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While this summer’s immense and elaborate World Shakespeare Congress   – co-hosted in Stratford-upon-Avon and then London by the University’s Shakespeare Institute, in collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, King’s College London and Shakespeare’s Globe – may have marked one climax of this Shakespearean anniversary year, events cunningly organized not to compete with the Congress continue to take place across the planet, with Shakespeare Institute personnel taking leading roles.

Elsinore castle

The Director of the Shakespeare Institute, Professor Michael Dobson, spoke at Elsinore Castle in Denmark in August during its annual Hamlet festival; in September he and colleague Professor Ewan Fernie flew to Romania to deliver Shakespearean keynote lectures to a conference, co-organized with Craiova University, on ‘The Past in the Present’; this month Professor John Jowett, co-editor of the groundbreaking new Oxford edition of the playwright’s complete works, is speaking in Australia, as is Dr Erin Sullivan, while Professor Dobson has recently been in Germany, making the concluding speech at a Shakespeare-and-Cervantes-themed gathering of the Humboldt Foundation in Bonn, escorting Lady Wood, wife of the British Ambassador, on a visit to Wittenberg (where Hamlet and Dr Faustus studied in fiction, and Martin Luther in fact), consulting with archivists at the Brecht museum in Berlin about the Institute’s priceless presentation script of the Berliner Ensemble’s Coriolan, and lecturing at the Freie Universität.

Ewan at Cozia monastery in the Carpathians, in Romania

The Institute’s centrality to Shakespeare studies worldwide will be further illustrated at the end of October, when Professor Dobson will accompany the Vice-Chancellor to Nanjing to sign a partnership agreement with Phoenix Publishing concerning their Shakespearean activities in China. The Director’s duties before the end of this term also include a lecture tour of Brazil, an appearance on a panel about the RSC’s Mandarin translation project at the Shanghai Writers’ Association, a lecture at the Institute’s Japanese partner institution Waseda University in Tokyo, and a keynote lecture at the Asian Shakespeare Association conference in Delhi.  

Michael at the Brecht museum and archive in Berlin