence (1837-1914) and the EMI Director Sir Louis Sterling (1879-1958), and the place played by the Folios in these owners’ collections: in one as the pinnacle of English literature, in the other as homage to Sir Francis Bacon. Each has a particular significance, Durning-Lawrence’s for a rare reading in Othello, Sterling’s for having been one of the earliest copies to have been made into a set and for being the first copy known to have crossed the Atlantic. The paper traces the history of each of the two copies before these owners acquired them, going back to the late eighteenth century for Durning-Lawrence’s folio and the early nineteenth century for Sterling’s. It will also look at the role the Folios played in the University Library and the treatment of them. This extends to the nefarious and thwarted proposal in 2013 to sell the Sterling copy (with the copies of the Second, Third and Fourth Folios with which it was uniformly bound) and what the protests against the attempt showed about attitudes to the Folios by bibliographers and others world-wide.

Dr Karen Attar (B.A. Hons. (Class I), Sydney; PhD Cantab.) is the Curator of Rare Books at Senate House Library, and a Research Fellow of the Institute of English Studies, both of the University of London. She currently on secondment as the Senior Librarian, Rare Books, at the State Library of New South Wales. She has co-curated Shakespeare exhibitions both in Sydney and in London. Her publications include ‘Folios in Context: Collecting Shakespeare at the University of London’ (The Library, 2018) and an edition of an early Baconian manuscript in Shakespeare Survey.


Hannah August

Forget about the Folio – traces of affective reading in two early modern play quartos 

In a copy of the 1599 second quarto of Romeo and Juliet held at the Elizabethan Club at Yale University, a notorious inscription in a seventeenth-century hand reads “Elisabeth Rotton/ Her lot is to b neat”. Previous scholars have taken this name and its accompanying anagrammatization to be autograph inscriptions – Elisabeth Rotton’s own self-aware assessment of her limited life prospects as an early modern woman, encoded in the letters of her name. Yet the reappearance of Elisabeth Rotton’s name in the same hand in a copy of the 1618 edition of Thomas Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy held in the Bodleian Library, where it is instead part of a reminiscence about the death of a cousin (“Betty Rotton”), forces us to confront our eagerness to assume that women’s name inscriptions in early modern playbooks are proof of women’s readership. Instead, the marginal location of the inscriptions in both playbooks, and the apparent pertinence of the adjacent printed text, suggest that early modern playreading could be more affective as an experience than scholarship on dramatic commonplacing has signalled. The instance also signals the rewards that come from paying attention to early modern playbooks that were not published in 1623, and of mapping the global dispersal of early readers’ collections of plays.

This paper encourages us to forget about the First Folio momentarily, and instead invites an exploration of the topics described above.

Hannah August is Senior Lecturer in English at Massey University, New Zealand. She is the author of Playbooks and their Readers in Early Modern England (Routledge, 2022) and has recently written an updated introduction for the Oxford World’s Classics edition of Romeo and Juliet.


Rebekah Bale

The Urgency of Theatre: Shakespeare, Sony Labou Tansi and Pushing the Boundaries of Performance. 

What happens when Shakespeare moves beyond all limits?

When it is adapted, written in French, and performed in the Republic of Congo? When it is re-written, in an absurdist style, by a magical realist writer who claims his only similarity with his source is their shared dedication to the political urgency and immediacy of theatre? A writer whose audiences were as likely to be illiterate in the 1990s as Shakespeare’s were in the 1590s?

In the case of Sony Labou Tansi (1947-1995) these are all ways in which Shakespeare has exploded beyond his geographical, temporal, and linguistic limits. He wrote two adaptations, Moi, veuve de l’empire (1987) and La résurrection rouge et blanche de Roméo et Juliette, (1990) both of which were performed in France and in Africa. These works make use of Shakespeare in unique ways which challenge certain theories of adaptation.

The aim of this paper is to examine these authorial decisions and to claim that Sony’s plays, whilst radically different in content from their sources, address similar needs in terms of theatrical and political urgency. Sony used theatre as a means to speak to the powerless and vulnerable, communicating important messages in a predominantly oral culture. His audiences faced political turmoil, poverty and religious strife as well as geographical isolation and he faced criticism for writing in French and taking funding and patronage from European organisations. His struggles inside and outside the theatre form a strange connection with his source, five hundred years earlier.

Dr. Rebekah Bale is Assistant Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at Hong Kong Shue Yan University. Her research interests revolve around Shakespeare in contemporary fiction, Shakespearean adaptations in Francophone Africa and Southeast Asia. Her most recent publications are “Asian Shakespearean Tourism” with Henrique Ngan in Ormsby and Pye (Eds.) Shakespeare and Tourism (Routledge, 2022) and “The world to me is but a ceaseless storm”: Pericles, The Porpoise and the Resistance of Exile” forthcoming in Comparative Drama – Special Issue, Summer 2023.


Sarah Barnard

Shakespeare in the Primary School

Shakespeare transports students into a world of wonder and magic. Introducing Shakespeare to primary school students is the perfect antidote to eliminating Shakespeare “fear” at high school. In my paper I plan to share practical examples of how you can approach Shakespeare in Primary schools. I explore case studies in which Shakespeare was incorporated into the K-6 Creative Arts syllabus. If we can engage students in Shakespeare in a practical manner early on, this will banish misconceptions about the Bard!  Primary school students love imagination and play. They are keen and agile learners and enjoy creativity and fun. The possibilities are endless when it comes to exploring the wonderful worlds of Shakespeare!

Sarah Barnard is a Drama and English Teacher originally from Manchester in the UK. She studied a B.A (Hons) English and Drama at the University of Central Lancashire, specialising in Shakespeare. Sarah has a Graduate Diploma in Education from UNSW and is currently studying a Masters in Theatre and Performance. She was on the Bell Shakespeare Regional Teacher Mentorship in 2022. Sarah’s research interests are teaching Shakespeare in the Primary school.


Victoria Bladen

Shakespeare for the Posthuman Future 

In facing the potentially limitless challenges of a posthuman future, literary studies is both threatened and yet well-equipped, particularly through our engagement with Shakespeare and his early modern contemporaries. As the authors of The Cambridge Companion to Literature and the Posthuman (2017) illustrate, literature from every era, dating back to antiquity, has imagined human intersections with the non-human, with supernatural power, and with the creative possibilities and risks in these interactions; and this holds particular relevance for early modern culture. In considering the contested and ethically charged spaces between humanity and technology, we are reminded that Shakespeare has always been interested in such spaces of encounter, and new technologies that herald the posthuman will send us back to questions about what constitutes the human, its potentialities and borders, and what is at stake with technologies that remind us of why we study the humanities, and need human creativity, empathy and critical analytic skills to face emerging ethical questions. This paper draws on the work of adaptation theorists such as Linda Hutcheon, and the examples of Joel Coen’s screen adaptation The Tragedy of Macbeth (2021) and RSC’s 2017 The Tempest on stage, which used digital technology to double Ariel, to explore how we might use Shakespeare to think through the challenges and ethics of the posthuman world.

Dr Victoria Bladen teaches in literary studies and adaptation at University of Queensland. Her publications include The Tree of Life and Arboreal Aesthetics in Early Modern Literature (Routledge, 2022); seven Shakespearean text guides in the Insight Publications (Melbourne) series: The Taming of the Shrew (2021); Much Ado About Nothing (2020); The Merchant of Venice (2020); Measure for Measure (2015), Henry IV Part 1 (2012), Julius Caesar (2011), and Romeo and Juliet (2010); and eight co-edited volumes including Onscreen Allusions to Shakespeare (Palgrave, 2022); Shakespeare and the Supernatural (Manchester UP 2020); and Shakespeare on Screen: Romeo and Juliet (Cambridge UP, forthcoming).


Jo Bloom & Charles Mayer

Shakespeare, reclaiming magicby Come you Spirits

What happens when you use Shakespeare as a vehicle to give audiences an experience of their own magic?

Co-founders of the Come you Spirits theatre troupe bring over a decade of main stage and independent Shakespeare experience from around the world. Establishing Come you Spirits in 2021, they tour a repertoire of four different Shakespeare plays nationally and internationally, and now share their learnings about the potent alchemy of Shakespeare. The play length is condensed and the magical elements of the narrative is enhanced – delivered using ancient practices from around the globe.

How? They make sound reflect and resonate in each space with an amplified soundtrack composed to the keys of the human energies, and incorporate live sound healing instruments; they “suit the action to the word” in dynamic exchange between characters with the electric chi energy of Qi Gong, and they choose emotionally powerful natural and often sacred settings and make innovative staging choices interweaving nature in the narrative. Their intention? To raise the frequency of the audience creating wellbeing and connection. To the question, “Can Shakespeare be a vehicle to assist physiological healing and expansion of consciousness?”, the audiences’, critics’ and academics’ acclaim and answer has been: “Yes.”

Jo Bloom, Co-founder, Actor and Producer for Come you Spirits has worked as an actor, director, producer, educator and playwright across Australia and the UK. Her passion for Shakespeare and classical theatre has seen her perform in principal roles in over 20 productions. Jo worked with the Australian Shakespeare Company (ASC) for 11 years in many capacities including establishing their Education Program taking Shakespeare to schools across the country and delivering workshops for all ages, Prior to the ASC Jo ’s 5 years in the UK saw her tour Shakespeare to castles with the British Shakespeare Company, the Minnak Theatre UK, the Edinburgh Festival, the Swan Theatre, and in Stratford-Upon-Avon. On screen Jo has a children’s TV Series due for international release in late 2023 called McKenzieSunshine,co-written with Marcus Graham based on her theatre creation Alphabet Avenue which toured nationally for 3 years. Jo is also a certified ThetaHealing and Cacao Ceremony Practitioner and mum of 2 young boys.

Charles Mayer, Co-founder, Actor and Producer for Come you Spirits  is a 52 year old English actor living and working in Australia since 2012. After 11 years as a British Army officer, Charles got a degree in acting from Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London and has since worked on stage in the West End, for four years in Shanghai, for six years in Adelaide working in three shows with State Theatre Company of South Australia (one of which had a season at STC), on two shows with Pop-Up Globe in Auckland, and one at the Old Fitz. Most recent work is feature film I AMwith Marcus Graham in Sydney winning multiple Best Actor awards, The Wind in The Willows with The Australian Shakespeare Company in Melbourne.


Lucy Boon

Beyond fidelity: a study of creative process when queering early modern drama 

A central concern of adaptation studies, fidelity criticism is described by Linda Hutcheon as the belief that “the proximity or fidelity to the adapted text should be the criterion of judgement or the focus of analysis” (6). However, despite being problematised in academic discourse since the mid 20th century questions of fidelity remain active in the creation and reception of Shakespeare adaptations. As such, my research considers how fidelity might be utilised as a creative tool in the rehearsal room when queering early modern drama. This paper details my research findings when undertaking a creative development titled Queer For Shakespeare.  In the development, we investigated two early modern dramatic texts, Galatea by John Lyly and Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare, exploring how various “fidelities” and other group investments can manifest in devising processes, and impact on creative outcomes. It explores the conceptual resonance between queering (defined here a mode of adaptation which seeks to reveal what Christine Vernado describes as “moments in the text where desire makes strange motions” (3)) and fidelity, both of which are intimately bound up in the personal experiences, ideologies, and perceptions of the adapters (and indeed co-authors) of the plays in question.  This practice-led investigation moves beyond the fidelity debate by considering how such attachment(s) might be utilised as creative tools when queering early modern drama.

Lucy Boon is a PhD candidate at Australian National University. Her research examines contemporary processes of queering early modern drama. Boon is an award-winning theatre maker and playwright, and is the Artistic Director of Acoustic Theatre, an independent theatre company in Australia specialising in queer devised musicals. She holds a Masters of Business: Arts and Cultural Management from Deakin University and was awarded Best Graduate in her 2021 class. She is currently employed at Bell Shakespeare, Australian’s leading Shakespeare theatre company, as a Manager in Development.


Mark Bradbeer

Thomas Nashe and Robert Greene on “the skirts of this wild wood” of As You Like It

Thomas Lodge’s Rosalynde (1590) is the main source of Shakespeare’s play, As You Like It, but there are added topical references, such as to the playwright, Christopher Marlowe (3.3.12 & 3.5.82). The clowns, Jaques and Touchstone, are also Shakespeare’s creations. These may be caricatures of the contemporary satirists, Thomas Nashe and Robert Greene.

The play’s outlawed duke, who has taken refuge in the wild woods, hears about the approaching traveller, Jaques, who regards this Duke to be a usurper. Jaques’s description includes an unusual morality tale derived from a passage also attacking a “usurper”, in Nashe’s Pierce Penniless (1592).

In Nashe’s The Unfortunate Traveller (1594), the main character, Jack, “made a long stride and got to Venice in short time”. As if in reply, the play’s Rosalind ridicules the moralizing and hypocritical Jaques, saying “I scarce think you have swam [embarked] in a gondola”. Although ridiculed as a Jake (i.e. a toilet), Jaques also resembles Nashe’s Jack.

Jaques’ mentor is the motley clown, Touchstone. In 1593, Harvey described Nashe as “the ape of Greene”, while Greene was a “motley” and Nashe’s “Touchstone”. The play’s motley, Touchstone, appears to be named after Greene.

Satires concerning Nashe were forbidden by the 1599 Bishops Ban. The following year, As You Like It was one of six Shakespeare plays presented to the Stationers’ Register, but the only one refused registration such that it was not published until 1623. This further suggests that this play is a satire of the satirist, Nashe.

Mark Bradbeer is a researcher in Melbourne, Australia, with a publication record predominantly in the biomedical sciences, but in 2012, he presented a paper on Edward III at the ANZSA conference, and in 2018, he presented a paper on Comedy of Errors at the BSA conference. Since retiring, he has published on various authorship issues such as the 1593 Dutch Church Libel and Shakespeare’s History plays. In 2022, Routledge published his book, Aemilia Lanyer as Shakespeare’s Co-Author, which provides new evidence supporting of some of themes of the award-winning play, Emilia (2018), written by Morgan Lloyd Malcom.


Urvashi Chakravarty

Ungendered Pasts, Racial Futures: Shakespeare at the Limits of Whiteness

This talk reflects on what it means to read Shakespeare within, and beyond, the limits of whiteness as an interpretive lens and a racial strategy. Looking particularly at The Merchant of Venice and King Lear alongside queer, trans, and critical race studies, this talk explores how and why the imperatives of whiteness have shaped our readings of gender, queerness, and performativity in Shakespeare and continue to circumscribe our imaginaries of the future, and argues for renewed critical commitments and political pathways beyond the limits of whiteness.

Urvashi Chakravarty is Associate Professor of Renaissance Literature at the University of Toronto, Canada. She works on early modern English literature, critical race studies, queer studies, and the history of slavery. Her most recent book is Fictions of Consent: Slavery, Servitude, and Free Service in Early Modern England.


Darryl Chalk

“‘The uttermost that magic can perform’: Conjuring Manuscripts and The Devil’s Charter” 

The Devil’s Charter contains some of the most spectacular scenes involving magic and devils on the early modern stage. The significance of such scenes, however, has generally been downplayed by the few scholars who have taken Barnabe Barnes’ incendiary play seriously. Of the elaborate demon summoning in Act 4 Scene 1, for example, Barbara Howard Traister has claimed that “the conjuration is merely representational, not what would really be spoken according to conjuring manuals”. This paper will suggest that, quite to the contrary, not only does this play feature language and practice appropriate to ritual magic in this period, it also utilises verbatim material from contemporary grimoires. I will present evidence from two such manuscripts that appear to be directly cited in The Devil’s Charter — the Folger grimoire (MS v.b.26) and a set of sixteenth-century magical tracts collected by Arthur Gauntlett (Sloane MS 3851)—and consider the implications of Barnes’ disturbingly accurate theatricalisation of demonic magic in relation to the play’s performance by Shakespeare’s company at Whitehall Palace in early 1607 to an audience including the demon-obsessed King James I.

