Module Focus: Shakespeare in Asia

Students studying on our Shakespeare Institute distance learning programmes have the unique opportunity to study the performance of Shakespeare in Asia.

The module, which is offered on our Distance Learning MA’s in Shakespeare and Education and Shakespeare and Theatre offers deep insight in to the history of the numerous ways that Shakespeare has been translated and adapted in to Asian Cultures.

We caught up with Professor Michael Dobson (Director of the Shakespeare Institute) and Yong Li Lan (Director of the Asian Shakespeare Intercultural Archive at the National University of Singapore) during their recent research visit to Bali about the exciting module and some of the exciting insights students can expect to gain from studying the module.

Professor Dobson said “This is incredible rich ground in which Shakespeare has flourished over the past century”

“Shakespeare’s plays are written at a time when the secular theatre remembers that it comes from religious drama, although in western performance, often it’s all about realism and a completely spirit free world.

“Whereas, there are traditions in East Asian Culture, where people still see the theatre as a gateway in to the other world and that aspect of Shakespeare’s plays, as in the case of Macbeth, can really wake you up to that.

“Thanks to Yong Li Lan’s work on the archive, our students will be able to watch videos of these extraordinary performances, surtitled in whatever language they want.”

Talking about their research trip, Yong Li Lan commented “[During this research trip] we’ve seen performances of Gampu Macbeth, which is quite an ancient dance form.

“We’ve seen how the movement of the skirts and the way in which that actually worked with the bodies of the actors to show the emotions of the characters – much more that speech actually”

This exciting collaborative master’s module, which is jointly taught with the National University of Singapore is available to study this September as an optional module. You can find out more about the programmes we offer over on the Shakespeare Institute website. 

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