In 2011, the American Shakespeare Center’s Education and Research Department will once again host Shakespeareans, scholars and practitioners alike, to explore Shakespeare in the study and Shakespeare on the stage and to find ways that these two worlds – sometime in collision – can collaborate. Past conferences have included such notable scholars as Andrew Gurr, the “godfatASC actor and 2009 Blackfriars Conference presenter: James Keegan as Falstaff in 1H4.her” of the Blackfriars Playhouse, Tiffany Stern, Russ McDonald, Gary Taylor, Stephen Greenblatt, Roz Knutson, Tina Packer, and many more in five days full of activities.
Except for banquets, all events – papers, plays, workshops, – take place in the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre, the Blackfriars Playhouse. This conference distinguishes itself from saner conferences in a variety of other ways. First, to model the kind of collaboration we think possible we encourage presenters to feature actors as partners in the demonstration of their theses. For instance, in 2009, Gary Taylor’s keynote presentation “Lyrical Middleton” featured ASC actors singing and dancing to the songs in Middleton’s plays. Second, we limit each paper session to six short papers (10 minutes for solo presentations, 13 minutes for presentations with actors). Third, we enforce this rule by ursine fiat – a bear chases from the stage those speakers who go over their allotted time. Delegates also attend all of the plays in the ASC fall season – Hamlet, Henry V, The Tempest, by Shakespeare, Tamburlaine by Christopher Marlowe, and The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde – and, for the past several conferences, bonus plays written by their colleagues and performed by actors in the Mary Baldwin College MFA in Shakespeare in Performance program. The spirit of fun that imbues the conference manifests itself in the annual Truancy Award, for the sensible conferee who – visiting the Shenandoah Valley at the height of Fall – has the good sense to miss the most sessions.
The 2011 gathering will include a returning keynote speaker, Shakespearean scholar Tiffany Stern, author of essential performance studies such as Making Shakespeare, Rehearsal from Shakespeare to Sheridan, and Documents of Performance. Professor Stern’s work has played an influential role in the development of the American Shakespeare Center’s Actors’ Renaissance Season, and her presentations continue to inspire the further exploration of the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries in the ASC’s educational and artistic programming. Additionally, George T. Wright, author of Shakespeare’s Metrical Art, will present. Professor Wright’s text on prosody illuminates Shakespeare’s use of meter for actors and scholars. We will invite our other speakers with an eye to other aspects of Shakespeare’s plays in performance such as playing the possibilities of rhetoric, playing in early modern theatres, early modern play audiences (then and now), metrical analysis, early modern rehearsal practice, early modern visual design, pedagogy (early modern and current practice and its influence on performance).
Since each conference expands on the activities of the preceding conferences, the 2011 incarnation will include thematic panels following each keynote address. The work of the conference always echoes in the work on stage at the Blackfriars Playhouse and in the American Shakespeare Center’s Research and Scholarship department, and it has provided the material for two books devoted specifically to essays from the conference (Inside Shakespeare, edited by Paul Menzer, and Thunder in the Playhouse, edited by Matt Kosusko and Peter Kanelos). Plans are already afoot to include papers from the upcoming conference in a third book.
ASC Education and Research extends this call for papers on any matters to do with the performance of early modern drama (historical, architectural, political, dramatical, sartorial, medical, linguistical, comical, pastoral) to all interested parties for our bi-annual conference to be held at the Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Virginia, 25-30 October 2011. The deadline to submit your abstract is 31 May 2011.
Link to Abstract Submission Form: http://www.formstack.com/forms/?1007217-Fa8fydC0oQ