The Equality Shakespeare Festival

Location
Online - a link will be sent to you before the event
Dates
Monday 16 May (00:00) - Wednesday 15 June 2022 (00:00)
Collage of a face looking at the globe

Join us for the online Shakespeare Beyond Borders Alliance Equality Shakespeare Festival, a series of online events throughout May and June. 

The Festival brings together theatre practitioners, film-makers, ‘applied theatre’ specialists, academics, actors, poets, life-writers, translators, and arts organisations to discuss, celebrate and explore the ways in which Shakespeare can be used to further equality, social justice, inclusivity, diversity and international collaboration.

The Shakespeare Beyond Borders Alliance

A Shakespeare Network Without Limits 

Chairs (in alphabetical order):

Professor Michael Dobson (Director of The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham), Dr Chris Laoutaris (The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham), Dr Rowan Mackenzie (Artistic Director, Shakespeare UnBard) 

Event Manager: Matt Clulee 

Guest Co-organisers (in alphabetical order): Dr Yasmin Arshad (Centre for Early Modern Exchanges, University College London), Dr Jessica Chiba (The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham), Dr Robert Stagg (The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham)

Register just once and choose any events you wish to attend throughout the festival. More speakers will be confirmed here in the near future. Please check here again close to the scheduled dates of the events you wish to attend in case there have been any changes to timings and participant lists.

The events will run from 16 May to 15 June 2022 – it’s all online and it’s all free!!

Programme

Schedule (with main participants of each session listed in alphabetical order by surname): 

Monday 16 May: Sher’s Shakespeare – A Celebration of Sir Antony Sher (Guest Co-Organised by Dr Robert Stagg) 

14:15: Welcome – Introductions from SBBA Chairs

  • Professor Michael Dobson, Director of the Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham
  • Dr Chris Laoutaris, Associate Professor, The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham
  • Dr Rowan Mackenzie, Artistic Director, Shakespeare UnBard 

Introductions by devisers of EQUALityShakespeare (EQUALS) initiative

  • Dr Yasmin Arshad, Honorary Fellow, Centre for Early Modern Exchanges, University College London
  • Dr Chris Laoutaris, Associate Professor, The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham 

14:30-15:30: Remembering Sir Antony Sher, reflections with Professor Sir Stanley Wells and Dr Paul Edmondson – Guest Chair: Professor Tiffany Stern

  • Dr Paul Edmondson, Head of Research for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Honorary Fellow of The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham, and Visiting Professor in Human Rights, Birmingham City University
  • Professor Sir Stanley Wells, renowned Shakespearean scholar, writer, professor, Chief Editor of the Oxford Shakespeare, former Chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (1991-2011), Emeritus Professor of Shakespeare Studies of the University of Birmingham, and Honorary Emeritus Governor of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre 

16:00-17:00: Academic Panel: Leading academics discuss the work and legacy of Sir Antony Sher – Guest Chair: Dr Robert Stagg

  • Professor Sir Jonathan Bate, Foundation Professor of Environmental Humanities in Global Futures, the School of Sustainability and the College of Liberal Arts at Arizona State University; renowned biographer, critic, broadcaster, scholar, and Senior Research Fellow of Worcester College Oxford
  • Professor Russell Jackson, University of Birmingham; expert in Shakespeare, theatre and stage history, stage and film consultant and text advisor to Sir Kenneth Branagh
  • Professor Carol Chillington Rutter, University of Warwick; expert in Shakespeare, performance studies and stage history
  • Professor Jyotsna Singh, Michigan State University; expert in Shakespeare, early modern literature and culture, race, empire, global connections, gender and sexuality 

17:30-18:30: Actors’ Panel: Leading actors share their memories of working with Sir Antony Sher – Chair: Professor Michael Dobson

  • Gregory Doran, husband of the late and great Sir Antony Sher, and Artistic Director Emeritus of the Royal Shakespeare Company

  • Alexandra Gilbreath, renowned actress of stage and screen, director and producer. Credits include: numerous plays with the Royal Shakespeare Company and many other theatre companies; television serials Monarch of the Glen, Midsomer Murders, Father Brown, Casualty, Doctors, Eastenders, Trial and Retribution, Becoming Elizabeth and many more; and the films Tulip Fever, The All Together, and The Art of Love, among others.

