- President’s Welcome
- Salt Waves Fresh – 5:00pm Friday, an outdoor staged reading adaptation of Twelfth Night by Gretchen Minton
- The Tempest – 6:30am Saturday, an outdoor performance from Come You Spirits in Victoria Park
- Covid policy
- Conference code of conduct
Welcome from ANZSA’s outgoing president, Professor Laurie Johnson:
The 2023 ANZSA conference is the 15th biennial conference of the Association, an event first held at the University of Melbourne in 1990. A quick calculation should tell you that this sum [15 x 2] does not fit neatly into the 33 years since 1990. There have in fact been longer breaks between two conferences, with the first from 2004 to 2008, due to Brisbane being the host of the 2006 World Shakespeare Congress, and the most recent gap due to COVID and its impact on many of the operations of universities across Australia and New Zealand. The 2006 event was heavily anticipated. In lieu of a full conference, the Association supported a postgraduate and early career “mini-conference” held in Toowoomba in 2006, and most ANZSA members also enjoyed participating in the World Congress, knowing that the Association would be due to convene again in Dunedin in 2008. Rather than a disruption, 2006 represented a formative year for the Association, with many members who attended the Congress also forming strong international connections and many of those who attended the mini-conference establishing lasting friendships and a strong sense of the Association being “ours.”
To say that the events of 2020 were unanticipated is understatement in the extreme. I need not revisit these events in wider detail, but I remind the delegates at this 15th biennial conference that the last actions of the 14th biennial conference took place on the afternoon of 10 February 2018, as the last few delegates at that conference walked out of panel sessions in the Arts West building at the University of Melbourne and went our separate ways before the building was due to be locked up at 6 pm. By the time delegates meet for the 15th conference at the State Library of New South Wales on 7 December 2023, 5 years and nearly 10 months will have passed. None of us who parted ways that evening in Melbourne had any sense that we would not meet again under the ANZSA umbrella until late 2023. I would like to take an opportunity here to acknowledge the work of the organising committee for the ANZSA that never was, as preparations for the 2020 conference at the University of Newcastle were well underway when the pandemic forced its cancellation. In lieu of a conference in 2020, we ran a virtual conference, “Hail and Well Met,” for postgraduates and early career scholars, and I hope that some of the delegates from that event found it to be an affirming experience amid the uncertainty that the pandemic was imposing on their careers at the time.
An almost six-year gap is intergenerational in academia, with whole cohorts of higher degree candidates having commenced and completed their doctorates in this interval. There have also been closures of whole departments within universities, most notably of Theatre departments, but the Humanities as a whole has come under intense pressure as institutions use financial constraint as an excuse to pursue an agenda against any subject that does not remotely resemble a cash cow. Across the performing arts sector and the heritage sector, the protracted and sometimes even permanent closure of some venues and lack of funding have given many practitioners due cause to follow alternative career paths. None of the academic and professional sectors within which ANZSA members are employed has been immune to this level of turnover.
Yet before I come over completely glum, and risk taking you there with me, I want to welcome you all to Shakespeare Beyond All Limits, the ANZSA 2023 conference, with a caveat that I am very keenly looking forward to an event that, much like Star Wars, might be rebadged in years to come as “A New Hope.” For many of you, this will be your first taste of an ANZSA conference. For some, this will be your first taste of an academic conference of any kind. Honestly, genuinely, those of us whose careers bridge the six-year interval since the last ANZSA conference will want all newcomers to feel completely welcome. For taking on the massive task of hosting the conference, my sincere gratitude to Associate Professor Huw Griffiths, Dr Anna Kamaralli, and Professor Liam Semler and to their support team. The conference team have done an amazing job at bringing this new and vibrant collection of performers, scholars, students, and teachers together for what promises to be a rewarding three days of celebrating the work of Shakespeare and his contemporaries in all of the ways it continues to be relevant today. I hope you all find, as I did at my first ANZSA event in 2006, that these people are your people and that, for every one of you, the Association is “ours”—a home for collaborations, exchanges, and friendships.
Please enjoy yourself at the conference.
Staged reading of Salt Waves Fresh
An adaptation of Twelfth Night, this will take place at 5pm on the Friday in the outdoor auditorium area made by the steps between the Education Building and Sydney College of the Arts (Old Teachers’ College) on campus, runs for about 80 minutes, and is free and open to all. This adaptation was created by Gretchen Minton as part of a fellowship with the University of Southern Queensland, and centres on finding a way to respond with compassion and hope to the climate threat on Australia’s tropical shores.
Performance of The Tempest by Come You Spirits on Saturday morning in Victoria Park
Saturday 9th Dec at 6:30am for a dawn performance. Acclaimed theatre troupe Come you Spirits are delighted to present The Tempest at dawn at the beautiful Victoria Park. In celebration of this extraordinary coming together of the best minds and hearts from all over the world in the spirit of Shakespeare, this dawn performance is offered on a ‘donation’ or ‘pay what you can’ basis. This is an offering not just for conference delegates and uni students, but also for the general public.
This production of The Tempest tells the story of redemption and hope. Banished Duke Prospero enslaves Mother Earth and the spirits of the island forcing the elements into a tempest – washing up his enemy. Until he learns better from those around him, and leans into love, the beauty of nature and steps into forgiveness and freedom. With the action taking place among and around the audience, experience the transformation as Sydney’s Victoria Park becomes the magical island ‘full of noises’ paired with a soundscape designed to make the spirit soar.
Masks and sterile wipes will be available on the day. If you have a medical vulnerability please let Anna know and we will schedule your panel in room 650, which has excellent air circulation, and ask those attending your panel to mask.