Darryl Chalk is Theatre Discipline Convenor and a Senior Lecturer at the University of Southern Queensland and Treasurer of ANZSA. He is co-editor of Contagion and the Shakespearean Stage (with Mary Floyd-Wilson, Palgrave, 2019), Rapt in Secret Studies: Emerging Shakespeares (with Laurie Johnson, Cambridge Scholars, 2010), and has published a range of articles and book chapters on contagion, emotion, and theatricality in Shakespearean drama. His current project is Caregiving in Shakespeare’s Changing World, a volume for Arden Shakespeare, co-edited with Rebecca Totaro (Florida Gulf Coast University).


Wai Fong Cheang 鄭惠芳

Horses, the Wooden O and Film: Shakespeare’s Animals in 1 Henry IV

As soon as Shakespeare’s 1 Henry IV begins, the English king invokes a powerful image of horses in relation to military conflict: “the armed hoofs / Of hostile paces” (1.1.8-9). Throughout the play, Hal, Falstaff, Hotspur and many other characters discuss about and joke about horses and horsemanship. In a prank, Hal takes away Falstaff’s horse to make the fat man walk afoot. Horses, which are the main source of muscle power in preindustrial world, play a significant role in Shakespeare’s 1 Henry IV both in serious incidents and jesting moments. Nevertheless, since the wooden O of the theater might not accommodate these big animals, they were in conceptual presence. With film as media of Shakespeare’s plays today, these animal absentees have acquired a chance to be visually present. This paper examines horses alongside other animal images in film adaptations of 1 Henry IV to appreciate their transformation from stage to film. It attempts to show that the appeal of them on stage and on film has to be recognized in relation to their social-historical contexts.

Wai Fong Cheang is Professor of English at Center for General Education, Chang Gung University, Taiwan. She acquired her PhD from the Graduate Institute of Foreign Languages and Literatures, National Taiwan University, Taiwan. She was visiting scholar at the Department of English at Harvard University in the academic year 2014. She has published on Shakespeare, English and American literature, and cultural studies.


Qian Chen

Hamlet in Chinese Traditional Opera 

Listed, like Macbeth, as one of the four great tragedies of Shakespeare, Hamlet has always been a favourite of the theatre. Critics have often shown more interest in analysing Hamlet’s character than the plot of Hamlet the play. If, as the saying goes, “there are a thousand Hamlets in a thousand people’s eyes”, there are also a thousand Hamlets on a thousand stages, though clearly there have been recognizable continuities as well. Those Hamlets on the stage of Chinese traditional opera appear to be distinctive and alien, but attractive.

Adapting Hamlet into Chinese traditional opera is even more challenging than adapting Macbeth, the sensational plots and unidirectional structure of which lend themselves to performance. Hamlet, on the other hand, distinguishes itself more by its language, the ambiguity and rhetoric of which present notable difficulties for adaptation into another language, another culture, and another genre. At least nine adaptations can be identified so far, three of which will be discussed in this article according to their accessibility, reputation, and uniqueness. They are a Yue Opera version, The Revenge of the Prince; a Peking Opera version, The Revenge of Prince Zi Dan; and a Kun Opera version, I, Hamlet.

The three adaptations were produced in 1994, 2004, and 2016 respectively, in each case representing contemporary artistic style and demonstrating different approaches to xi qu performance across decades, as well as different perspectives on and interpretations of Hamlet.

Qian Chen is a researcher from Hunan University of Science and Technology, who is doing research on adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays in Chinese traditional opera. She has a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the Australian National University, majoring in Literature and Art, and a Master’s degree in translation from Central South University. She had also been an amateur Chinese opera actor for a few years.


Jennifer Clement

Middlebrow Shakespeare: No Bed for Bacon, Tradition, and Parody 

Caryl Brahms and S.J. Simon’s 1942 book No Bed for Bacon satirises Shakespeare, Francis Bacon, Elizabeth I, and much of the late Elizabethan London scene to killing effect. Brahms and Simon specialised in this kind of light comic novel in the 1930s and 40s, but they have received surprisingly little attention for their approach to Shakespeare, even though their book may (or may not) have played a part in the construction of the Oscar-winning film Shakespeare in Love. In this paper, I examine No Bed for Bacon as an example of what I am calling midcentury Shakespearean middlebrow. While Shakespearean references in middlebrow fiction have often been taken as efforts to appropriate Shakespeare’s perceived high cultural capital, more recent studies have suggested that Shakespearean references in such fiction – and the representation of Shakespeare himself – suggest a more complex and ambiguous attitude towards Shakespeare and his cultural legacy. In my reading, No Bed for Bacon articulates precisely this kind of middlebrow ambiguity about Shakespeare and his work, using Shakespeare to negotiate contemporary concerns about tradition, gender, and class.

Dr. Jennifer Clement is a senior lecturer in English Literature at the University of Queensland, where she teaches Shakespeare and Advanced Humanities subjects. She works on Shakespearean adaptation, early modern religious writing, and the history of emotions, and has published extensively in these areas.


Sarah Courtis & Melissa Merchant

“There’s a double meaning in that”: Bogan Shakespeare and Double Access Audiences

“Friends, casuals, full-timers, lend me your ears I guess . . .” Since 2016, award winning Perth-based company Bogan Shakespeare have presented adaptations and appropriations of the Shakespearean canon, asking the questions “What if ‘The Bard of the Avon’ had been born today in WA?” and “What if Shakespeare but funny as f**k?” (for more information, see the CircuitWest website). Bogan Shakespeare began performing as part of the Perth Fringeworld Festival, opening in small venues and playing to sold out audiences. Since then, they have moved to larger venues (including the Heath Ledger Theatre), branched out into other canonical texts, and have begun touring productions to regional centres in Western Australia. This paper explores how Bogan Shakespeare’s productions appeal to double access audiences, examining how the adaptations and appropriations facilitate engagement by inclusive and diverse audiences. In order to evaluate the potential benefits of their approach, this paper draws on theories of audience reception, adaptation and appropriation, double access audiences, and auto-ethnography. With unique insights into Bogan Shakespeare’s workshopping processes, we will consider how each Shakespearean text has been adapted with two audiences in mind, Shakespearean enthusiasts and Aussie ‘bogans.’ We will consider the fluidity of the team’s creative process as it evolves from a base script, which is then workshopped and develops during each performance in response to the audience. Ultimately, this paper will explore the strategies, challenges and opportunities afforded by the Bogan Shakespeare company and maybe help to answer the question “To VB or not to VB?”

Melissa Merchant, PhD (Murdoch University, Western Australia) is Associate Dean Learning & Teaching and Academic Chair of English & Creative Arts in the School of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences. Her most recent research is divided between Shakespeare adaptations and contemporary performativity. She has contributed to Journal of Intercultural Studies, Journal of Postcolonial Writing, The Seventeenth Century, Outskirts, and M/C Journal, and published a chapter in The Routledge Companion to Disability and the Media (2020). Dr Merchant is also a co-editor of the forthcoming book Performing Identity in the Era of COVID-19.

Sarah Courtis, PhD (Murdoch University, Western Australia) is an Associate Lecturer of Career Learning and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). She also teaches at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) and is a member of the Australian Music Theatre Roundtable. Her research focus is the lyric in musical theatre and most recently she has been investigating the intersection of lyrics with race theory, disability studies and Queer theory. Dr Courtis works professionally as a stage manager and actor, including the comedy award winning Bogan Shakespeare production of Julius Caesar.


Kenneth Crowther

The Devil Beneath the Skull Beneath the Skin: Rejecting Modern Limitations on Webster 

Resolving tensions pertaining to the apparent aesthetic and ethical confusion of John Webster’s plays accounts for a significant portion of Websterian criticism over the last century. This paper joins this tradition by suggesting that Webster’s incoherence is an illusion of posterity. The oft-claimed ‘disjointed cryptic un-intelligibility’ of Webster’s dramatic action is not an accident of poor workmanship, but a symptom of his time. Taking seriously the religious and proto-scientific flux of Jacobean England reveals that, rather than incoherence, Webster’s plays present a confluence of demonism, humoralism, and religion that mirrors the paradoxically syncretic epistemic reality of early modern England. By rejecting modern limitations that either completely ignore or force metaphor upon the overt and continual references to Protestant devils, Catholic ghosts, Galenic sickness (and even the odd werewolf), the internal coherence of Webster’s plays can be redeemed for a modern audience.

Kenneth Crowther is a PhD Candidate at the University of Southern Queensland. His previous research focused upon the medieval sin of acedia in King Lear, Macbeth, and Timon of Athens. His current thesis examines the syncretism of meteorology, humoralism and demonism in the works of Shakespeare and John Webster. It is being undertaken with a   UniSQ Scholarship for the Playing Conditions research project.


Kirk Dodd

The Invention of Leontes’ ‘Affection!’ in The Winter’s Tale 

The character of Leontes in The Winter’s Tale is renowned for his mad jealousy and violent rejection of his pregnant wife and family, believing Hermione is having an affair with his good friend Polixenes. When Leontes begins to confront his suspicions, he is also famous for a speech known as his ‘Affection’ monologue or ‘rapture’, beginning with the apostrophe: ‘Affection? thy Intention stabs the Centre’. Mark van Doran calls this ‘the obscurest passage in Shakespeare’ and others have called it ‘deliberately incoherent’ or a ‘mysterious, mumbling half-soliloquy’, and yet Hallett Smith proposes that ‘a comprehensible reading of the Affectio passage is important because it has a bearing upon the whole question of the dramatic handling of Leontes’ jealousy… which has plagued critics of all schools.’ Whilst many focus on the word ‘Affection’ as key to Shakespeare’s meaning, this paper claims it is the word ‘Intention’ that causes confusion, arguing that this word should have been ‘Invention’ but for a compositor’s error that misplaced a ‘u’ with a ‘t’ (the word is always spelled ‘Inuention’ in the First Folio). The paper shows that when this error is corrected, so the line reads ‘Affection? thy Invention stabs the Centre’, the rest of Leontes’ rapture makes sense—with Leontes not only referring to the explosion of distractive thoughts invented by jealousy but also commenting philosophically on the rhetorical arts of invention used to prepare a legal case of conjecture: did Hermione commit adultery or not? I argue further that correcting this typo is important because it reveals a new example of Shakespeare’s understanding of rhetorical precepts that is otherwise shrouded by the compositor’s error.

Kirk Dodd is a Lecturer with the discipline of English at the University of Sydney. His research interests include Shakespeare’s applications of rhetorical invention and developing ‘Shakespearean’ blank verse dramas as part of his creative practice. He has written for Shakespeare, Early Modern Literary Studies, the International Journal of the Classical Traditionand TEXT. His creative work has been shortlisted for the Griffin Award and published by Australian Plays.


Joanna Erskine

To unpath’d waters, undream’d shores – Bell Shakespeare in remote Australian schools

Bell Shakespeare is Australia’s national theatre company specialising in Shakespeare, founded in 1990. Since its inception, the Company’s vision as set by Founding Artistic Director John Bell, is to ensure access to Shakespeare and high-quality arts experiences for all Australians, regardless of socioeconomic challenges or geographic location. In addition to a national touring program of in-theatre productions, the Company’s extensive education program reaches 80,000+ students and teachers face-to-face, in 90% of federal electorates, across every state and territory.

A key feature of Bell Shakespeare’s education program is engaging with schools, and mentoring teachers, in regional and remote Australia. This takes the Company into schools and communities experiencing myriad challenges including isolation, natural disasters, trauma, industry closures affecting employment, lack of resources, low levels of attendance, low value of education, and more. What value can Shakespeare have to young people in these communities? And how should we approach the meaningful teaching of his plays in such settings?

In this paper, Head of Education Joanna Erskine will share real stories of how Shakespeare’s plays are used as a vehicle for transformative learning for teachers and students in regional and remote Australian communities. From Christmas Island to Arnhem Land, from farming communities to mining centres, Erskine will detail how an active engagement with Shakespeare’s plays can enhance social, emotional and academic outcomes for young people in isolated Australian communities.

Joanna Erskine is an award-winning playwright, producer, teacher and arts education specialist. She is the Head of Education at Bell Shakespeare, where she has worked in education for 15+ years. A graduate of NIDA, Joanna is a two-time winner of the Silver Gull Play Award, 2023 Lysicrates Prize finalist, and founder and director of Storytellers Festival, a showcase and celebration of unproduced Australian writing, held annually at Kings Cross Theatre (KXT). Joanna’s plays have been staged at the Old Fitzroy Theatre, Griffin Theatre, Pier 2/3, KXT, ATYP, NIDA, Old 505 Theatre, Slide Bar, Bondi Pavilion, and in hundreds of schools around Australia. A former high school teacher, Joanna is passionate about writing for, and working with, young audiences and has written extensively for Bell Shakespeare, Camp Quality and Poetry In Action.


Lucy Eyre

Is adaptation a process of reimagining the limits of Shakespeare, or reclaiming his sense of justice and diversity? 

In 2014 I adapted and directed a modern-day production of Othello which was set in a compound of a fictional international security company; and in 2019 my production of The Merchant of Venice at the New Fortune Theatre, University of Western Australia, was set in 1938 fascist Italy as sweeping laws were introduced that had implications across minority groups. Using examples from my adaptations and other recent productions, this paper will examine the challenges in process and outcome when adapting and directing these plays. For instance, were broad assumptions implicitly or explicitly embraced or subverted; and were they dependant on social, political and economic conditions within historical periods or at the time of productions? Comparing the Zeitgeist of Elizabethan England with 1930s fascist Italy, and current globalised systems, the historical contexts will be discussed as a springboard for Shakespeare’s original and subsequent adaptations and directorial decisions. In particular, the approach of exploring potentialities as an act of solidarity with marginalised groups can reveal Shakespeare’s intelligence and foresight, while providing opportunities for practitioners to solve ‘inherent’ problems in these plays.

Lucy Eyre is a theatre practitioner (playwright, adapter, director, performer) and recently conducted a 2-hour workshop on Adapting Shakespeare at the British Shakespeare Association conference in Liverpool. In 2019, Lucy adapted and directed The Merchant of Venice at the New Fortune Theatre, University of Western Australia, which became the subject of an article in the Shakespeare journal for the Special Issue on ‘Shakespeare and the Jews’, November 2021. She also adapted and directed Othello within a global context for the Hills Shakespeare Festival in 2014. Lucy is a lecturer in playwriting and creative writing at Edith Cowan University.


Ewan Fernie

‘Volumes that I Prize Above My Dukedom’: Shakespeare Libraries, Shakespeare Scholarship and a Vocation Beyond Limits

This lecture will suggest that Shakespeare is the laureate, above all, of open-ended conversation, and that he has stimulated an ongoing, open-ended conversation ever since. This fundamental and redoubled spirit of free and unlimited exchange is rarely identified as the defining ideal characteristic of Shakespeare and Shakespearean criticism, but it was the central inspiration of the first great Shakespeare library in the world: the Birmingham Shakespeare Memorial Library, which was founded in 1864, and which has always belonged to all the people of the city.  Drawing on the history of Birmingham’s people’s Shakespeare library, Ewan Fernie will unfold some of the cultural and political ramifications of seeing Shakespeare and Shakespeare scholarship in these terms.  He will end by proposing that inasmuch as open-ended conversation is enshrined in Shakespeare libraries and scholarly institutions around the world it can still be a motivating and regenerating force in culture and society today.