  • Dame Harriet Walter, renowned actress of stage and screen and author. Credits include: numerous plays with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Broadway and many other theatre companies; television serials Downton Abbey, The Crown, Killing Eve, Succession, Law and Order: UK, Inspector Morse, Hard Times, Messiah, Midsomer Murders, Agatha Christie’s Marple, Agatha Christie’s Poirot, Doctors, Call the Midwife, Doctor Who and many more; and the films Sense and Sensibility, Atonement, The Young Victoria, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Rocketman, and The Sense of an Ending, among others. 
  • Amanda Harris, renowned actress of stage and screen; associate artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Credits include: numerous plays with the Royal Shakespeare Company and other theatre companies, including Katharina and Baptista in productions of The Taming of the Shrew, Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Aeneas in Troilus and Cressida, and two Emilias, one in Two Noble Kinsmen (the first show in the Swan in 1986) and one in Othello in 2004, for which she played opposite Sir Antony Sher's Iago

Wednesday 18 May: Shakespeare and Equalities of Class, Gender and Race through Poetry and Life-Writing 

13:00-14:00: Poetry Reading and Interview with Dr Luke Kennard, author of Notes on the Sonnets – Chair: Dr Chris Laoutaris

  • Dr Luke Kennard, University of Birmingham; poet, novelist, academic, expert in the history of poetry; winner of the Forward Prize for Best Poetry Collection for Notes on the Sonnets, a collection of prose-poems inspired by all of Shakespeare’s Sonnets 

14:30-15:30: Reading and Interview with Dr Sally Bayley, author of No Boys Play Here – Chair: Dr Chris Laoutaris

  • Dr Sally Bayley, University of Oxford; lecturer in literature, fiction and non-fiction writer; author of No Boys Play Here, a Shakespeare-inspired memoir 

16:00-17:00: Reading and interview with Dr Neal Hall, MD, author of The Trembling Tiber – Chair: Dr Chris Laoutaris

  • Dr Neal Hall, MD, Winner of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association Best Poetry Book Award and Eyelands International Book Award; author of The Trembling Tiber, a collection of poems for which Hall adapted excerpts from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar to compose hybrid poetic narratives that speak in direct and powerful new ways to universal contemporary issues of injustice and inequality

Tuesday 24 May: Uniting Global Voices: International Shakespeares 

10:00-11:00: Shakespeare in Japan (Guest Co-Organised by Dr Jessica Chiba)

Guest Chair: Dr Jessica Chiba

  • Professor Kumiko Hilberdink-Sakamoto; Feminism, and Shakespeare reception and intercultural performance in Japan

  • Professor Michiko Suematsu , Gunma University; expert in Japanese Shakespeare performance, especially intercultural theatre, including the use of indigenous performance cultures in Japanese Shakespeare performances

  • Professor Ryuta Minami , Tokyo Keizai University; expert in Japanese Shakespeare performance and Shakespeare in Japanese popular culture
  • Professor Yukari Yoshihara , University of Tsukuba; specialist in Shakespeare and gender in Japan, and Shakespeare in Japanese popular culture

11:30-12:30: Shakespeare in Singapore Chair: Professor Michael Dobson 

  • Dr Eleine Ng (National University of Singapore)
  • Prof Hans Martin Rall (Nanyang Technological University) 

15:00-16:00: Shakespeare in Ukraine

  • Speakers tbc – Chair: Professor Michael Dobson 

Wednesday 1 June: Shakespeare for Social Justice: Breaking Down Barriers, Dismantling Stereotypes, Challenging Prejudices 

14:30-15:30: Creating the Beyond the Walls Theatre Company, with Dr Rowan Mackenzie

  • Dr Rowan Mackenzie, founder of Beyond the Walls in conversation with Chris Lynam, actor, poet, lived-experience of the criminal justice system and of being homeless 

We encourage you to watch the Beyond the Walls Macbeth film here before joining us for this talk!

