Archive | November, 2010

Curtain up on the new RST

The opening of the new Royal Shakespeare Theatre was always going to be a cause of major excitement and controversy. My association with it dates from 1989 when a school trip from York brought me to see John Caird’s punk A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It was unforgettable. And, since 1995, I have seen virtually all […]

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“smooth comforts false”

Wednesday saw the opening of the new RST. To mark the occasion BBC Coventry and Warwickshire radio station broadcast live through the day from the new theatre building. A regular feature of Mark Powlett’s broadcast is a section on Showbiz Gossip, in which Mark looks at all of the recent goings-on in the world of […]

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Shakespeare’s Genius

Harking back to my blog last week, and the question of whether Shakespeare ever made a mistake in his writing. I have been asked this question or similar ones several times. Do I think Shakespeare is perfect? Are his works without flaw? Was he a genius? There is a lot tied up with this question […]

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By order of King James I…

Robert McCrum’s piece in yesterday’s Observer about the 400th anniversary of the King James I Version of the Bible (11 May 2011 is the big day!) chimes nicely with the beginning of my week here at the Shakespeare Centre. I was up with the lark for a pre-dawn meeting with a colleague from our Library […]

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Blogging Middleton

I’ve been told there has been much in the news lately about a marriage between a certain William and a certain Middleton. I can only assume these headlines are referring to the collaboration – “the marriage of true minds” – between William Shakespeare and Thomas Middleton. Personally, I am overjoyed to hear that the two […]

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The Tempest – Illustration

This is part of a series of blogs on Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, blogs will be posted both here and at on Fridays. The wonderful thing about illustration is that you can portray the things you can only imagine in Shakespeare’s plays. Unlike stage sets or even television, illustration is not constrained to the practical, the possible […]

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“Let me play the lion too”

Yesterday I had an interesting chat with my colleague Paul about which actors we would like to see play Richard II. The jury is still out on that one – but it led me to think about the power of personality, and the part played by a performer’s persona in shaping the presentation of a […]

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Praising the Proscenium

I followed up my recent blog about the tension between thrust (and open) stages and proscenium arch theatres with a longer article published in The Stage today making basically the same points. Then, perhaps immodestly, I mentioned my article in a tweet. To my great surprise this provoked a reference to a well-argued Guardian blog […]

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21st Century Shakespeare

This Monday I spent the day at Leicester Grammar school as part of a sixth form day that they hosted. My colleague Nick and I hosted a number of sessions and rounded off the day with a question and answer session. I always look forward to these sessions because they are truly spontaneous requiring me […]

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Shakespeare and War

Seventy years ago last night thousands of bombs fell on Coventry in what has been called the worst air-raid on any British city during the 1939-1945 war. A friend of mine, who was ten at the time, remembers walking into her back garden in Stratford-upon-Avon and seeing the sky red. ‘It was so bright’, she […]

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