A Tale of Two Folios – Ewan’s public lecture here.

Ewan Fernie is Chair of Shakespeare Studies and Fellow at the Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham. He is Director of the ‘Everything to Everybody’ Project, which aims to re-connect Birmingham’s communities with the city’s pioneering and politically progressive Shakespearean heritage.


Kate Flaherty

Between the Actor and the Book: New Ventures across the Fault-line

In 1881 William Poel staged the first quarto Hamlet on an empty stage in London. Poel was using a practical experiment to challenge the elaborate, picture-stage performance of Shakespeare. He eventually succeeded. He also planted the seed for a new method of studying drama—one that employs the actor, not just as a vehicle of interpretation, but as an agent of investigation.

Partly as a consequence, literary studies in the twentieth-century consolidated along a methodological fault line that runs straight through Shakespeare. On one side were approaches that focus on the text as a material entity rich with interpretative possibilities; on the other, approaches that investigate the physical and physiological environments in which dramatic art is made. Just a mountain range emerges over time, new terrain has been formed by the pressure these textual and performance approaches exert on one another.

One incentive to explore such terrain is that Shakespeare was no less an actor and playwright than an avid reader and author of books. Can his example illuminate the relationship between valuing books, ways of reading them, and dramatic creativity? What kind of reader was he? And what do actors bring to or take away from their reading? To tackle such fault-line questions I needed new methods and new companions. So in the anniversary year of Shakespeare’s posthumous great book, I invited Bell Shakespeare and the National Library of Australia to explore them with me. ‘Shakespeare the Reader’ and ‘Actors in the Archive’ were our two creative research collaborations. This paper reveals some of our early discoveries.

Kate Flaherty is a Senior Lecturer in English and Drama at ANU. Her monograph, Ours as We Play it: Australia Plays Shakespeare (2011) is the first book-length study of Australian Shakespeare. Other work investigates the public interplay of drama with education, gender, and empire in the 19th century. Among her publications are articles in Contemporary Theatre Review, Australian Studies, Shakespeare Survey, New Theatre Quarterly, The Guardian, and The Conversation; chapters and co-edited volumes from Routledge and Palgrave; and chapters in books from CUP and Arden Shakespeare. Her current book is Moving Women: The Touring Actress and the Politics of Modernity. Kate is a recipient of the ANU VC’s Award for Excellence in Education, and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


Cathryn Flores

Ricardo/Richard II: Film Scoring Bilingual Shakespeare

The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic halted the 2020 live theatrical seasons of global theatres, from Shakespeare’s Globe in London to New York City’s Broadway Theatres, to community organizations all over the world. The 2020 YouTube debut of the adapted bilingual Shakespeare series Ricardo/Richard II by Merced Shakespearefest (in partnership with students and faculty at the University of California, Merced-USA) embraced the use of subtitling and music performance as alternative methods of linguistic comprehension for bilingual audiences. This paper argues that electronic music provides an inclusive, technological approach to composing theatrical musical scores, allowing amateur artists the ability to produce sophisticated scores through digital audio workstations (DAW). Methods used for this study include Practice-as-Research (my collaboration with community-based theater practitioners from Merced Shakespearefest) and autoethnography (my personal experience using a DAW to film score and compose). A case study of my role as music director/composer of the Spanish-English adaptation Ricardo II pushes the limitations of a traditional theatrical performance, in which a staged live theatre production corresponds with cinematic film techniques and digital music scoring. Participants and audience members of the web series can familiarize themselves with a composition that incorporates genres of popular music, hip-hop, and Latin pop. Music acts as a binding presence despite an individual’s linguistic, racial, or socioeconomic background. Providing modern narratives that are relatable and reflective of the lives of California’s Central Valley natives is a way in which bilingual Shakespeare promotes inclusivity towards the production’s audience members and community actors who portray the script’s adapted characters.


Jonathan Gill

Disintegration and Delimitation: Lear’s Strife with the Storm 

King Lear’s encounter with the storm takes the shape of a strife between man and elements. “Nature’s moulds” caught within the storm start to crack and, with them, so too do the forms of intelligibility by which Lear apprehends the world as he soon descends into madness. The storm scenes in King Lear depict a madman in the process of reforging his understanding of the world around him. It is a process of delimitation where Lear must set (or perhaps find out) the limits to the things he encounters. What this process can reveal is the extent to which Lear’s own is actively involved in how the world presents itself. Using Heidegger’s notions of “strife” and “limit” from The Origin of the Work of Art, this presentation explores how the phenomenological processes of intelligibility become dramatic encounters in the storm scenes of King Lear.

Jonathan Gill is finishing his doctoral degree at the University of Auckland, where he also works as a lecturer. His research focuses on phenomenology as a hermeneutic lens to examine the complexity of wordplay and dramatic situation in Shakespeare. He has previously worked as an assistant director in Ohio, helping teenagers learn about and perform Shakespeare.


Brett Greatley-Hirsch & Sarah Neville

Shakespearean Genre Within and Beyond the First Folio 

As Shakespeare became canonized, so too did the First Folio’s generic categories of comedy, history and tragedy come to be seen as defining dramatic forms. In this paper, we explore how the book trade shaped and continues to shape the generic reception of Shakespeare’s works before testing the coherence and distinctiveness of the First Folio’s division of the plays into comedy, history, and tragedy using computational methods. By way of conclusion, we ask what new categories emerge if, rather than imposing pre-defined labels, we instead group the plays according to statistical analysis of their linguistic content.

Brett Greatley-Hirsch is Associate Professor of Renaissance Literature and Textual Studies at the University of Leeds. He is a coordinating editor of Digital Renaissance Editions, co-editor of the Routledge journal Shakespeare, and a Trustee of the British Shakespeare Association. He is currently co-editing Hyde Park for the Oxford Shirley, completing attribution studies for the Oxford Nashe and Oxford Marston, and, with Hugh Craig, writing a methodological primer on Shakespearean stylometry. This paper comes out of research with Sarah Neville for The Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare and Authorship.

Sarah Neville is Associate Professor in the department of Theatre, Film, and Media Arts and the department of English at The Ohio State University. She is creative director of Lord Denney’s Players, a coordinating editor of Digital Renaissance Editions, and an assistant editor of the New Oxford Shakespeare. Her latest book, Early Modern Herbals and the Book Trade (Cambridge, 2022), demonstrates the ways that printers and booksellers of herbals enabled the construction of scientific and medical authority in early modern England. She is currently editing Henry the Sixth, Part Two, for the Arden Fourth Series.


Huw Griffiths

The Afterlives of a Queer Pirate: Reading Antonio in Early Modernity

In adapting earlier plays that garner emotional weight from passionate friendship, Restoration and eighteenth-century productions frequently evince a proto-homophobic response in their aversion to the language of classical friendship that is such a crucial part of the earlier period’s conception of gender relations. As a counter to this narrative, this paper considers the queer persistence of one character and his impassioned language of same-sex desire.

Antonio, in Twelfth Night, with his powerful expressions of love for Sebastian (“my desire / More sharp than filèd steel”) remains unchanged in eighteenth-century performance practice until 1791 when Drury Lane performances finally start to excise those lines.

This paper considers the implications of this queer persistence for our understanding of the history – and historiography – of same-sex love and desire. Along the way, it considers the original contexts within which Antonio’s language might be considered Shakespeare’s most homoerotic, as well as the later seventeenth and eighteenth-century contexts of piracy that provide subsequent versions of Antonio with renewed contexts for queer possibilities.

Huw Griffiths is Associate Professor of English Literature at the University of Sydney. He has written two books on Shakespeare (Shakespeare’s Body Parts: Figuring Sovereignty in the History Plays (Edinburgh University Press, 2020) and Disavowing Authority in the Shakespeare Classroom (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming). He is currently writing a third, on the histories of homophobia and homoeroticism that can be traced through seventeenth and eighteenth-century adaptations of Shakespeare and Fletcher.


Huw Griffiths & Liam Semler

Shakespeare in Fragments: The University of Sydney Folio Loose Leaves

Loose leaves from Shakespeare Folios were recently rediscovered in the Macdonald Collection in the University of Sydney’s Fisher Library. Huw and Liam have been investigating the leaves in collaboration with the university’s Rare Books and Special Collections librarians. In this paper they will describe the loose leaves, their context and some of their unique features. This research is part of a collaborative grant application being developed by Huw, Liam and the Library to investigate the loose leaves in the context of the Macdonald collection.


Peter Groves

Beyond limits: Shakespeare’s Transformation of the Drumming Decasyllabon 

Going ‘beyond all limit’ is a fine lover’s hyperbole in The Tempest, but it is ill-advised as a general plan. Limits are essential to all meaningful creative production — indeed, to signification itself: only by observing the limits of English syntax and vocabulary, for example, can I reliably convey intelligible meaning. Where anything is possible, nothing can have any significance. Even a work as outré as Finnegan’s Wake acknowledges those limits, even as it tests them beyond the sustained tolerance of most readers of English. Shakespeare throughout his career explored the possibilities of enlarging the limits he found in his predecessors—linguistic, metrical, stylistic, poetic, generic, dramaturgical, and so on—to embrace new possibilities of meaning, turning (for example) the serviceable self-contained and predominantly end-stopped ‘decasyllabon’ of his earliest work into the fluid, supple and quasi-naturalistic versification of The Tempest. Attempts to explore this process in the past have been fatally obstructed, however, by the lack of an objectively based but literarily sophisticated description of English metre in general, and of enjambment in particular, which turns out to be much more complex than dictionaries of literary terms seem to suspect. My paper will sketch out such a taxonomy, which traces the effects of enjambment through a number of stylistic indices, one that draws upon both linguistic and literary understanding, and show how it throws new light on Shakespeare’s complex development as a poet and his influence on his contemporaries.

Peter Groves was born in the UK and educated at the universities of Exeter and Cambridge, where he gained his doctorate in Shakespearean versification in 1979. He is now retired, after 42 years of teaching (specialising in poetry, stylistics and Renaissance literature) in what used to be called the Department of English at Monash University, Melbourne. He has published two monographs and a number of other collaborative books, and a series of articles on the versification of poets from Chaucer to Philip Larkin.  He is currently working on a theory of verse-movement.


Simon Haines

The Merchant of Venice: liberal sadness and the quality of mercy  

Why is Antonio sad? Because of his hopeless love for Bassanio? Because he’s worried about his ships? Not really: the sadness seems more existential and disabling. Is it a sign of inauthenticity or alienation: some repression of a truer, deeper self? Somehow it goes beyond that too. This feeling is bedrock for Antonio, a sense of absence in the very fabric of himself. From a Hegelian point of view we might ascribe it to a lack of proper “recognition”: this is the “unhappy consciousness” of the master. But Shakespeare isn’t Hegel. This is more like the sadness or satedness of the liberal but resentful man, who lacks neither the recognition of others, nor even a Hegelian mutual recognition, but a true generosity of spirit, originating in himself but moving towards others. Shakespeare’s conception of recognition is unilateral: of an active and responsive giving. The characterisations of Portia (with her own quality of sadness) and Shylock (disrecognised by everyone else, including her) shed further light on this conception.

Simon Haines is CEO of the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation in Sydney. From 2009 to 2020 he was Chair Professor of English at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is a founding Fellow of the Hong Kong Academy of the Humanities. He was Reader in English, Head of English and later Head of Humanities at the ANU, where he taught from 1990 to 2008. Currently an Adjunct Professor at ACU, he is the author or editor of five books including the prizewinning Reader in European Romanticism (Bloomsbury, 2010, 2014), Poetry and Philosophy from Homer to Rousseau (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), and Redemption in Poetry and Philosophy (Baylor, 2013); as well as articles, book chapters and papers on subjects including Shakespeare, Romantic poetry, the modern self, the pursuit of happiness in Adam Smith and Jane Austen (for IAUPE 2023), and time in philosophy and art.


Claire Hansen & Florence Boulard

Shakespeare in Oceania: Adapting Romeo and Juliet in Kanaky-New Caledonia 

In this paper, we move ‘beyond’ Anglocentric and English language adaptations of the works of William Shakespeare to explore Shakespeare in Oceania. Located in the Pacific Ocean, Kanaky-New Caledonia is the native island home of Kanak families, whose descendants first arrived on the archipelago over three thousand years ago, after travelling from Southeast Asia and Papua New Guinea. Colonised by the French in 1853, Kanaky-New Caledonia’s theatrical histories may historically have favoured Molière over William Shakespeare, although the country also enjoys a vibrant history of Shakespearean theatre and witnessed a revival of Indigenous art and theatre from the 1970s. A key figure of this revival is director and theatremaker Pierre Gope. In this paper, we will focus on the work of Gope, specifically his French language adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, titled La nouvelle et sublime histoire de Roméo et Juliette. The paper will offer insights from our interview with Gope on his adaptations of Shakespeare in Kanaky-New Caledonia, analysis of his script for Roméo et Juliette and of the 2007 production directed by José Renault. In this adaptation, we find a reimagining of Shakespeare that enables a playful exploration of community tensions in Kanaky-New Caledonia through an enmeshing of both Shakespeare’s symbolism with contemporary, local concerns. In doing so, Gope’s adaptation and Renault’s production facilitate a shared exploration of Kanaky-New Caledonian cultural exchanges around race, gender, politics and place.

Dr Claire Hansen is a lecturer in English at the Australian National University. Her research focuses on Shakespeare in the environmental humanities and health humanities. She is a member of the Better Strangers/Shakespeare Reloaded project, and co-founder of the Blue Humanities Lab and the health humanities project The Heart of the Matter. She is co-editor of a forthcoming collection on Critical Approaches to the Australian Blue Humanities (Routledge 2024) and author of Shakespeare and Place-Based Learning (CUP 2023). 

Dr Florence Boulard is a senior lecturer in the College of Arts, Society and Education at James Cook University. She is also the director of the Academy of Modern Languages. Originally from New Caledonia, her areas of expertise are in Francophone Oceanian Studies, Education and Languages.


Emma Harper & Hannes Rall

Contemporary approaches to old problems: re-interrogating works of Shakespeare for the demands of immersive media

Adaptation for immersive media represents one way in which works of Shakespeare can be re-imagined for 21st century audiences. This adaptation process requires re-interrogation of the narrative, themes, and characters of the plays within the framework of the demands of these media forms. In this paper, we will discuss two ongoing adaptation projects focused on reimagining Shakespeare for immersive media – a fulldome film inspired by The Merchant of Venice and an animated, gamified VR experience based upon Pericles, Prince of Tyre.

Of particular interest is demonstrating which qualities in the original plays and their performance histories can be leveraged to suit the demands of their respective chosen adaptation mediums. We will pay specific attention to the ways in which immersive media offers new ways to approach the “controversial” aspects of the two texts – namely, the characterisation and portrayal of Venice’s Jewish community in Merchant, and the “unsavoury” themes and disjointed narrative found in Pericles. It is hoped that by reflecting on both our cross-disciplinary research process – which brings together researchers, animators and technical developers from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore alongside Shakespeare scholars from The Shakespeare Institute at the University of Birmingham, UK – and the productions themselves we will demonstrate how taking Shakespeare off the page and into the world of immersive media can provide new approaches to both much-studied and lesser-known works.

Hannes Rall (aka Hans-Martin Rall) is Professor of Animation Studies and Associate Chair (Research) at the School of Art, Design and Media at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He is also a successful director of independent animated short films: his works have been selected for 845 international festivals and won 80 awards. Conference presentations include FMX, and SIGGRAPH, and in 2016 he was the Chair of the 28th Annual Conference of the Society of Animation Studies. Hannes’ books Animation: From Concept to Production (2017) and Adaptation for Animation: Transforming Literature Frame by Frame (2019) were published by CRC Press.