16:00-17:00: Shakespeare, Race and Social Justice – Chairs: Dr Yasmin Arshad, Dr Chris Laoutaris and Dr Rowan Mackenzie

  • Dr Trevor Boffone, educator, writer, lecturer, producer, and expert in Latinx theatre; co-editor of Shakespeare and Latinidad
  • Dr Matthieu Chapman, State University of New York; educator, scholar, theorist, director, dramaturg, author of Anti-Black Racism in Early Modern English Drama: The Other ‘Other’
  • Dr Carla Della Gatta, Florida State University; scholar of Shakespeare, Renaissance drama and Latinx theatre; co-editor of Shakespeare and Latinidad
  • Professor Chris Thurman, University of Witwatersrand, President of the Shakespeare Society of Southern Africa and Director of The Tsikinya-Chaka Centre
  • Professor Sandra Young, University of Cape Town; Specialist in Shakespeare in the global south 

17:30-18:30: Giving a Voice to Shakespeare’s Women: The ‘Shakespeare (She/Her)’ Project with Three Chairs and a Hat – Chairs: Dr Yasmin Arshad and Dr Chris Laoutaris

  • Wayne T. Brown, Director and Producer for ‘Shakespeare She/Her’
  • Charlotte Clark, Shakespeare Institute Alumnus, choreographer, actress, specialist in Shakespeare in the Francophone world
  • Delena Gabbidon, actress
  • Nia Williams, producer, musician and composer, author and Founder-Director of Three Chairs and a Hat; musician and composer for ‘Shakespeare She/Her’ 

Wednesday 8 June: Shakespeare and Disability: Uncovering Hidden Histories, Changing Perceptions, Increasing Accessibility 

15:00-16:00: Shakespeare and Disability – Chairs: Dr Yasmin Arshad and Dr Chris Laoutaris

  • Professor Tom Shakespeare, CBE, FBA; broadcaster, presenter, and Professor of Sociology and Bioethics
  • Phillipa Vincent-Connolly, historian, novelist and author of Disability and the Tudors: All the King’s Fools
  • Dr Katherine Schaap Williams, University of Toronto, Canada; scholar of Shakespeare, early modern theatre and critical disability studies, author of Unfixable Forms: Disability, Performance and the Early Modern English Theatre 

18:00-19:00: Signing Shakespeare – Chair: TBC

  • Dr Tracy Irish, Education Consultant with Butterfly Theatre Collective, expert on Shakespeare and education; working on the Teaching Shakespeare to D/deaf Children Project
  • Dr Abigail Rokison-Woodall, Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham; expert in Shakespeare, Renaissance drama, and acting; working on the Teaching Shakespeare to D/deaf Children Project 

15 June – Equalities on Page, Stage and Screen: Race, Sexuality, Ecology 

13:00-14:00: MAWA Theatre Company; The UK’s First All Black All-Female Shakespeare Theatre Company Representing Women of the African Diaspora – Chair: Dr Rowan Mackenzie

Founders

  • Danielle Kassaraté, Executive Director of MAWA
  • Maisey Bawden, Artistic Director of MAWA
  • Gabrielle Brooks, Creative Director of MAWA
  • Jade Samuels, Executive Producer of MAWA 

14:30-15:30: Shakespeare and Bisexuality; Professor Sir Stanley Wells and Dr Paul Edmondson discuss their book All the Sonnets of Shakespeare – Guest Chair: Dr Robert Stagg

  • Dr Paul Edmondson, Head of Research for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Honorary Fellow of The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham, and Visiting Professor in Human Rights, Birmingham City University
  • Professor Sir Stanley Wells, renowned Shakespearean scholar, writer, professor, Chief Editor of the Oxford Shakespeare, former Chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (1991-2011), Emeritus Professor of Shakespeare Studies of the University of Birmingham, and Honorary Emeritus Governor of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre 

16:00-17:00: Shakespearean Environmentalism and Ecology: Shakespeare in Yosemite – Chair: Dr Rowan Mackenzie

  • Dr Katie Steel Brokaw, Assistant Professor University of California, Merced, Chair of Literature and Languages, University of California, Merced, co-founder of Shakespeare in Yosemite, widely published scholar and editor of Arden Performance Edition Macbeth
  • Professor Paul Prescott, Professor of English and Theatre and Director of English Honours Programme, University of California, Merced, widely published scholar, research interests Shakespeare and performance, co-founder of Shakespeare in Yosemite
  • Dr Brokaw and Professor Prescott will be joined by actors from the 2021 Shakespeare in Yosemite film Imogen in the Wild 

17:00-17:15: Closing Comments

Confirmed speakers with links to biographies

Here are just some of our confirmed participants (with more to be announced soon).

