Theatre

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ABL #57,  6 July, 2020

Last month, archaeologist Stephen White of University College London announced the discovery of the Red Lion site, an often-forgotten Elizabethan playhouse that is the earliest we know of. Theatre historian Holger Syme discusses the implications of this discovery, especially the way that archaeological discoveries of the past thirty-five years seem to be cumulatively disproving the idea of the thrust stage.

For more on the earliest years of the London playhouses, see Holger’s theatre history posts on his website, http://www.dispositio.net, as well as the Before Shakespeare project, on the earliest years of the London playhouses, for which Holger is an advisor, BeforeShakespeare.com.

Like so many early modern performances, this film guest stars his very excited dog…

ABL #56,  3 July, 2020

John Heywood played, wrote and worked for Henry Tudor and each of his three legitimate children. Greg Walker has written the first full literary biography of Heywood, and shows us how he engaged directly with the politics of his period. We also hear about Heywood’s later celebrity reputation and the importance of using performance to explore early Tudor plays.

ABL #55,  2 July, 2020

David McInnis and Matt Steggle tell us about their work on the lost plays of Shakespeare’s period, when plays are much more likely to be lost than to survive. They share insights into the wealth of information we have on lost plays and the theatrical culture they were part of.

ABL #52,  29 June, 2020

Chris Goode explores theatre as a live art based in community, encounters and conversation, a frame saying “now pay attention to this”. He talks us through his work, especially his online anthology of spoken word, What Words, and asks when, where and why we need language to work really hard as a container for the things we want to say.

ABL #47,  16 June, 2020

Harry Newman tells us about the idea of fictional character as a kind of ‘virtual human’ or ‘models of humanity’. We hear about spacious fictional worlds on TV and in the early modern playhouse, and Harry asks if the early modern period had the concepts of the paywall and reboot, and considers literature and performance as an ‘ongoing experiment in world-building’.

ABL #46,  15 June, 2020

Ambereen Dadabhoy tells us about the early modern Mediterranean, the English playhouse and the history of race. We hear about the lack of racial literacy in early modern studies, the way ‘a white way of knowing’ has dominated scholarship, and how to ‘follow the lead of those who have championed racial literacy’.

ABL #45,  11 June, 2020

Director Kimberley Sykes describes her work in the rehearsal room as focused on generosity, conversation and ‘absolute presence’, and tells us about her work for the Royal Shakespeare Company on Shakespeare’s As You Like It and Marlowe and Nashe’s Dido, Queen of Carthage. She emphasises collective authorship, conversation and collaboration in the rehearsal room, and explores the idea of real and psychological space in her work. She also tells us about her current list of lockdown reading.

ABL #44,  9 June, 2020

Theatremaker Emma Frankland talks us through contemporary, devised and classical performance, taking in Ghostbusters, Don Quixote and John Lyly’s Galatea, and ranging from Jerwood Arts, Shakespeare’s Globe, Roehampton University, Cornish beaches and Stratford, Ontario.

ABL #42,  2 June, 2020

Lucy Rayfield tells us what made French and Italian audiences laugh, the issues of studying a period of theatre history unfamiliar even to scholars, wars, patronage, money and ‘turbulent imitation’.

ABL #38,  21 May, 2020

Andrew Power talks us through Shakespeare’s early career, the early modern reception of classical sources and the long history of authorship.

ABL #35,  12 May, 2020

Alison Bomber, voice coach, tells us about making the ‘right noise’, using breath and vibration to make connections between sounds, bodies and imagination. You’ll never think about inspiration in the same way again.

ABL #34,  12 May, 2020

Theatre photographer Ellie Kurttz tells us about the theatre, photography and Shakespeare, onstage and in rehearsal.

ABL #33,  11 May, 2020

Elizabeth E. Tavares chairs a discussion with Catriona Fallow, Hailey Bachrach, and Emma Whipday about contemporary theatre-making and repertory in Shakespearean theatres.

ABL #31,  5 May, 2020

The early modernists Derek Dunne, Tom Harrison and Paul Salzman get together from their own places of social isolation to discuss plague and social isolation in Ben Jonson’s early seventeenth-century play, The Alchemist.

ABL #29,  1 May, 2020

Harry McCarthy explores the relationship between theatre history and contemporary performance as a way of learning about the past.

ABL #27,  29 April, 2020

Actor and director George Ellingham, who has performed in Edward’s Boys and directed productions at university, tells us about the experience of performing early modern plays in these two settings.

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