Emma Harper is a Research Associate in the School of Art, Design and Media at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, where she supports the delivery of cross-disciplinary projects relating to adaptation for immersive and interactive media within the fields of literature, culture, and education. She has experience of working in universities and museums in the UK, China, and Singapore, and holds BA and MSt degrees from the University of Oxford.


Judy Hefferan

“Out, damned spot”: the preternatural activities of blood

In perhaps one of the most recognised lines of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Lady Macbeth bemoans the “damned” spot that will not fade from her constantly wringing hands. The sight, and even the smell, of this sign of her bloody deeds, refuses to wash out and can be ‘felt’, even in the depths of sleep. Literary critics have construed this figuratively; it is after all common nowadays to metaphorically speak of those who are guilty of a crime as having ‘blood on their hands.’  Others interpret this as a ‘supernatural’ sign of guilt and connect this to God cursing evildoers with “bloodguiltiness” as per Leviticus 20 or exhorting the guilty, whose “hands are covered with blood. Wash yourselves, … Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight” (Isaiah 1:15-16).

However, early modern, preternatural conceptions of blood naturalised the powerful but invisible actions of blood that can be seen in phenomena such as cruentation.  I intend to revisit this famous line and other scenes where blood is highlighted in this play and re-frame this in the context of early modern conceptions of blood, differentiating the ‘preternatural’ from what has traditionally been termed ‘supernatural’ and rendering literal what has previously been seen as metaphor and metonymy.

Judy Hefferan is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Southern Queensland. Her research interests are centred on the preternatural environment of Renaissance England, as represented in early modern drama. In particular, she is focussed on the occult properties and agency of blood as found in ‘bookes of secrets’ and treatises of natural philosophy. She has previously presented work at the BSA, SRS, SAA and ANZSA and was a runner-up in the Lloyd Davis Memorial Essay prize in 2020, presenting in the Lloyd Davis Panel at ‘Well Met’, ANZSA’s postgrad and early career conference.


Susannah Helman

Shakespeare and the National Library of Australia’s Rare Books Collection’ 

When it comes to Shakespeare, the National Library of Australia’s collections are at their best on the performance of Shakespeare in Australia. Yet its rare book collections relating to Shakespeare have what may be surprising depth and range. This paper surveys the Library’s Shakespearean holdings with a focus on its rare book collections, particularly, 18th-century editions of his works. It looks at highlights from the Library’s rare books collections as physical objects that were printed, illustrated and bound; sold, collected and used. It discusses how these holdings came to be at the Library, and reflects on what they, together, say about Shakespeare in Australia.

Dr Susannah Helman is Rare Books and Music Curator at the National Library of Australia.


Patrice Honnef

Let them speak – Reimagining, reinventing and reconceiving representations

Countless Shakespearean heroines demonstrate strength, servitude, subservience and success. Contrastingly, their evil female counterparts are controlling, calculated and callous. Such depictions generate intellectual dissonance and undeniably stimulate debate in classrooms, and the opportunity to explore narrative voice. Let them speak provides case studies and activities used when young readers engage with Shakespeare. Excerpts from original moved synopses, thirty-two second versions of Shakespearean texts, creative last letters of protagonists, and reimagined spoken imaginative scenarios will be broken down into learning sprints during this workshop. Shakespeare is a vehicle in transformative learning that allows receivers of the base text to walk with selected characters in an effort to ‘let them speak’.

Patrice Honnef is Head of the English Department at Cairns State High. She initiated Navigating our Narratives, We Will Remember and Aspirations Day forums in Far North Queensland and also introduced the BLA EQ Regional Literary Competition. Patrice holds lead assessor roles in English and Literature. Patrice is an active participant in Holocaust literature forums at the Sydney Jewish Museum. She was selected for the Bell Shakespeare Regional Teacher Mentorship and has presented ETAQ state conferences, Shakespeare Reloaded, Ecological Shakespeare Conference – Creative Voices at JCU, and QELI. Patrice organises regional communities of practice for Essential English, English and Literature educators.


Helen Hopkins

Shakespeare, the First Folio, and the Cultural Institution  

As 2023 witnesses the last major Shakespeare anniversary for a generation, it also represents the last dynamic opportunity to interrogate the ways in which Shakespeare’s cultural significance is represented in relation to such an event. It is also an opportunity to do so in light of some of the pivotal global events that have taken place since the 2016 commemoration of 400 years since Shakespeare’s death.

This paper will focus on the activities of various cultural institutions from around the world throughout this anniversary year and will explore the narratives used to ground the Folio and Shakespeare’s cultural significance in the specific context of the present moment. It will discuss how Shakespeare and the Folio have been and are used to perform cultural prowess and affinity with the global cultural marketplace that dictates his importance as ‘the world’s greatest playwright’. It will reflect on the historical establishment of Shakespeare’s greatness as a function, motivator, and justification of British imperialism, and will highlight how and where the vestiges of imperialism manifest within those institutions to today. It will acknowledge power imbalances in international relationships that result from the inherent conflicts and infelicities in the construction of Shakespeare simultaneously as the ‘universal’ standard for world culture, English national poet, and as a meeting point for international cooperation. It will also acknowledge and celebrate decolonial best practice in order to explore options for a more inclusive Shakespeare for the next generation.

Helen Hopkins is a postdoctoral research fellow at Birmingham City University (UK). Her collaborative PhD with BCU and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (SBT) was completed in 2021 and represents the first scholarly account of the SBT’s international collection. Helen’s research broadly encompasses contemporary and historical uses of Shakespeare, especially in terms of the work of cultural institutions and diplomatic responses to his cultural capital and uses for soft power. Helen’s work explores the potential in Shakespeare’s cultural capital and texts for a generative, inclusive, anti-colonial form of diplomacy that could redress Shakespeare’s ongoing use as a tool of Anglo/European cultural supremacy.


Mark Houlahan

King Lear beyond Genre: or, what does Lear really, really want? 

Famously the two main texts of King Lear, Q1 (1608) and F1 (1623), locate two distinct genres: a “historie” (1608), and then a “tragedie” in 1623. The bulk of the play in either text conforms to genre signals Renaissance audiences would readily understand, and which Shakespeare deploys frequently in plays tragical or historical that draw on Chronicle sources of Roman, British or Danish history. There’s a battle for succession, and rulership, at the end of the final scene, is passed to a new regime. The moral scale of the action is indicated by the frequent use of “high, astounding”, ethico-philosophical terms. When Lear triggers the division of the kingdoms in the first scene of the play, he initiates this kind of tragical history. For the duration of the play, the rest of the characters play lethally inside these genre boundaries.

But what makes King Lear so compelling, so baffling and so difficult is that, when he goes into the storm, on the heath, Lear is, in effect, trying to leave that convention-bound play and enter a new realm of discourse altogether. This requires a new kind of dramaturgy, a third kind of genre for which, even now, we don’t really have a name. In the end, Lear enters back into the historical/tragical terrain where the play begins. It’s the friction between these kinds of playmaking, I will suggest, that are at the heart of the text’s “power to claw”.

Mark Houlahan is Associate Professor in English at the University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. From 2012-2016 he was President of ANZSA, and currently serves as a New Zealand delegate in the executive. He is co-editing Shirley’s Hyde Park with Brett Greatley Hirsch for the Oxford Shirley.  Current projects include studies of Ngaio Marsh’s 1972 production of Henry V, and the New Zealand playwright Bruce Mason’s uses of the queer baroque.


Yeeyon Im

Shakespeare, Tradition and Transculturality in Changgeuk Lear

Changgeuk Lear of the National Changgeuk Company of Korea presents an intriguing case of Shakespeare and intercultural theatre. Produced in 2022 by an elite creative team representative of Korean theatre, Lear is remarkable for its lack of traditional spectacles that have characterized many Korean Shakespeare performances. This essay analyzes the transcultural aesthetics of changgeuk Lear in comparison to the Koreanized spectacle of changgeuk Romeo and Juliet (2009), placing both productions in the history of changgeuk and the efforts to popularize the genre in the global age. The ontology of Lear is underpinned by a new notion of living tradition that I relate to the concept of transculturation. I propose to reclaim the term transculturality for intercultural performance discourses, thereby deconstructing the false dichotomy of Korea as tradition and West/Shakespeare as modernity. Through a dynamic fusion of traditional chang and global art forms, changgeuk Lear creates a transcultural “K-opera” Shakespeare that represents a renewed sense of Koreanness.

Yeeyon Im is Associate Professor of English Literature at Yonsei University, Seoul. Im has published widely on intercultural Shakespeare theatre in journals including New Theatre Quarterly and Theatre Journal. Her latest essays on queer Shakespeare productions in South Korea appeared in Asian Theatre Journal and Theatre Research International in 2022. Im plans to work on a monograph on Shamanism and healing in Korean Shakespeare productions.


Anna Kamaralli

Looking inside the Silenus in Shakespeare

Shakespeare and his contemporaries, but especially Shakespeare, frequently returned to the worry that appearance might be at odds with the truth of a person. This posed a kind of threat, but also a challenge: a challenge that offered a chance to prove worth through wisdom and a discerning eye that sees below the surface. To find a way to think around this idea, Erasmus offered assistance. The Silenus as an object is a box that is grotesque on the outside, but hides something precious. It was also known in its inverted form: a “glorious casket stocked with ill.” The Silenus appears in many of the works of Erasmus, in Praise of Folly, Adagia, Enchiridion, and obviously Sileni Alcibiades. Shakespeare’s debt to Erasmus has been well documented, but less so the way his particular obsession with ‘seeming’ found a way to be staged through physical representations of the Silenus, not only in spoken metaphor but in props and performers.

Shakespeare relied on the deceptiveness of appearances as one of his most obsessive recurring concerns, and therefore the symbolic figure of the Silenus, as proposed by Erasmus, would naturally appear exceptionally useful to him. With particular reference to The Merchant of Venice, Pericles and Troilus and Cressida, I am targeting the most direct references to the figure borrowed from Erasmus, to establish how useful Shakespeare found this trove of imagery in elucidating one of his favourite philosophical truisms, and giving it an embodied stage life.

Anna Kamaralli took her PhD at Trinity College Dublin’s Samuel Beckett Centre. She is the author of Shakespeare and the Shrew and the editor of Much Ado About Nothing for Arden Shakespeare Performance Editions. At Sydney University she manages the CREATE Centre, an academic centre for the study of creativity in all aspects of life. She is a vagabond lecturer and dramaturg who also directs.


Nicola Kelly

Elsinore and the Limits of Revenge  

When Hamlet’s Laertes returns from France, thirsting for blood and for vengeance, Claudius declares that “revenge should have no bounds”. This notion of boundless revenge is intuitively consistent with the world of revenge tragedy, and yet revenge has no place in Hamlet’s Denmark. For Kiernan Ryan, Shakespeare “sabotages the whole genre of revenge tragedy” to create “a tragic protagonist who refuses, for reasons he can’t fathom himself, to play the stock role in which he’s been miscast by the world he happens to inhabit”. There is, as Ryan proposes, an unmistakable dynamic of ‘resistance’ in the play, and this resistance engenders the failure of the central revenge narrative. In this paper, I suggest that Hamlet is alienated from Elsinore not by his refusal to embrace the role of the revenger, but rather by his acceptance of it. In its memorial failures and denials, the sociocultural world of Elsinore is essentially opposed to the practice of revenge. Analysing the other revengers of the play, particularly Laertes, I show that revenge belongs to the world beyond Denmark’s social and geographic limits. This being the case, it is little wonder that Hamlet, as a Danish revenger, is repeatedly characterised as aberrant, unsettling, and problematic.

Nicola Kelly is a PhD candidate at University of Melbourne’s department of English and Theatre Studies. Her principal research interests include emotion, Chaucer, and Shakespeare. Her dissertation focuses on emotional practice in Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde and Shakespeare’s Hamlet, considering alienation and annihilation as emotional responses to the courtly habitus generated by the text-world.

Kyu-Won Kim & Anna Stewart-Yates

A Strange Perfection: Exploring the theatricality of the witches in The Witch and Macbeth  

The impetus to appropriate and transform Shakespeare’s texts is not just limited to the present context but is something that has existed across the ages, even amongst Shakespeare’s contemporaries.  This paper examines the reach and impact of Shakespeare beyond the limits of authorship and genre.  The paper explores how Middleton’s insertion of the character of Hecate into Macbeth in around 1616, as reflected in the First Folio text, changes our understanding of the play.  The theatricality, spectacle and stagecraft of Middleton’s interventions are of particular interest.

While the diabolical and the occult were “good theatre business” in the world of early modern theatregoing, is the sensational allure of theatre and spectacle the only reason for the increasing embellishment of the witches in Macbeth in this period?  Or is there more to this genre bending collaboration between Middleton and Shakespeare?  This paper explores how the theatricality of Middleton’s Hecate character, as inserted into Macbeth, when contrasted with the tragic action of the play, produces what Samuel Pepys described as a “strange perfection” that curiously seems to deepen rather than obscure the tragic elements of Macbeth.

Kyu-Won Kim is currently completing his MPhil at the University of Sydney.  His research is on early modern literature, and he is currently writing on Book 1 of The Faerie Queene.  Prior to this, Kyu-Won completed his Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree at the University of Sydney, completing a thesis on interpretations of Paradise Lost.  Outside his interests in research and writing, Kyu-Won is a lawyer conducting commercial litigation and investigations and advising on various regulatory and compliance issues.

Anna Stewart-Yates is a graduate of the Australian National University Art History and Curatorship honours program. Her research explores collaborative interpersonal relationships and intercultural exchange as the driving forces behind innovation in art and design. Anna has a keen interest in developing interdisciplinary approaches across the fields of art, law, and literature. She works as a lawyer and tutors art history and legal philosophy at the ANU.


Roberta Kwan

Beyond boredom: Shakespeare, attentiveness, neighbourliness, and social justice

Defining boredom as ‘a state of disinterest’, Kevin Gary makes a case for boredom as a pressing contemporary social and moral issue and argues that educational institutions have a responsibility to graduate students who can ‘engage boredom productively’ (Why Boredom Matters: Education, Leisure, and the Quest for a Meaningful Life, Cambridge UP, 2022). This paper brings together King Lear, questions about the role of literary studies, and Simone Weil’s thinking on ethics and education to explore how reading and teaching Shakespeare might help cultivate in readers and students ethical postures of attentiveness and neighbourliness that counteract boredom and enact social justice.

Roberta Kwan is an Honorary Associate of the Medieval and Early Modern Centre at The University of Sydney and an Honorary Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Media, Communications, Creative Arts, Language and Literature at Macquarie University. She is the author of Shakespeare, the Reformation and the Interpreting Self (Edinburgh University Press, 2023).


Julian Lamb

Dissolving Felicity: Performatives in Antony and Cleopatra 

In I.1 of Antony and Cleopatra, a messenger from Rome threatens to take Antony from Egypt. Antony attempts to reassure Cleopatra of his intentions to remain: “Let Rome in Tiber melt, and the wide arch / Of the ranged empire fall. Here is my space” (I.1, 35-6). It is revealing that Antony reassures Cleopatra not with an expression of commitment to her, but with an utterance which dissolves the commitments he has to Rome. In this paper, I would like to utilise J.L. Austin’s account of performative language in order to explore the ways Egypt rivals Rome: not as an alternative world that Antony can commit himself to, but as one which dissolves the very grounds of commitment. I will attempt to identify forms of utterance in the play which perform this dissolution of commitment, but which, in so doing, appear to dissolve their own enabling conditions.

