Shakespeare’s Queen Margaret in performance

One performance only, 18 February, Perth.

The University of Western Australia and the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions are facilitating a fabulous opportunity to hear the words of one of Shakespeare’s most compelling and yet least performed characters.

C19th ink portrait of a medieval queen.
Margaret imagined in a 19th Century engraving by W. Joseph Edwards

Queen Margaret d’Anjou appears in four of Shakespeare’s plays, more than any other character. However, three are the sequential parts of Henry VI, which is rarely staged, and her role in the much more popular Richard III is often (disgracefully!) cut. When her portions of this history cycle are put together what emerges is a vivid, striking portrait of multi-faceted woman who is both victim and villain, triumphant and vanquished, admirable and abhorrent at different points in her long life.

Date: Thursday 18 February 2016
Time: 1–2pm
Venue: Callaway Music Auditorium, UWA
Contact: Bob White (

Free and open to the public. No ticket required

Full details here

Merry Wives: the Symposium

One day only, 17 February, Perth

A wonderful opportunity to hear a gathering of international experts on a too-neglected play.

This symposium runs in conjunction with the performances of Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor on the New Fortune Theatre, 16–18 February 2016. It brings together international experts on the play and on theatre history.

Further details from Bob White (

Rob Conkie (La Trobe University): Director The Merry Wives of Windsor, New Fortune Theatre
Alison Findlay (Lancaster University, UK): Author Women in Shakespeare: A Dictionary (2010)
Philippa Kelly (Resident Dramaturg, the California Shakespeare Theater): Author of The King and I (Shakespeare Now! series)
Helen Ostovich (McMaster University, Canada): Online edition The Merry Wives of Windsor, forthcoming
Peter Reynolds, (University of Newcastle upon Tyne): Senior Honorary Research Fellow, Centre for the History of Emotions
Elizabeth Schafer (Royal Holloway College, University of London): writing a performance history of The Merry Wives of Windsor for the Manchester University Press Shakespeare in Performance series
Robert White (UWA): Author The Merry Wives of Windsor: A New Critical Introduction

Date: Wednesday 17 February 2016
Time: 10:00am-5:00pm
Venue: Arts Lecture Room 5 (Arts G.61) and the New Fortune Theatre, The University of Western Australia
Registration: This is a free event but numbers will be limited so please confirm attendance in advance with Pam Bond (

Statue of a fat old man in medieval dress leaning on a plinth, skyscraper in background.
Falstaff at Shakespeare Place

Call for Papers: Shakespeare and Music Studies

4 November, Melbourne.

Shakespeare and Music Studies: From theory into practice.

Monash University. Hosted by The Monash Shakespeare Company & The Melbourne Shakespeare Society

One-day Symposium. Call for papers:

C19th watercolour of a jester playing a pipe
Courtice Pounds as Feste in Tree’s 1901 production of Twelfth Night, via

When the field of Shakespeare and music studies emerged in the late-nineteenth century, it mainly concerned itself with the problems reconstructing the musical materials and practices of early modern theatre cultures. Since then, the field has evolved to encompass a vast body of methodologies and contexts, incorporating discussions of literature and history, and linking them to musical and theatre practices. As the field stands today, it is characterised by its eclecticism, even as it asserts its intrinsic value to Shakespeare studies more generally.

This symposium calls upon these diverse areas of expertise that make up the modern field to assist in identifying and developing strategies for the integration of music into productions of Shakespeare. We invite submissions from theatre and music practitioners, academics in literature, theatre, history and music studies, as well as postgraduate and undergraduate students, to contribute to this conversation. We impose no particular restrictions on paper topics, provided they are generally relevant to the field of Shakespeare and music studies. However, the following questions may act as a guide to submissions:

  • Cover of sheet music for Kiss me Kate
    Cole Porter’s take on The Taming of the Shrew

    Why should music be considered a priority in the production of Shakespeare?

  • How can an understanding of early-modern music practice be applied to modern theatre productions?
  • How can knowledge of modern musical practices be applied to the staging of Shakespeare?
  • What specific challenges do composers face when setting Shakespeare’s language to music?
  • What types of musical resources can small theatre companies employ when staging Shakespeare?
  • How can theatre directors employ music in audition, rehearsal and production processes?

NB – Since the symposium will be practice-focused, we are also interested in considering workshop sessions.

Some travel bursaries will be available for interstate or international scholars. All submitted papers will also be considered for inclusion in an edited volume.

Please submit an abstract or proposal of approximately 200 words to by 1st May 2016.

Musical notation for "hey ho the wind and the rain".
This song is noted for appearing in both Twelfth Night and King Lear.

Merry Wives in Perth

Three performances only, 16-18 February, Perth.

The University of Western Australia has an outdoor theatre built to the proportions of the Fortune Theatre, one of the public playhouses that operated in Early Modern London. Built by Philip Henslowe, the surviving documents detailing its specifications have been a treasure trove for theatre historians.

UWA uses the space for investigations into original practice, and for lively, fun, delicious productions. Next week only, you can catch Shakespeare’s most absolutely Elizabethan comedy performed there: The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Poster showing two women and a washing basket with a hand coming out.

Shakespeare Solos from the Guardian

As its contribution to the Shakespeare 400 commemorations, the Guardian has commissioned a wonderful series of videos from some of Britain’s greatest actors, delivering their favourite speeches from Shakespeare.

Shakespeare Solos is planned as an ongoing series, with the first six videos released on 1 February. Come back after you’ve watched them and tell us what you think are the best bits!

The Age on Shakespeare 400 in Australia

From John Bailey in the Age:

‘Back in England, where the Globe is open once again and where there are more Shakespeare 400 events than some scholars can handle, Anna Kamaralli holds out hope that similarly commemorative events will be picked up in Australia as the date of the Bard’s anniversary – also his birthday – draws nearer. She’s planning on setting up a simple website that can list any and all events that people in the community might mount in the lead up to April 23, and she says the anniversary is “a terrific opportunity not to memorialise an ending but to be astonished by the perpetual living of this work. It’s not about saying this is how we commemorate a dead person but about looking around and seeing all the ways this example of human expression is being used.”‘

The website mentioned is this one!

Read the full article here, and ignore the awful headline by some ignorant subeditor still learning the art of creating clickbait.

Thin white bearded man bare chested in gold body paint.
Mark Wilson in his reworking of Richard II Photo: Justin McManus