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The John Webster play reading marathon

Stratford-upon-Avon, The Shakespeare Institute
Arts and Law, Lectures Talks and Workshops, Research, Students, Teaching
Monday 10th (10:30) - Friday 28th June 2019 (17:00)
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Every year, members, alumni, and friends of The Shakespeare Institute come together for three weeks in June to read aloud a series of related plays, with a view to discovering meaningful connections between them through close juxtaposition. 

Past marathons have covered the authorial canons of Beaumont and Fletcher, Heywood, Shirley, Dekker, and Massinger, and the full corpus of playhouse drama in the ten years before Shakespeare.

This year, we are tackling not only the work of the Jacobean dramatist John Webster (whose canon is too compact for a three-week event) but also the plays that are known to have influenced hm; this will in part contribute to Dr Helen Moore’s work on her forthcoming Leverhulme-funded biography of Webster.  Since influence is one of the things we are hoping to track – albeit not the only purpose of the exercise – we are reading the plays in reverse chronological order, so that all of us will have a prospect of noticing those influences as they appear, rather than limiting that to the people in the room who already know Webster’s work well.  It is the literary equivalent of searching for the source of the Nile by navigating upstream.  And it will guarantee us a spectacular ending – we shall be, as Ben Jonson might have put it, ‘prorumped’!

The event is open to anyone and everyone who is interested, whether able to come for a single reading or the whole run.  Intending participants who are not already known to The Shakespeare Institute are asked to contact the organizer, Dr Martin Wiggins (, in advance. 

The schedule is as follows:

 Monday 10 June

  • 10:30 Appius and Virginia
  • 14:30 The Fair Maid of the Inn

Tuesday 11 June

  • 14:30 Monuments of Honour
  • 19:00 A Wedding (A Cure for a Cuckold)

Wednesday 12 June

  • 10:30 The English Traveller (Heywood)
  • 14:30 Anything for a Quiet Life

Thursday 13 June

  • 14:00 The Devil's Law-Case
  • 19:00 The Knight of Malta (Fletcher, Field, Massinger)

Friday 14 June

  • 10:00 The Devil is an Ass (Jonson)
  • 14:30 The Duchess of Malfi
  • 17:30 Shakesepeare in the Alley - original songs based on Shakespeare's plays performed by Paul Lodge

Monday 17 June

  • 10:00 The White Devil
  • 14:30 No Wit, No Help, Like a Woman's (Middleton)
  • 19:00 If This Be Not a Good Play (Dekker) 

Tuesday 18 June

  • 14:30 The Atheist's Tragedy (Tourneur)
  • 19:00 The Bloody Banquet

Wednesday 19 June

  • 10.00 The Alchemist (Jonson)
  • 14:30 Humour out of Breath (Day)

Thursday 20 June

  • 14:00 The Devil's Charter (Barnes)
  • 19:00 The Whore of Babylon (Dekker)

Friday 21 June

  • 10:30 Northward Ho!
  • 14:00 Eastward Ho! (Jonson, Chapman, Marston)

Monday 24 June

  • 10:30 A Trick to Catch the Old One (Middleton)
  • 14:30 Westward Ho!
  • 19:00 The London Prodigal

Tuesday 25 June

  • 14:30 May Day (Chapman)
  • 19:00 The Dutchman Courtesan (Marston)

Wednesday 26 June 

  • 10:30 Bussy d'Amboise (Chapman)
  • 14:30 The Malcontent (B-Text)

Thursday 27 June

  • 14:00 TSejanus' Fall (Jonson)
  • 19:30 The Merry Devil of Edmonton

Friday 28 June

  • 10:30 Sir Thomas Wyatt
  • 14:00 Poetaster (Jonson)

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