Julian Lamb received his PhD from Cambridge University on a Cambridge Commonwealth Scholarship. He is author of Rules of Use: Language and Instruction in Early Modern England (Bloomsbury), and has published on Shakespeare, Donne, Erasmus, and early modern linguistics. His articles have appeared in such journals as English Literary Renaissance, Shakespeare Quarterly, and Philosophy and Literature. He is currently working on a monograph on infelicitous performative utterances in Shakespeare. He teaches in the School of Liberal Arts at the University of Wollongong.


Kath Lathouras

Shakespeare wrote sonnets too!

Shakespeare didn’t just write plays – he wrote sonnets too! This presentation is designed to introduce the Bard to Stage 4 students in an engaging way focusing on his sonnets. It will focus on how various contemporary composers and performers have offered a very Australian voice to the sonnets, so they too will fall truly, madly, deeply for the Bard!

Kath Lathouras has two decades experience of teaching in secondary English classrooms across all three sectors, and in tertiary institutions in pre-service teacher education. She loves to teach the work of the Bard and engage her students with a fresh and contemporary understanding of his work and making connections to our contemporary time and place.


Robert Lublin

Shakespeare is Dangerous

In their prompt for the conference “Shakespeare Beyond All Limits,” the organizers note “the astonishing reach and impact of Shakespeare through the ages.” It is undeniable that Shakespeare has reached the widest possible audience, having been translated into virtually every language and taught and performed around the globe more than any other writer. But I wish to introduce the very real possibility that this is a bad thing. With my paper, I want to argue that Shakespeare is dangerous.

Shakespeare stands at the very center of the Western Canon. This has been true for over a century, but it is truer today than ever before. Over the last fifty years, the Canon has transformed, incorporating diverse voices, including women, writers of colour, and more. To make room for these previously marginalized stories, schools and universities have had to remove canonical writers from the curriculum. Students who previously would have studied works of Chaucer, Dante, Cervantes, Milton, and more now read a great range of works from diverse traditions.

But Shakespeare remains, alone. This grants to a singular author enormous importance as Shakespeare now carries the great weight of the Western Cannon on his broad shoulders. Rather than thoroughly deconstruct white, male, western hegemony in curriculums and in performance, we have shifted it largely to this one, seemingly unimpeachable author. But Shakespeare is impeachable. When he is taught or performed without critical care, he naturally reifies sexist, classist, and racist ideologies that may have been progressive during his lifetime but are dangerously regressive in the 21st century. Like a loaded weapon, Shakespeare can be a destructive force and must be handled with care.

Robert I. Lublin is Professor of Theatre Arts and former Chair of Performing Arts at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He is the author of Costuming the Shakespearean Stage: Visual Codes of Representation in Early Modern Theatre and Culture (Routledge) and contributing co-editor of Reinventing the Renaissance: Shakespeare and His Contemporaries in Adaptation and Performance (Palgrave). He is also contributing co-editor of the forthcoming collection Afterlives of Frankenstein: Popular and Artistic Adaptations and Reimaginings (Bloomsbury).


Nicholas Luke

Not To Be – To Be: Hamlet, Kierkegaard, and the Eternal In Time 

The paper argues that Hamlet is thrown into a state of uncertainty about the eternal.  In fact, his famed “delay” is a response to the thought of eternity.  He is given “pause” by imagining “what dreams may come / When we have shuffled off this mortal coil” (3.1.65-7).  The eternal is the “rub”.  I tackle this obscure rub by turning to Soren Kierkegaard, who references Hamlet’s famous soliloquy in his Philosophical Fragments.  Resurrection, for Kierkegaard, is a movement through non-being to being.  Non-being, or negativity, here plays a critical role.  To be “born again” into the eternal, the learner must “become[] nothing and yet … not [be] annihilated”.  I suggest that Hamlet’s struggle with the eternal opens him to an expansive view of humanity that goes beyond Claudius’s will to power or Laertes’s demand for customary honour.  It brings him to a new political vision that opposes and negates the politics of Denmark, made up of dynastic rule, acquisition, oppression, calculation, violent payback, and martial honour.  Hamlet seeks what seems to be impossible within a revenge tragedy: the incalculable.  The eternal – beyond the limits of time – here suggests an imaginary perspective that alienates or negates our current preoccupations and political economies.

Nicholas Luke is an Assistant Professor at the University of Hong Kong. The paper is drawn from a forthcoming monograph with Cambridge UP, entitled Shakespeare’s Political Spirit: Negative Theology and the Disruption of Power. I previously published Shakespearean Arrivals: The Birth of Character with Cambridge, along with articles in Modern Philology and Shakespeare Survey.  I completed my DPhil at Oxford as a Queensland Rhodes Scholar.


Ruth Lunney

What does a soliloquy? Hamlet and the limits of definition. 

It is 1600, perhaps. Shakespeare begins writing the tragical history of Hamlet. As he composes, he is conscious of his own theatrical experiences, his audience’s expectations, and the ways things have been done in the playhouses. There will be excitements in the action aplenty, but he decides that some of the story will be told through characters speaking to the audience, the kind of speech which will later be termed a ‘soliloquy’.

This paper arises from a study, still very much in progress, of a dramatic convention that Hamlet inherited: the soliloquy as it had been experimented with and diversified from the 1560s to the 1590s. As such, the study aims to fill in the gaps in Cousins’ and Derrin’s excellent collection Shakespeare and the Soliloquy (2018).

In exploring how Hamlet tests the limits of the soliloquy, the paper enters the water very much at the deepest end, with ‘To be or not to be’. My focus here is on the ‘soliloquy in company’, when the speaker is not alone. This category challenges definitional limits, with Hamlet’s ‘To be’, despite its iconic status, not always considered a ‘real’ soliloquy. How should we define ‘To be’? And are there ways in which it adds to, or goes beyond the limits of its predecessors? The waters are deep, but I intend to resurface with some answers.

Ruth Lunney is Honorary Lecturer at the University of Newcastle, Australia. She is editor of the new Revels Plays version of Marlowe’s Dido, Queen of Carthage (September 2023). She also edited the first-ever collection of essays on Lyly (John Lyly, 2011). Her publications include Marlowe and the Popular Tradition: Innovation in the English Drama before 1595 (2002, 2011), as well as essays on Marlowe, Lyly, and Shakespeare, and an online glossary on Dido’s authorship (2020). She won the Hoffman Prize in 1996 and (with Hugh Craig) was commended for the Hoffman Prize in 2019.


Melissa Merchant, Rahul Gairola & Alys Daroy

Negotiated Assessment in University Shakespeare

Shakespeare classes within Australian universities are often filled with students who must take them as required units rather than through a genuine desire to learn about early modern theatre and its associated theoretical, historical, and textual contexts. A challenge for university teachers is to engage students by creating innovative learning experiences that allow exploration of content in interesting ways. Twinned with such engagement is the need to demonstrate how and why Shakespeare Studies retain critical import today through the plays’ themes, characters, aphorisms, significance in popular culture, etc. At Murdoch University, WA, we teach three units with Shakespeare-related assessments: Shakespeare and His Contemporaries, Shakespeare’s Monsters and Acting, and Producing for Stage. Within these units, we have designed curricula, including topics, themes, texts, additional resources, learning activities, electronic resources, and student-centred assessments to meet the diverse needs of students from different majors (including English and Creative Writing, Theatre and Drama, and Education). In particular, we have introduced negotiated assessment within each unit. This paper thus comparatively examines the implementation of these strategies within these units. We focus on how negotiated assessments contribute to authentic learning, as well as how they fit within the Universal Design for Learning framework. To substantiate our specific strategies for Shakespeare Studies in our contemporary historical moment, our paper shares examples of work produced by students, with their consent, from Shakespeare and His Contemporaries, Shakespeare’s Monsters, and Acting and Producing for Stage to demonstrate how negotiated assessment can meet unit learning outcomes.

Melissa Merchant, PhD (Murdoch University, Western Australia) is Associate Dean Learning & Teaching and Academic Chair of English & Creative Arts in the School of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences. Her most recent research is divided between Shakespeare adaptations and contemporary performativity. She has contributed to Journal of Intercultural Studies, Journal of Postcolonial Writing, The Seventeenth Century, Outskirts, and M/C Journal, and published a chapter in The Routledge Companion to Disability and the Media (2020). Dr Merchant is also a co-editor of Performing Identity in the Era of COVID-19.

Rahul K. Gairola is The Krishna Somers Senior Lecturer in English and Postcolonial Literature at Murdoch University, Western Australia. He has internationally presented and published in reputable research forums and held grants and fellowships at the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, Leipzig University, Yale University, and Cornell University. He is currently Editor of the Routledge/Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) South Asian Book Series and an Area Editor for Oxford Bibliographies in Literary and Critical Theory, Oxford University Press. Recently, ArtEZ University of the Arts, The Netherlands, appointed and fully sponsored him as a short-term Visiting Professor.

Alys Daroy is Lecturer in English and Theatre at Murdoch University. Her forthcoming book, Shakespeare, Ecology and Adaptation, examines ecological readings and adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays (Arden Shakespeare, 2024, co-author Paul Prescott). Alys’ PhD “Biophilic Shakespeare” is the first to apply a biophilic design lens to Shakespeare’s works (Monash-Warwick Alliance). Alys is also Artistic Director of Australia’s first eco-theatrical Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare South, and formerly worked as Eco-Theatre consultant at Shakespeare’s Globe. Prior to academia, she was a Shakespearean actor (National Theatre and Sunday Times Ian Charleson Award Commendation).


Sam Milch

Can we resist the hyperbolic? Need we? Towards a taxonomy of history-defying claims about Shakespeare

Whether it be that Shakespeare “invented the human” or that he “read Marx, Nietzsche, Freud and Derrida”, hyperbolic, history-defying claims seem to be as much part of the history of Shakespeare criticism as the texts are themselves. But how are we to interpret these kinds of remarks? In times still coloured by postmodernist scepticism, grand statements about Shakespeare tend to be written off as imperialistic or, with equal dismissiveness, considered as rather unruly expressions of passion. I intend to resist each of these paths, taking steps to taxonomize the rational grounding that these claims tend to take. Some writers, such as Harold Bloom, Stanley Wells and Roger Scruton, ground their wildly positive views about Shakespeare in a rejection of (particularly postmodernist) 20th century literary theory, and thus can be quite fairly said to endorse the ‘transcendentalising’ of Shakespeare’s writings. Others view Shakespeare in terms of later political theory and philosophy, such as Terry Eagleton and Hugh Grady, making the softer claim that we are committed as modern subjects to reading Shakespeare through our developed notions of selfhood and society. This perspective might not seem so history defying, but such writers still confess the eeriness of Shakespeare’s anticipation of modern dilemmas. Writers who are more committed to the primacy of psychological insight in Shakespeare, including Sigmund Freud and Stanley Cavell, make the case that it is Shakespeare’s understanding of human personality that allowed him to prefigure the ideas of modern psychoanalysis and philosophy respectively. In categorising these claims along the lines of the transcendental, the politico-theoretical, and the collectively psychological and philosophical, we can place ourselves in a stronger position to assess the meaning and value of these grand claims that writers cannot seem to resist making.


Gretchen Minton

Salt Waves Fresh

Gretchen has travelled from the University of Montana in order to oversee the performance of her eco-activist adaptation of Twelfth Night.

Although the story is essentially set in the present, there are frequent allusions/connections to historical people and events. All of the characters are marked by histories (personal or familial) of exile, displacement, homelessness, hybridity. The character backstories frequently connect them to past time periods, and this temporal dislocation is deliberate. As Hilary Ecklund writes, “In the meeting of the elements of land and water, there is also an encounter of multiple modes of temporality: the cyclical back-and-forth of the littoral clashes with the inexorable march of time.”

Salt Waves Fresh will be performed on Friday, with a Q&A session on Saturday.


Tessa Morrison

Bejewelling Shakespeare’s Women

This is a project that began in 2018. The aim of the project was to select 16 of Shakespeare’s women and create a necklace for each woman that signifies their role and character. The texts of the plays were carefully analysed to identify the imagery around and about the women. Each of these images can be depicted graphically. In short, the goal was to translate the textual images into visual imagery. The necklaces are worked in enamel which lends itself to storytelling, thus making it possible to illustrate Shakespeare’s imagery that he develops for each of his women. The graphic analysis of the imagery and its realisation brings alive the textural imagery of Shakespeare. This project brings together the critical analysis of the text with the translation and design of ideas into images through jewellery.

Tessa Morrison was formerly senior lecturer School of Architecture and Built Environment at the University of Newcastle. She has a background in art history, critical research, historical architectural reconstructions, design and jewellery. She has sustained a research program including over 70 articles and chapters and six books she has also exhibited widely both in Australia and internationally with graphic design, visual historical architectural designs using ArchCAD, physical architectural models and  jewellery designs. The exhibition Bejewelling Shakespeare’s Women is currently being exhibited at libraries throughout New South Wales.


David McInnis

The extremity of both ends: Timon of Athens beyond all limits of genre   

Occupying a liminal position within the First Folio – included belatedly, and only when it looked as though printing Troilus and Cressida might not eventuate – Shakespeare and Middleton’s Timon of Athens (c.1607) defies the limits of genre: an Athenian tragedy to complement the Athenian comedy of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the dark obverse of that earlier, nightmarish ‘comedy’. Both plays are thematically concerned with what lies beyond the pale, the walls of Athens: the wilderness beyond. Just as Jan Kott famously proposed that A Midsummer Night’s Dream could only be depicted ‘truly for the first time’ by a modern theatre which had ‘passed through the poetics of surrealism, of the absurd, and through Genet’s brutal poetry’, so too, I argue, Timon can only be appreciated ‘truly’ if we reconsider what kind of a thing it is on its own terms, independently of the expectations imposed upon it by the First Folio’s convenient but reductive emphasis on ‘Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies’ as ostensibly used by Shakespeare.

David McInnis is Professor of Shakespeare and Early Modern Drama at the University of Melbourne. He is currently editing Timon of Athens for the Arden Shakespeare 4th series, Abdelazer for the Cambridge Behn, and the Tamburlaine plays (with Claire M. L. Bourne) for The Oxford Marlowe.


Kate Murphy

Differentiating Shakespeare: Classroom activities for diverse learners 

Shakespeare is a delight and a paradox: often viewed through lofty theoretical lenses, his plays were popular entertainment for his contemporaries and speak to us ‘beyond all limits’. How can we bring the pleasures of Shakespearean plays to a range of students? This presentation will discuss ideas for classroom activities to cater for a variety of different learning styles and capabilities in the junior high school English classroom. It intends to present a lively list of ideas and pedagogical strategies to explore plays, experiment with dramatic performances and examine intertextuality. Focusing on A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet, the paper hopes to explore different ways to teach conceptual ideas based around context, character, point of view and style. It contains material from an upcoming NSW English Teachers’ Association resource on Teaching Texts: Shakespeare.

Kate Murphy has taught English for sixteen years in NSW high schools and currently works in the NSW English Teachers’ Association publications department. Her educational research has been published in international journal articles and she co-edited the Cambridge Connections HSC English Series for ten years. Kate won the University Medal for her undergraduate honours thesis and the Vice Chancellor’s Commendation for Academic Excellence for her MA in Literature thesis. She has a professional interest in curriculum design and differentiation.


