Thursday March 10th was a milestone in the university’s collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company, when the entire Shakespeare Institute community went around the corner to the RSC’s nearly-finished studio theatre The Other Place for the first time.
In the morning, the Director of the Institute, Michael Dobson, taught his weekly MA seminar on the history of Shakespearean performance in the new rehearsal space recently used during the preparation of the RSC’s current production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream - and appropriately the week’s topic was the history of the RSC, taught on this occasion in the very space which when occupied by the first Other Place saw Judi Dench play Lady Macbeth, when occupied by the second saw Sam West’s Richard II, and when occupied by the temporary Courtyard theatre saw David Tennant’s Hamlet. Erin Sullivan followed with a seminar on incorporating interviews with actors, directors, and other creative practitioners into theatre research.
In the afternoon the weekly Thursday guest lecture, given on this occasion by Institute graduate Ann Kaegi (Hull University) and attended by all the Institute’s faculty, staff and students, took place in the same impressive room. Afterwards the RSC’s deputy artistic director Erica Whyman, who is artistic director of the new Other Place, spoke of her delight at henceforth allowing the university into the heart of the RSC’s research and development activities, and the Shakespeare Institute were collectively shown not just the resources of the new facility - costume storage areas, rehearsal and seminar spaces, 200-seat flexible theatre and all - but given a taste of the RSC’s tea, coffee and biscuits.