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The Shakespeare Programme

The Shakespeare Programme was set up to explore the significance of connections between Lancashire as a centre of early modern religious dissent, the importance of touring theatre and household performance, and possible links with Shakespeare's 'lost years' (see Religion and Theatre: Lancastrian Shakespeare, and Religion, Region and Patronage: Lancastrian Shakespeare, ed. Richard Dutton, Alison Findlay and Richard Wilson, Manchester University Press, 2003).

The Programme's wider interests in literature and religious politics have been taken forward in Dr Robert Appelbaum's research on literature and terrorism. A funded project on Early Quakers and the Politics of Place examines the origins of the Quaker movement in Lancashire and Westmorland. New opportunities for work on manuscripts and early printed books are offered by the Hesketh Collection in the University Library, which includes First Folios by Shakespeare and Jonson. Theatre visits, workshops and a Shakespeare Reading Group continue the Programme's interest in live performance. Professor Alison Findlay and Dr Liz Oakley-Brown will direct a panel on 'Shakespearean Surfaces' at the 2007 British Shakespeare Association conference.


1999 & 2004: Shakespeare Programme Conferences

Lancastrian Shakespeare - Religion, Region, Patronage and Performance (July 1999)

This international conference focused round the playwright's connections with north-west England, the importance of touring theatre and household performance

Video of Northern Shakespeare Conference at Hoghton Tower.

Video of Mary Sidney's The Tragedy of Antonie at Hoghton Tower.

Hoghton Tower also provides an unparalleled venue for practical workshops and reconstructions of Renaissance and Jacobean theatre.

The New Shakespeare: A writer and his readers. The Return of the Author in Shakespeare Studies (3 July 2004)

The Shakespeare Programme at Lancaster University, in conjunction with Manchester University Press, hosted this one-day conference.  The plenary Speakers were Lukas Erne, Gary Taylor, and Stanley Wells.

The possibility that Shakespeare did not write primarily for theatre audiences, but with readers in mind, has far-reaching implications for the study and performance of his plays. The aim of this conference was to situate the emerging ideas of Shakespeare as a literary artist in relation to his own representation of writing and reading, and in the context of the history of authorship, printing, manuscript circulation, great house culture, private patronage, and the non-metropolitan stage. The conference took place at John of Gaunt's castle, in the heart of historic Lancaster.

Click here for a separate page on Professor Alison Findlay's Inaugural Lecture on Playing Spaces in Renaissance Drama.

The Shakespeare Reading Group

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