Jennifer Nicholson

“I would prefer not to”: Facilitating critique of ugly feelings in secondary Shakespeare lessons

How should a teacher engage with students’ ugly feelings in the classroom? This paper will consider ways in which Sianne Ngai’s Ugly Feelings (2005) can be mobilised to offer useful frames for interpreting Shakespeare with a range of secondary English students. From “irritation” to “stuplimity”, Ngai considers a range of minor, “ugly” feelings to be integral for understanding cultural artefacts, asserting that ugly feelings contain components of both power and powerlessness, established in light of Melville’s ‘Bartleby, the Scrivener’. The majority of secondary school students in New South Wales are required to engage with and analyse various Shakespearean features, tackling anaphora and anagnorisis in kind. Although many students may have a range of positive experiences with Shakespeare, the sardonic adage of the disengaged scholar is surely echoed in Bartleby’s own words: “I would prefer not to”. Ngai’s discussion is therefore helpful for addressing students’ apathy, irritation, or even disgust. This discussion will consider short extracts from a range of plays including Othello, Twelfth Night and The Merchant of Venice. Although students and teachers are somewhat powerless to choose their text and may be tempted to seek power within apathy, productively engage with and critiquing affect as part of Shakespeare studies can be ultimately freeing, despite or perhaps even in spite of limitations placed upon the space and place of learning.

Jennifer E. Nicholson teaches secondary English at Abbotsleigh, having moved into teaching after completing her PhD in English at the University of Sydney in 2019. Although her book project locating early modern drama at the edges of French and English remains temporarily abandoned, she hopes to resurrect further research spanning Shakespeare, translation, and affect across textual forms in due course. Her two most recent publications were chapters for edited collections: one on the relationship between Hamlet and Montaigne’s Essais, and the other addressing Anglophone translations of Japanese film. When out of the classroom and/or country, she tweets at @justjenerally.


Elizabeth Offer

Much Ado About Accessibility: Making Shakespeare’s Language Accessible to a Tertiary Student Audience

The influence of William Shakespeare is impossible to overlook. In the four hundred years since his death, his legacy has been solidified through countless adaptions of his works, translated into over a hundred languages and performed globally. However, although influential, Shakespeare’s works are not loved by all. It has become commonplace for many people to first experience Shakespeare’s works as a text to be read rather than performed, and many develop a dislike that carries on into their adult years. Shakespeare has a reputation for being outdated, irrelevant, and most of all, boring and impossible to understand.

My research stemmed from discussions with my peers – theatre students in their early twenties, the majority of whom were either hesitant to engage with or actively disliked Shakespearean texts. In order to discover whether this distaste could be undone, I undertook a year of research into the study, direction, and performance of Shakespearean plays, including a production of Much Ado About Nothing in September 2021. I will discuss the findings of my research, with a particular focus on what I believe are the two crucial pillars of making Shakespeare’s language accessible – comprehensibility and relatability.

Elizabeth Offer (She/They) is a Perth-based postgraduate student and actor. She holds a Diploma of Acting from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, and a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Theatre Studies from Curtin University. They are a passionate advocate for the demystification of Shakespeare’s works, particularly with regard to teenagers and young adults. Elizabeth is also an actor in Pregame Theatre’s Booze and the Bard, a 70-minute show in which 5 actors stage an abridged version of a Shakespearean play. They have performed sold-out shows at Perth Fringe, and recently performed at Adelaide Fringe


Sean O’Riordan

Shakespeare is good for you

In the same way it’s said exercise is good for you, experts in Shakespearean theatre claim performing Shakespeare is good for the actor due its high levels of challenge and stimulus. In this paper I will present my research into this area of using 400-year-old texts to prepare acting students for the contemporary performance industry. A practice that is argued by the experts – who admittedly have fingers in the Shakespeare pie – as fundamentally beneficial. And indeed, my research results point towards the training being of benefit. This paper is based on my Master of Philosophy research introduction. My research identifies a specific pedagogic field, focussed on Shakespeare, established by the teaching, and more importantly, the writing, of Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) directors, John Barton (1928-2018) and Peter Hall (1930-2017), and the influential voice coaches who worked predominantly at the RSC: Cicely Berry (1926-2018), Kristen Linklater (1936-2020) and Patsy Rodenburg (1953-). This pedagogic field is shaped by a set of shared understandings, assumptions, and practices, for all of which Shakespeare, and particularly Shakespeare’s language, is fundamental. In this presentation I will touch on the historical emergence of conservatoire training then through a demonstration of the various Shakespeare performance components including: effective breath control, performance speech practice, use of rhetorical devices, verse speaking concept, and language flexibility – argue for the importance of Shakespeare performance practice to contemporary actor training.

Sean O’Riordan is originally from London, where he worked as a journalist before retraining as an actor at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff, Wales. After London stand-up comedy he toured UK theatre for 6 years. In Sydney he toured Shakespeare to schools, performed stand up, began drama school teaching and directing and in 1996 formed Barestage theatre writing, directing, producing, performing in 12 plays. Film and tv work includes: Candy with Heath Ledger, The Man Who Sued God with Billy Connolly, The Illustrated Family Doctor with Samuel Johnson, The Kangaroo Gang, Hard Nut and Crime Investigations Australia. His directing work is now focussed on Shakespeare at drama schools and for independent theatre companies. As well as freelance directing he also teaches/directs for JMC Academy, NIDA, and Darlo Drama. In 2020 with a grant from City of Sydney council he produced and directed Macbeth: the installation which was broadcast live for three nights on You Tube. He is currently a Master of Philosophy candidate at the University of Sydney researching the relevancy of Shakespeare in contemporary acting training.


Jessica Paterson

The devil damn thee black (and white): the natural, unnatural and artificial in Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth (2021) 

Complex imagery of nature is present in a great number of Shakespeare’s plays. While nature is indeed a constant through-line in many of Shakespeare’s texts, its very presence is as an artistic construction; a product of Shakespeare’s complex imagery itself. It follows, then, that the traditional binary examined in response to images of nature in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, that of the natural and the unnatural, may be perceived instead as a triplex: the natural, the unnatural, and the artificial. It is this triplex that will be examined in this paper, with reference to Joel Coen’s recent film adaptation, The Tragedy of Macbeth (2021). Coen’s film mirrors Shakespeare’s Macbeth in its frequent use of imagery of the natural and unnatural, and is a potent example of the use of artifice to enhance the power of these images, through the employment of a number of key creative choices, the most influential being the use of black and white.

Jessica Paterson completes her Master of English Studies at the University of Sydney this month. She holds a BMus (MusEd)(Hons) from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and a BA(Acting) from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts. Jessica initially developed a love of Shakespeare through her career as an actor. She holds theatrical credits from Bell Shakespeare, Belvoir, the Old Fitz and WA’s Black Swan State Theatre Co, and also works as an educator, dramaturg, and in fundraising for a Sydney-based not-for-profit.


Tony Patricia

“‘I lay with Cassio lately…” The Interpretation of Iago’s Dream 

I begin with the desire to engage in critical heresy. I will do so by taking inspiration from LC Knights, et. al., and treating the characters – especially Iago – in Othello as if they were real people. (Besides, I having a nagging suspicion that for those who claim such character criticism is anathema, they give in to the impulse to treat Shakespeare’s characters as real people more often than they may be willing to admit, especially in the classroom when trying to engage their students in four-hundred-year-old plays and poems.) Doing this allows me to take Iago beyond all the limits of the printed page and into a critically generative reality. So positioned, I proceed to do a close reading Othello 3.3.416 to 3.3.434, in which Iago talks to Othello about how one night recently he slept with Lieutenant Cassio. Iago’s words are redolent with a homoeroticism that is not to be denied, yet he insists several times that what he relates here is Cassio’s rather than his own dream. By this point in the play, we are right to question Iago’s insistence; it is far more likely an account of his own dream that he shares with Othello. Part of this close reading includes comparing Iago’s dream to that of Hamlet as Freud wrote about a hundred years ago. The interpretation of Iago’s dream that results from the efforts put forth in this paper will be, hopefully, wonderfully complicated, nuanced, and insightful.

Dr. Anthony Patricia has travelled to us from Concord University  Athens, West Virginia, in the USA.


Maggie Patton

Our great and valuable literary treasure

On the 20th of February 1885 a unanimous vote of thanks was passed by the Council of the Free Public Library of Sydney to Messrs Richard and George Tangye of Birmingham for the gift of a First Folio edition of Shakespeare printed in 1623. The minutes record the council’s delight in receiving this ‘great and valuable literary treasure’. Over 137 years later we are still acknowledging this significant donation, the only First Folio held in Australia. This presentation will discuss the known and speculative provenance of our First Folio as well as the binding, printing anomalies and marks of readership that are truly unique in the copy held at the State Library of New South Wales.

Dr MaggiePatton is Head of Collection Acquisition and Curation at the State Library of New South Wales. She is responsible for managing the development of the Library’s collections and leading research and curation programs and activities that engage readers and visitors with the significant and unique collections.  For many years Maggie has been researching the rare book and cartographic collections at the Library, in particular early printed books and the Library’s renowned Shakespeare collections.


Bríd Phillips, Sessina Figueiredo, Bahareh Afsharnejad, Sonya Girdler

Re-Imagining A Midsummer Night’s Dream through a non-Ableist Lens 

The works of Shakespeare are often employed to encourage the inclusion and participation of neurodiverse children in a variety of settings such as schools and workshop programs. Some scholars even advocate his works as a safe space for learning. However, these activities do not address the ableist language and attitudes which run through many, if not all, of Shakespeare’s works. This lacuna was addressed by the project, ‘A Reimagined Midsummer Night’s Dream’ run by Spectrum Space, an organization offering strengths-based programs for autistic youth, adolescents, and adults. What marks this project as unique is that while theatre-based programs are common, many of the scripts or adaptations in use are written by non-autistic writers for neurodiverse children, often with little consultation from those with neurodivergent lived experience. With the ‘Reimagined’ project the Shakespearean play text was rewritten by the autistic adult participants for their own production. The project’s outputs included a publicly accessible revised script suitable for all audiences, a short film utilising the rewritten script, and a documentary capturing the creative process demonstrating the mpact of Shakespeare beyond ableist limitations. The adapted script pays close attention to concerns such as ableism, accessibility, characterization, and societal values. This paper discusses these concerns and how they were addressed by the participants within the revised text. While accessibility and awareness of the neurodivergent lived experience are central concerns, it is notable that the participants were equally concerned with issues relevant to the general population such as racism, misogyny, and gratuitous violence.

Dr Bríd Phillips is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Arts, Mental Health and Wellbeing, UWA. She holds a PhD in English and Literary Studies and the History of Emotions, an MA in Medieval and Early Modern Studies, and a BA in English and Classics. She also has an extensive clinical background in emergency nursing. Her research is focused on Shakespeare studies with a special interest in the history of emotions, narrative medicine, health and medical humanities, art and health, and, a special interest in the heart and health humanities. Her monograph, Shakespeare and Emotional Expression: Finding Feeling through Colour, is published with Routledge Publishing.

Sessina Figueiredo is a behaviour support practitioner and researcher at the Curtin Autism Research Group at Curtin University. She has achieved First-Class Honours in Autism Research and has completed a post-graduate certificate in Autism.  She is currently completing her Master’s in Autism Studies through Griffith University. Sessina has a lived experience background in neurodiversity and is experienced with autism, intellectual disability, supported decision making and challenging behaviours. Her focus is on co-producing research using a human rights model and bridging the gap between research and evidence-based practice for autistic adults.

Dr Bahareh Afsharnejad is a researcher at the Curtin Autism Research Group at Curtin University. Dr Afsharnejad has a background in psychology and a PhD in autism research. She is experienced in autism and ‎neurodiversity, social skills, inclusion, and mental health. Her key focus is translating research to practice, particularly in improving outcomes ‎for neurodivergent people. One such effort is exploring the efficacy of strength-based programs that aim to boost the confidence of neurodiverse youth in navigating their everyday social life.

Professor Sonya Girdler is affiliated with the School of Allied Health at Curtin University and is Director of the Curtin Autism Research Group (CARG). Sonya has extensive experience in the field of autism research and neurodevelopmental disorders more broadly.  Sonya is particularly interested in research at the intersection of disciplines and collaborates extensively with researchers from Science and Engineering and the Humanities.  Sonya is also committed to the development, evaluation and translation into practice of evidence-based interventions (particularly social skills, strengths-based programs and mental health), and research directed at improving the participation of autistic individuals in major life areas such as employment and education.


Peter Richard

Charity, Liberality and the Survival of Virtue in Timon of Athens

William Shakespeare’s and Thomas Middleton’s satirical tragedy Timon of Athens would perhaps not be a first or obvious choice for the theatregoer seeking an actuation of the Christian theological virtues of faith, hope and love. Yet for all its expunction of Christianity, virtue’s fingerprints may be found in Timon in the form of a number of intriguing references to ‘charity’, both in the speeches of the titular character, and by those who perceive him. This paper offers an analysis of those references in relation to each other, showing how Timon (the character’s) theory and practice of charity is both expressive of, and limited to, the classical ideal of liberalitas, as articulated by Cicero and Seneca (among others). Contemporary scholarship has highlighted that early modern thought on the topic of charity (caritas in its Latinate form) was not so constrained. This paper concludes with an examination of whether ‘holy love’―to early modern people an immediately recognisable, and potent, connotation of charity―survives within the play in the speeches and actions of the minor characters, and as a morality defined by opposition to the initial prodigality, and later misanthropy, of the titular protagonist.

Peter Richard is a doctoral candidate in Early Modern English literature at the University of Sydney working under the supervision of Professor Liam Semler.


Julia Richards

“We must have you dance”: Reimagining Dance in Bell Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet  

Whether it be to “join…in a graceful dance” (Tempest 4.1.138 SD) or to “deny to dance” (Romeo and Juliet 1.5.19), dance plays an integral role in Shakespearean plays such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, and Much Ado About Nothing. Yet, the significance of dance is often glazed over or ignored by modern audiences. Perhaps this is due to the unfamiliarity and difficulty of engaging with historical dances such as the courtly pavane and the baser jig that appear in the plays. How does understanding the choreography in Shakespeare throughout history, beyond all limits of the printed play-text, inform current Australian understandings of Shakespeare? This paper examines the prevalence and importance of dance within Bell Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (2023) and pays close attention to Simone Sault’s unique choreographic interpretation of the Capulet masquerade. Some captivating features of dance within this production include Sault’s clever amalgamation of historical dance styles with contemporary movements, audience participation in the dancing, and the inclusion of a dancing Romeo, who traditionally does not dance and remains sidelined as “a candleholder and look[s] on” (RJ 1.4.38). Exploring the significance of Sault’s dancing Romeo, I argue that such imaginative adaptations showcase the vast possibilities and meanings that dance can offer Shakespeare in performance. Through its ability to reimagine, reinvigorate, and reinterpret the allusions to choreography within Shakespeare, dance has the power to make Shakespeare more relevant, exciting, and accessible to modern audiences.

Julia Richards is a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne and her current research explores the rich association between dance and literature. Julia’s Honours thesis, Jane Austen’s Ball: Choreographing Gender, Desire, and Courtship (2022), examined the function of dance within Northanger Abbey, Pride and Prejudice, and Emma. Currently, Julia is undertaking a PhD relating to the importance of dance within Shakespearean plays from the Elizabethan period to more contemporary adaptations.


Kerrie Roberts

Hamlet’s Hereditary Queen: Transcending Constraints on the portrayal of Gertrude

Beginning with the premise of that Gertrude in Hamlet may be a hereditary queen, as opposed to being limited to consort, I explore certain implied limits on the perception and portrayal of a female character, and ways to transcend those limits.

Such limits, as well as the possibility of transformation, are products of the cultures in which they take place. Scholars, theatre-makers and audiences are limited by cultural preconceptions, their fields of expertise and their own biographies. The interpretation of a female character may be limited to the opinion of a character with whom an interpreter identifies. Female characters may be limited to sexual or token, their subjectivity absent and their stories uninteresting; their silence indicating irrelevance; and through simplistic morality – good/bad, rather than, say, well-meaning, incompetent, powerless.