Featuring (in alphabetical order by surname):

  • Professor Sir Jonathan Bate, Arizona State University - renowned biographer, critic, broadcaster and scholar
  • Dr Sally Bayley, University of Oxford - fiction and non-fiction writer, author of No Boys Play Here
  • Dr Trevor Boffone, educator, writer, lecturer, producer, and expert in Latinx theatre; co-editor of Shakespeare and Latinidad
  • Dr Matthieu Chapman, State University of New York - Educator/Scholar/Theorist/Director/Dramaturg
  • Professor Carol Chillington Rutter, University of Warwick, expert in Shakespeare, performance studies and stage history
  • Dr Paul Edmondson, Head of Research for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
  • Dr Carla Della Gatta, Florida State University, USA, scholar of Shakespeare, Renaissance drama and Latinx theatre; co-editor of Shakespeare and Latinidad
  • Alexandra Gilbreath, actress of stage and screen, director and producer
  • Dr Neal Hall, Poet - Black Caucus of the American Library Association Best Poetry Book Award, author of The Trembling Tiber
  • Anita Harris, renowned actress of stage and screen; associate artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company
  • Profesor Kumiko Hilberdink-Sakamoto, Feminism, and Shakespeare reception and intercultural performance in Japan
  • Dr Tracy Irish, Education Consultant with Butterfly Theatre Collective, expert on Shakespeare and education; working on the Teaching Shakespeare to D/deaf Children Project 
  • Professor Russell Jackson, University of Birmingham, expert in Shakespeare, theatre and stage history, stage and film consultant and text advisor to Sir Kenneth Branagh
  • Dr Luke Kennard , University of Birmingham - Winner of the Forward Prize for Best Poetry Collection, author of Notes on the Sonnets
  • Professor Ryuta Minami , Tokyo Keizai University; expert in Japanese Shakespeare performance and Shakespeare in Japanese popular culture
  • Dr Abigail Rokison-Woodall, Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham, expert in Shakespeare, Renaissance drama, and acting; working on the Teaching Shakespeare to D/deaf Children Project.
  • Dr Katherine Schaap-Williams, University of Toronto, Canada, scholar of Shakespeare, early modern theatre and critical disability studies; author of Unfixable Forms: Disability, Performance and the Early Modern English Theatre.
  • Professor Tom Shakespeare, CBE, FBA; broadcaster, presenter, and Professor of Sociology and Bioethics
  • Professor Jyotsna Singh, Michigan State University - teacher and researcher, publications include The Weyward Sisters: Shakespeare and Feminist Politics
  • Professor Michiko Suematsu , Gunma University; expert in Japanese Shakespeare performance, especially intercultural theatre, including the use of indigenous performance cultures in Japanese Shakespeare performances
  • Professor Chris Thurman, University of Witwatersrand - President of the Shakespeare Society of Southern Africa and Director of The Tsikinya-Chaka Centre
  • Phillipa Vincent-Connolly, historian, novelist and author of Disability and the Tudors: All the King’s Fools. 
  • Dame Harriet Walter, CBE, DBE - actress of stage and screen
  • Professor Sir Stanley Wells - Shakespearean scholar, writer, professor and editor
  • Professor Yukari Yoshihara , University of Tsukuba; specialist in Shakespeare and gender in Japan, and Shakespeare in Japanese popular culture
  • Professor Sandra Young, University of Cape Town - specialist in Shakespeare in the global south

With:

  • Beyond the Walls theatre company - creating theatre which challenges the media's view on offenders and their time in prison
  • MAWA theatre company - the UK's first all Black, all female Shakespeare Company representing Women of the African diaspora
  • Three Chairs and a Hat production company - creators of the ‘Shakespeare (She/Her)’ project
  • Shakespeare in Yosemite - bringing productions of Shakespeare’s plays to Yosemite National Park 

Plus representatives from Shakespeare organisations in Ukraine, Singapore, Japan, South Africa, the USA, Canada and elsewhere.

Twitter: @BordersAlliance   #ShaxBBA

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