A Shakespearian Year

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‘Winter School’ starts at The Shakespeare Centre on Wednesday. This short course has been taking place annually for many years and this time around eighty people – Shakespeare enthusiasts from around the world -will gather for a review of the last year, as far as Shakespeare is concerned. It’s also a time when we can look forward to new developments and projects for 2011.

As I look over the programme (no doubt being printed as I write this blog), it seems to me that every session programmed is in some way a highlight.

Stanley Wells will talk about developments in the debate and discussions around the Cobbe portrait of Shakespeare. Our Director, Diana Owen, will take part, with our colleague Nick Walton and me, in a session about The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s international work, ‘Putting a Girdle Round the Earth’. We are busily forging ahead with our digital media engagement and are a major player in the organisation of the World Shakespeare Congress in Prague from 17 to 22 July (go to www.shakespeare2011.net for more details). This conference takes place once every five years, so see you there!

Jonathan Bate is coming in to talk to us about his work with Simon Callow on the recent one-man show, Shakespeare: The Man from Stratford; Emma Smith (Hertford College, Oxford) is going to be sharing her pick of last year’s Shakespeare related publications, and television historian Michael Wood is going to be reflecting on Shakespeare and archaeology in light of our ‘Dig for Shakespeare’ at New Place (which will enter phase two in March). There is more to be discovered: that we don’t doubt.

To round the course off, we have Michael Dobson and Nicky Watson coming in to share their review of Shakespeare productions from 2010. This is sure to be a lively as well as an incidentally hilarious session.

And, since the R.S.C.’s highly acclaimed production of Matilda is not one of Shakespeare’s better known works, we’ve organised two special evenings for our course participants with actors Jeffery Dench and Jane Lapotaire. But there’s sure to be an opportunity for participants to visit the newly enhanced Stratford auditoria at some point over the three-day programme.

We’re all going to have different Shakespeare memories and highlights of our last year with Shakespeare. What would yours be, whether a book, production, special visit, or exhibition?

Also, if you’d like to have your name added to the Winter School mailing list for next year, and to find out more about our public events, drop us an e-mail to education1@shakespeare.org.uk.

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Author:Paul Edmondson

Head of Research and Knowledge and Director of the Stratford-upon-Avon Poetry Festival for The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Follow Paul on Twitter @paul_edmondson

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