Gertrude’s equivalent is the daughter of the King of Denmark in all five of the known possible sources of Hamlet. The few commentators aware of this still generally limit the character to cultural preconceptions. The text may be ignored, distorted and interpreted beyond its actual content to suit.

Transcending these limits can be circumstantial and coincidental. Performance itself can be an effective way to find new meanings and transcend the above limits – but this will be governed by the subjective constraints of the performer. Love is also limited by the features of the character claiming the emotion. Old Hamlet, Claudius and Hamlet will be considered here.

Kerrie Roberts has a background in teaching, acting, and directing. Her adaptation, Gertrude’s Hamletwas written in 2009-2010 and produced through the Tuggeranong Arts Centre in 2011. Hamlet’s Hereditary Queen (Routledge, UK, 2023) is based on a postgraduate dissertation done at the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Sydney.


Kathryn Roberts Parker

Representation of Morris Dancing in Early Modern Playhouses

When John Forrest published his History of Morris Dancing 1458-1750 in 1999, the historian famously declared that playtexts with stage directions for morris dancing were not relevant enough to his statistical analysis due to their being an imitation of a real dance that existed in the early modern period. This paper presents a counter to Forrest’s position. I argue that representation of morris dancing on the London stages played an important role in the dance’s growing popularity and public engagement in the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods. Playtexts take us beyond the limits of the public records to get a broader understanding of how vernacular (orally circulated) music traditions connected audiences and performers. I will look at examples of morris dancing stage directions in plays by the Children of Paul’s playing company and The King’s Men to show how these playtexts from different periods reflect developments in musical style evidenced in the public records. I will analyse both explicit and implied stage directions for morris dancing which reveal a communal and participatory use of music which both expands the limits of current readings of theatre performance and enhances our understanding of morris dancing on the streets of London.

Kathryn Roberts Parker is an interdisciplinary researcher with a professional practice in historical folk music and theatre. She has recently completed a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship at Newcastle University in the UK, researching A Performance History of Morris Dancing: Music and Musicians 1500-1700. This research has followed on from a PhD at the University of Sydney, Music and Festival Culture in Shakespearean Comedy, which she completed in 2020. Kathryn composes and performs live music with Matriark Theatre, a company she co-founded in 2014. She is also the founder and producer of Talon, a folk dance group in the UK.


Steve Rowland with Amiti Bey

Time Out of Joint: Prison Reflections on Shakespeare

Time Out of Joint (TOOJ) is an innovative educational project that provides unique experiences for high school and college students which help them engage critically with people who became educated in prisons.  These special teachers can help students access Shakespeare in ways that connect it to contemporary society – a society that is highly complex and often inequitable. TOOJ’s grant-funded workshops for high schools and colleges that are co-taught by educated former prisoners working with outside teachers, scholars, and artists.  The workshops use paired texts:  scenes from Shakespeare matched thematically with ‘prison monologues’ followed by conversations which engage students with topics of literature, language, social justice and importantly the ways that education can transform lives.

All of this is done via Zoom ranging from 1-5 sessions with each classroom.

We are thrilled to have the opportunity to be part of the ANZA conference. Our session will include a short overview of our work, followed by a model workshop so teachers can experience something close to that which our students experience.

Steve Rowland is a college educator and award-winning documentary director.  He has taught Shakespeare in prisons for over 10 years and is completing a documentary film called “Time Out of Joint: Prison Reflections on Shakespeare”. He is founder of an educational venture based on the film. Time Out of Joint hires former prisoners to lead Shakespeare-based Zoom workshops in high schools and colleges, often using paired texts. Topics include prison education, Shakespeare and the transformative power of education.

Amiti Bey, aka Marvin Lewis, is an educator, writer, playwright poet, activist, and former member of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. He was released from Woodbourne Prison in NY State on 8/20/2020, after 40 years of incarceration. While inside, Bey earned a BS in Social Work, an MA in Professional Studies, with a concentration in Public Health. He spent ten years teaching undergraduate sociology, counselling, and world religion courses to other prisoners.

Bey says “Shakespeare and I have been talking for years about this and that topic.
An antidote for the hypocrisy of so many speaking lies and lacking a moral conscience that my old white mate has shown to me centuries later Feel me? My reflections on Shakespeare’s take on human nature in his characters’ perceptions, language and behavior. His plays and sonnets raise intriguing and universal insights about issues which often lead to solutions for me. My connection to the Bard is deep – I love his attitude. Feel me?  A cat that put it all on the line. Walking the line with Queen Elizabeth and her uptight crew, but they were no match for Will’s intellect and blazing pen strokes, that made him master of the game. At the end of the day, I love me some Shakespeare.”


Paul Salzman

Shrinking the First Folio. 

In this paper I consider two significant 19th century facsimiles of the first folio that both reduced its size: Lionel Booth’s type facsimile of 1863/4, and James Orchard Halliwell’s photographic facsimile of 1876. Both facsimiles could be said to have ‘travelled’ extensively, and I have relied on copies of them held in the State Library of Victoria. I want to contrast these shrunk folios with Charlton Hinman’s expanded folio facsimile of 1968. What does it mean for our understanding of the folio that it is constantly shape shifting: a process that could be seen as reaching its culmination in today’s endlessly manipulable digital facsimiles of various copies of the folio? Of course the ‘original’ folio was always already mutating and permeable. What do we access, exactly, when we use these replicas? Does size matter? And how important is the location where we use them?

Paul Salzman is Emeritus Professor at La Trobe University. He has published widely on early modern women’s writing, early modern literary culture, and the history of editing. His most recent book is Facsimiles and the History of Shakespeare Editing, published in April 2023 in the new Cambridge Elements in Shakespeare and Text series.


Kishore Saval

The Observed Observer: Echo, Narcissus, Hamlet.” 

The philosophical promise of Ovid’s Echo and Narcissus episode is inexhaustible, and Derrida’s Voice and Phenomenon has opened up some of its most fruitful implications.  Derrida is not the first philosopher to notice that I am hearable from the place that I speak, visible from the place that I see, and touchable from the place that I touch.  However, Derrida perceptively explores the delay, hiatus, or spacing between these different vantage-points on necessarily connected experiences.  I can never inhabit my speaking and being heard, or my seeing and being seen, at one and the same moment, and all the promise and risk of meaning and desire emerges from this incapacity to be absolutely present to myself.

This paper asks how Ovid’s story of Echo and Narcissus, and its philosophical meaning as developed by Derrida and others, can transform our interpretation of Hamlet.  Hamlet is called “th’observed of all observers,” and he confronts in an exemplary manner the implication of his visibility in his seeing, and the dangerous capacity of his speech to be transformed by his own overhearing no less than by the hearing of others.  Moreover, in his language and behaviour, seemingly different ways of sensing not only relate to but envelop one another (e.g. “touching this vision here”; “He falls to such perusal of my face / As he would draw it”).  My engagement with Ovid, Hamlet, and philosophy hopes to provide a way into a reinvigorated criticism of Shakespeare, but also seeks to reimagine the relationship between poetising and thinking.

Kishore Saval received his J.D. in law from the University of California, Berkeley, and his Ph.D. in English from Harvard University.  He has previously been Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at Brown University and is currently Senior Lecturer in the Western Civilisation Program at Australia Catholic University.  He is the author of two books: Reading Shakespeare through Philosophy, and Shakespeare in Hate. 


Liam Semler

‘My old treasure’: investigating the provenance of Shakespeare’s Second Folio (1632) held by the State Library of New South Wales

The State Library of NSW’s copy of Mr William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories & Tragedies (1632) (Safe 1/63) was formerly owned by the celebrated Australian Shakespearean actress Essie Jenyns (1864-1920). Jenyns bequeathed it to the National Art Gallery of NSW and it passed from there to the Public Library of NSW in 1922. Sarah Morley (Curator, State Library of NSW) and I recently established the identity of an earlier owner of the volume and this has opened up exciting new lines of inquiry. In this paper I present my research to date.

Liam E. Semler is Professor of Early Modern Literature at the University of Sydney. His recent publications include: The Early Modern Grotesque: English Sources and Documents 1500–1700 (Routledge, 2019); Coriolanus: A Critical Reader (Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare, 2021); and, co-edited with Claire Hansen and Jacqueline Manuel, Reimagining Shakespeare Education: Teaching and Learning through Collaboration (CUP, 2023).


John Severn

“Damnable both-sides rogue!”: Parolles, classical microsources and queer dramatic textures in All’s Well That Ends Well 

Shakespeare studies has recently begun rehabilitating source study as a methodological tool, after it fell out of favour around thirty years ago. This paper reassesses minor sources for All’s Well That Ends Well drawn from classical comedy well-known in Shakespeare’s day, particularly relating to the character of Parolles. While these sources have long been recognised, earlier source-hunting has not gone beyond identifying sources to investigating why they were used and what meaning might have been created when they were recognised in an early modern play. This paper argues that the strategic deployment of these sources produces queer dramatic textures – queer in the sense that they destabilise the apparent integrity of the surrounding dramatic texture and its world, and queer also in the sense that they bring to the surface non-heterosexual ways of being. Contrasting the queerness that arises from these sources with modern productions that work to contain non-heteronormative eroticism by staging Parolles as a denotative homosexual, first closeted and then embracing his “true” sexuality, the paper proposes that these classical sources are deployed in ways that create alternatives to the plays’ focus on problematic heterosexual relationships without reifying contemporary exclusionary and marginalising conventions.

John Severn teaches in the Department of Media, Communications, Creative Arts, Language and Literature at Macquarie University. He is the author of Shakespeare as Jukebox Musical (Routledge, 2019), and co-editor of Theatre and Internationalization: Perspectives from Australia, Germany, and Beyond (Routledge, 2020) with Ulrike Garde, and Barrie Kosky’s Transnational Theatres (Springer, 2021) with James Phillips.


Philip Tarvainen & Marinela Golemi

Shakespeare in Colour: Fluorescent Ecologies in A Midsummer Night’s Dream

A Midsummer Night’s Dream offers a color-coded spectacle where the monochromatic “society of men” (1.1.66) is polarized against the multi-coloured space of the Athenian woods. In the woods, the play’s colour rhetoric amplifies to signal the natural world of the fairies, filled “With purple grapes, green figs and mulberries,” “the fiery glow-worms’ eyes,” and “painted butterflies” (3.1.161-166). This essay explores the ecocultural implications of representing Dream’s forest in fluorescent colours as seen in Armela Demaj’s and Victor Malana Maog’s productions of Dream. Through colourful lighting and costume designs, these productions transform the woods into fluorescent ecologies. For instance, both productions stage the play’s natural world with the fairies as vibrant agents in a dark, blue moonlit environment that mimics “lightning in the collied night” (1.1.145). This use of colour renders the invisible world of nonhuman agents visible, highlighting their ability to shape events within the Athenian ecosystem. While the forest for the young lovers–a space where “[s]o quick bright things come to confusion” (1.1.149)–is contrasted to the courtly world of the play, the audience is asked to “behold” a world where the nature/culture binary collapses. The visual ecologies of chromatic productions allow audiences to partake in ecodramas that create performative spaces where human and nonhuman, cultural and material elements are visually entangled through colour. A colour-conscious approach to Dream provides a way of imagining ecocentric Shakespearean performances which promote new ways of seeing and relating to the more-than-human world.

Marinela Golemi is an Assistant Teaching Professor of English at Northern Arizona University, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses focused on Shakespeare and English Literature. She specializes in Early Modern English drama and literature, with particular investments in local and global Shakespeare, translation, performance, and adaptation. Other research interests include race, gender, and environmental studies. Her publications appear in Multicultural Shakespeare and Philosophy and Literature. Her forthcoming work focuses on Shakespearean adaptations in Albania.

Philip Tarvainen teaches literature and composition as an Instructor in the Department of English and Philosophy at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He received his masters in literature and cultural theory from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he focused his research on the new romances of the late-Victorian era, examining the intersections of landscape aesthetics, imperialism, and gender. Other research interests include ecology, culture, and the environment.


Barbara Taylor

Humming water, murky dens: Sea-room and Purgatory inPericlesandThe Tempest

This paper performs a comparative reading of the sea-spaces in Pericles (1608) by William Shakespeare and George Wilkins, and The Tempest(1611) by William Shakespeare, arguing that their conflicting representations of the sea as a locus of penitence and absolution participate in a broader reorientation of Purgatory in early seventeenth-century England. In both plays, the experience of purgation is put to sea, but the respective spatiality of this experience, its “sea-room”, differs greatly. While Prospero’s dominion over the world ofThe Tempest seems to extend to its natural environment, in Periclesthe characters are at the mercy of an untameable providential force. And yet, The Tempest’s space of purgation is only so tightly controlled because it risks overflowing its bounds, and the misfortunes in Pericles are continually re-mapped across its “watery empire”.

Deleuze and Guattari famously called the ocean “smooth space par excellence”, suggesting that it was through early modern developments in naval navigation that the liquid notion of oceanic space was under threat of striation; organisation, commodification, and control. By interpreting the “sea-room” of each play as alternately, and anxiously, “smoothed” or “striated”, this paper considers how the limits of Purgatory continued to fluctuate, overlap, and clash long after church reformation. In their depiction of the sea as a liminal pathway between destinations, on the borders of near-death and supposed-death, Pericles and The Tempest experiment with the contemporaneous development of both literal and spiritual geographies during a period of rapid maritime growth and tumultuous religious reform.

BarbaraTaylor (she/her) is a PhD candidate in English, within the School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics at the Australian National University, where she is completing ‘Materiality and Re-enchantment in Shakespearean Romance’. She holds a BA (Hons) in English Literature and Ancient History from the University of Sydney, and an MA in Shakespeare Studies from King’s College London.


Cheryl Taylor & Kezia Perry

A Shakespeare Pressbook

The information about Shakespeare accessible on the internet varies in quality, but the quantity truly is ‘beyond all limits.’ Early this year I nevertheless began a project, which I hope will prove more than another addition to an overstocked market, to build a Pressbook that will assist senior secondary and early tertiary students with their Shakespeare studies. The title, deliberately descriptive rather than imaginative, is Shakespeare’s Major Plays. Dr Kezia Perry, a librarian knowledgeable about Pressbook H5P techniques, is assisting me. Beginning with As You Like It, Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet, the Pressbook will go live on the James Cook University Library website early in 2024. If this first tranche proves popular, introductions to other plays will follow.

My purpose in presenting this paper (accompanied with selections from the Pressbook) is to seek advice about how Shakespeare’s Major Plays might be made more useful for students. At points appropriate for our discussion, we insert pictures and performance clips from the Internet and YouTube where these are freely available or able to be licenced. We are working with four main headings for each play: ‘Context’ discusses each play’s early staging and printings; ‘Story’ is an act-by-act summary of the plot; the two longer sections, ‘Characters’ and ‘Attitudes and Issues’ develop approaches to these topics that are based on my long experience of lecturing and tutoring undergraduates on Shakespeare’s plays and poems. If the ideas suggested are not new, they are at least newly configured and individually expressed.


Kylie Teoh

Surveillant Sensescapes in The Changeling: An Ecological Approach to Decoding the Logic of Anxious Masculinities

In seeking to advance our understanding of the jealous, watchful lover as a byproduct of anxiety culture in early modern contexts, this paper turns to the sensorial dimensions of gender-based surveillance as a focus of inquiry in the study of The Changeling. It asks the following questions in relation to the play — are certain senses privileged over others in acts of surveillance, and if so, why? What is the relationship of sensory values to the social constructs of gender and class?

Drawing from David Howes’ concept of sensescapes and Tim Ingold’s kinaesthetic approach to sensing, the paper argues that reconciling their work is necessary towards a richer understanding of embodied sensory perception. Significantly, this paper adopts a synaesthetic approach that considers the interplay of the senses in acts of sensory surveillance featured in the play, one that seeks to challenge the traditional narrative espoused by early modern scholars that The Changeling is primarily concerned with faulty visual perception. This critique on the tendency to isolate the senses in readings of the play builds on work by Patricia Cahill and Mark Smith, who draw from less often studied modalities of sensory experience, considering the affective force of haptics and bodily-spatial constructions in The Changeling respectively. Above all, this paper calls for renewed attention towards the reciprocal interplay between agents of surveillance and the sensuous environment. Such marks an ecological approach to perception, which will afford readers and audiences of The Changeling with a nuanced perspective of the sensory dynamics at play.


Laura Turchi & Kimiko Warner-Turner

Romeo and Juliet and the Limits of La Frontera 

This paper explores the language and cultural limits that can be productively stretched when reading Shakespeare along with multilingual adaptations. In the 1st volume of The Bard in the Borderlands (available in open access from Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies Press, 2023), three plays adapt Romeo and Juliet: The Language of Flowers by Edit Villarreal, Kino and Theresa by James Lujan, and The Tragic Corrido of Romeo and Lupe by Seres Jaime Magaña. Each play re-envisions Romeo and Juliet through specific historical and cultural lenses. Each text points to social justice issues where they are particularly fraught: intersections between cultures and traditions, and especially at national borders that distinguish law and status (and power). This paper discusses approaching these plays in conversation with each other, interrogating issues of identity, diversity in a community, systems of justice, and ultimately reason for collective action. Studying this Shakespeare play with these adaptations potentially adds to contemporary recognition of how people living in borderlands (such as between the US and Mexico) experience citizenship and other legal and social definitions of identity. The permutations of the feud between the Montagues and Capulets poses the question of whether it is inevitable for tension to escalate when neither side can accurately (or respectfully) speak of the other. This paper attends to both the specific Borderlands – La Frontera – represented in the plays and the metaphoric borderlands that students experience as they move further into the responsibilities and opportunities of adulthood.

Laura B. Turchi, Co-Director of the Shakespeare and Social Justice Project at the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles, is the curriculum director for the RaceB4Race: Sustaining Building, Innovating project funded by the Mellon Foundation at the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (Arizona State University). She co-authored Teaching Shakespeare with Purpose: A Student-Centered Approach with Ayanna Thompson and is about to publish Teaching with Interactive Shakespeare Editions, an Element from Cambridge University Press.


Kohei Uchimaru

Anthologising ‘Shakespeare for Children’ in Secondary-School EFL Textbooks in Modern Japan  

This paper discusses how Shakespeare found his way into locally produced English as a Foreign Language (EFL) textbooks in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century Japan, and demonstrates that textbook editors borrowed from the morally instructive adaptations of Shakespeare for children published in Great Britain or the U.S. The first section provides a brief picture of Shakespeare’s shifting position in those EFL textbooks from 1887 to 1945, thereby pointing out that the prose versions of The Merchant of Venice and King Lear were the most popular among textbook editors. The second section highlights the difficulties which editors faced when attempting to anthologise Shakespeare, in terms of language and moral instruction. A notable instance can be found in The Mombushô Conversational Readers (1889). While including the Lambs’ retelling of King Lear in its entirety, the textbook editor not only explicated their English but also what he perceived as being morally dubious, such as the deaths of Lear and Cordelia. The third section reveals that such concerns prompted editors to opt for (or tinker with) more simplistic, morally instructive versions that granted King Lear a happy ending or sanitised Shylock, well into the 1940s; those texts were derived from a book of moral instruction, The Golden Word Book (1913), or from Mary Seymour’s Shakespeare’s Stories Simply Told (1880). Thus, teaching Shakespeare in the EFL classroom drew on morally instructive versions aimed at Anglophone children, and such adaptations aligned with the ideals of general education in modern Japan.


Lauren Weber

Reading time and space through Shakespeare criticism’  

This paper explores how the history of Shakespeare criticism mirrors developments in the teaching and learning of reading in Education. I argue that critical readings of Shakespeare can teach us about how, why, and what we read. I ground my exploration of reading in Shakespeare criticism to highlight the way literary studies may speak directly to literacy as a study, skill, and cornerstone of schooling. Beginning with close reading and ending with distant reading, I aim to demonstrate the educational potential of using literary critical history (in this case, specific to Shakespeare) to support our understanding of the role of reading in contemporary pedagogical practice. This paper speaks to educational contexts from a range of perspectives, from primary through to tertiary education.

Dr Lauren A. Weberis a Lecturer in the School of Education at the University of Wollongong. Her research is focused on the teaching of literature and subject English from primary to tertiary contexts. She has published her work in Literacy Research and Instruction,Teachers and Teaching, and Cordite Poetry Review. Her first book about the teaching of empathy through literature is under contract with Anthem Press.


Samuel Webster

Reimagining Shakespeare’s The Tempest in its afterlife: a study of cuts, revisions, and potential sources

Shakespeare’s The Tempest has undergone numerous revisions and cuts over the centuries, resulting in challenges to the play’s themes and meanings. In this paper, I examine the influence of commedia dell’arte on The Tempest and consider the possibility of a late reduction in the play’s dramatic structure. This foundation sets the stage for the dramaturgical task of writing my own twenty-first-century adaptation, This Thing of Darkness, which draws on postcolonial critique, transforming the work into one which examines concerns about the ongoing impact of empire.

By examining Kathleen Lea’s discussion of the contents of Commedia scenarios and their parallels with The Tempest, I postulate several possible missing elements, including the unfinished revenge plots and the uncomplicated romance plot of Miranda and Frederick. In addition, I consider Henry David Gray’s hypothesis that Shakespeare cut his own climax in favour of a wedding masque to appease King James I’s daughter on her wedding day in 1613. This theory raises questions about the role of political and cultural factors in shaping the play and adds another layer of complexity to our understanding of The Tempest‘s evolution.
In considering the ethics of adaptation, I draw on Walter Benjamin’s model of the ‘textual afterlife’, which suggests that every text has the potential to be reinterpreted and reworked by future generations. I then situate This Thing of Darkness as a reimagination of The Tempest that addresses the aforementioned criticisms dramaturgically. Through engaging with these potential source materials, This Thing of Darkness opens new avenues for understanding both the First Folio Tempest and its many afterlives.

Samuel Webster is a multi-disciplinary artist with over a decade of extensive experience in Australia and Italy. With a rich and diverse career spanning theatre, dance, film, print and music, Samuel has contributed his invaluable expertise in writing and dramaturgy to multiple works. He is currently undertaking a PhD at the University of New England (Creative Practice) in theatre and performance studies, focusing on adaptation.


Caitlin West

Clearing out the archive: contemporary Australian performances of Shakespeare 

Marvin Carlson writes that “Because every physical element of [theatre] production can be and often is used over and over again in subsequent productions, the opportunities for an audience to bring memories of previous uses to new productions are enormous” (8). Theatre, in one sense, is a vast cultural archive of objects, ideas, people, and events; and every performance is an opportunity to enter the archive – to excavate, examine, and add to its contents. Shakespeare’s plays, which have been performed countless times over the last 400 years, represent a particularly rich and complex cultural archive. However, this archive can present obstacles; every performance of Shakespeare has to respond not only to the demands of the printed text, but also to the layers of cultural memory that audiences and performers bring with them.

In this paper, I draw on my observations of rehearsals for Hamlet by the Bell Shakespeare Company, Othello by Queensland Theatre, and The Tempest by the Sydney theatre Company to explore how the archive of cultural memory can inhibit contemporary innovation. I also discuss the ways that Shakespeare performers can explore the gaps in the archive, and clear away the clutter of assumptions, expectations, and ideals that have gathered around the text and that may be unhelpful or unnecessary in a contemporary context. I argue that it is precisely the accumulated weight and richness of the Shakespearean archive that makes performing his work in twenty-first century Australia valuable.

Caitlin West is a PhD Candidate at the University of Queensland. She is conducting her research on meaning-making in contemporary mainstage theatre performances of Shakespeare’s plays. Caitlin completed her Masters of English Studies at the University of Sydney and also has a background in theatre practice. She has recently published in the Shakespeare Institute Review, Otherness: Essays and Studies, and mETAphor magazine. In 2020 she was a recipient of the Australasian Association for Theatre, Drama, and Performance Studies (ADSA) Geoffrey Milne Bursary, and in 2021 she was the runner-up for the Veronica Kelly prize for Best Postgraduate Paper at the ADSA conference.


Anne-Maree Wicks & Laurie Johnson

Neil Gaiman’s “Weird” Walking-canon: “Shakespeare” in Midsummer  

In Neil Gaiman’s graphic novel series, Sandman, William Shakespeare appears as a character who makes a Faustian pact with Morpheus, the eponymous figure at the centre of the stories and who is himself master of all stories and fantasies. Shakespeare will be granted the ability to write stories that far outlive his own memory, but at what cost? Our interest in this paper is in what kind of “weirdness” happens when Shakespeare is introduced as a character in fictive treatments of Shakespeare’s world, especially when through what Jacques Derrida called the “law of quotation,” the playwright is also held to be representative of his complete canon. Is a canon able to walk in the world, to act upon that world? The question is amplified in a sort of vertiginous spiral when, in Gaiman’s fiction, this walking-canon appears in the world of one or more plays, as in vol.2 #19 Dream Country: A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Can this canon walk in and act upon the world of one of its elements? Reconsidering what Derrida also calls the “law of genre,” we propose to examine the extreme indeterminacy that “Weird Fiction” of this kind poses in relation to the limits of Shakespeare’s canon writ large but then also writ locally and consigned to the world of play and the play of the world.

Laurie Johnson is Professor of English and Cultural Studies at the University of Southern Queensland, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and current President of the Australian and New Zealand Shakespeare Association. His publications include Leicester’s Men and Their Plays: An Early Elizabethan Playing Company and its Legacy (Cambridge UP, 2023), Shakespeare’s Lost Playhouse: Eleven Days at Newington Butts (Routledge, 2018), and many other works on Shakespeare and theatre history. His latest project is an investigation of the impact of sixteenth-century British climate on the rise of the Shakespearean theatre.

Dr Anne-Maree Wicks is a PhD (English Literature) graduate from the University of Southern Queensland. Her research project focused on Weird Fiction’s concerns of genre and form, and the feminist frictions within weird fictions phallogocentric concepts. Her publications include a chapter in The American Weird; Concept and Medium (Bloomsbury, 2021) and “H. P. Lovecraft’s Weird Tale Ideal: Angela Carter’s New Weird Dystopia” (Colloquy, 2018). Her current endeavours include publishing her thesis and researching into women’s position and access in language.


Reto Winckler

Computational Shakespeare – Shakespeare’s Language as Computer Code in the Shakespeare Programming Language  

While there is a wide-ranging and steadily growing body of scholarship on digital Shakespeares, comparatively little of it has focused on the computational processes that run in the background of, and effectively constitute, any digital media product, including those that might be regarded as “Shakespeare”. This paper contributes to filling this gap in the literature by examining how the Shakespeare Programming Language (SPL, Jon Åslund and Karl Hasselström 2001) turns Shakespeare’s poetry into computer code. As a fully functional, Turing-complete programming language, the SPL in theory allows the user to instruct the computer to execute any computable sequence – that is to say, do anything that the machine is theoretically capable of doing. Yet as a so-called esoteric programming language (esolang), the SPL is written not primarily to be functional, but rather for an aesthetic end: its programs look like Shakespeare plays, featuring characters, stage directions, and dialogue. In this paper, I will first introduce the SPL and its programs in the context of the architecture of computers and the history of esolangs. I will then argue that by taking Shakespeare to the very heart of the computational process and making it an active participant in it, SPL programs epitomize the blurring of the boundaries between human language and computer code that marks the digital age.

Reto Winckler is an assistant professor in the Department of English at City University of Hong Kong. He is interested in madness and folly, ordinary language philosophy, adaptation studies (particularly in television series and digital media) and generally all things Shakespeare. His articles have been published in Texas Studies of Literature and Language, Shakespeare, The Journal of Adaptation in Film and Performance, Cahiers Élisabéthains, and Adaptation, where he is also a member of the editorial board. He is the co-editor of Television Series as Literature (Palgrave, 2022).


Elissa Wolf

Shakespeare’s Asides 

Throughout Shakespeare’s quartos and folios, there are only four stage directions for asides and two vocal directions to address one’s self. These markings appear in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Richard III, Titus Andronicus, and The Merchant of Venice. This is compared to the roughly six hundred asides marked in the New Oxford Shakespeare: Modern Critical Edition. It is from these four marked asides and two vocal directions that we can obtain a glimpse at the possible deliveries and functions of asides, as far as Shakespeare—or, perhaps, his publishers—were concerned. What do the differences between Shakespeare’s text and modern editions mean for performers? How do the different forms of aside-address affect a scene? Furthermore, how does public or private address influence an audience’s understanding? By assessing current scholarship, it is clear scholars are divided on what asides are and they don’t often question how their research can be applied by performers. The assessment of marked asides among modern editions is used to contribute to the multiple functions and performance options of asides. The performance workshops, conducted during research, highlighted how certain aside deliveries can change the understanding of a scene. By understanding these aside dynamics actors are able to make aside delivery decisions based on the character and moods they wish to present and are no longer limited by what an editor has presented them with.

Elissa Wolf is an Equity actor and theatre practitioner based in the Chicago land area. She has worked for multiple theatre organizations including the former Chicago Youth Shakespeare, Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, and Door Shakespeare. Her passion for performing Shakespeare fuels her research endeavours. Her background as a performer serves as a driving force behind her research efforts, aiming to equip actors with a new tool to approach Shakespeare’s text. She has previously presented at the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s Wooden O Symposium, the Ohio Valley Shakespeare Conference, and spoke at the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Conference this November.


Roweena Yip

Teaching A Midsummer Night’s Dream as a Global Narrative  

How does a Korean adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream situate Shakespeare within an interdisciplinary common curriculum1 humanities course called Global Narratives at a Singaporean honours college? In my presentation, I shall explore the pedagogical, ideological and ethical factors that informed the inclusion of Yohangza Theatre Company’s performance (directed by YANG Jung-ung, 2002) in the course curriculum, as well as the ways in which teaching this performance facilitates negotiations with the operative terms in the course title: ‘global’ and ‘narratives’ in the classroom. These negotiations take place through questions surrounding Shakespeare’s status as a canonical figure in global performance cultures and the role of intercultural theatre in reshaping the narrative of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Using the Asian Shakespeare Intercultural Archive (A|S|I|A) as the primary pedagogical tool for teaching this performance, I examine the role of the digital archive in providing students access to performances across temporal, geographical and cultural boundaries and in contextualising performances via the following data categories: production, reception, art / forms and points of reference. Finally, I conclude with a consideration of my intercultural positionality as a member of an interdisciplinary teaching team co-creating curriculum for this course.

Roweena Yip is a Lecturer at the NUS College, the undergraduate honours college of the National University of Singapore (NUS). Her research interests lie in the intersections between gender studies and performances. Asian Shakespeares, a forthcoming monograph based on her doctoral thesis articulates new conceptualisations of gender performativity in the context of Shakespeare productions in East and Southeast Asia, will appear soon. She teaches the performance of Shakespeare as part of a team-designed course called Global Narratives. Her work has been published in Asian Theatre Journal (2022), Research in Drama Education (co-written with Yong Li Lan, 2020), and Gender Forum (2017).