Cyclone Rep’s Shakespeare Sessions – celebrating 10 years of Theatre-in-Education

Guest report by Edel Carmody, Cyclone Rep Theatre Company 

This year marks the tenth anniversary since the creation of Cyclone Rep’s Shakespeare Sessions. Cyclone Rep is Ireland’s leading Shakespearean Theatre-in-Education Company. We are also (as far as we know) the only repertory company in Ireland. 

The inspiration for Cyclone’s hugely successful take on Shakespeare’s texts stems from Artistic Director Peadar Donohoe’s years as a drama coach in Cork. His approach to theatre was and still is deeply influenced by Antonin Artaud’s “Theatre of Cruelty”. Breaking the fourth wall, audience interaction, and heightened physicality are all integral components of Cyclone’s performance style. Using these elements Cyclone achieves their mission to provide secondary school audiences with an exciting and multi-faceted theatrical experience that engages, entertains and educates.

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Cyclone Rep’s “King Lear”    Image credit: Shane Vaughan

The Shakespeare Sessions are abridged versions of the plays that stay true to the language and spirit of Shakespearean theatre. Cyclone’s approach to Theatre-in-Education is highly collaborative and constantly takes on board audience and stakeholders’ feedback. A typical Shakespeare Session includes everything from a sword fight between an actor and a student to nuanced discussions of challenging themes such as madness, gender, or racism.

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Cyclone Rep’s “Hamlet”      Image credit: Shane Vaughan

Each year the company tours a number of Shakespeare plays in repertory. The 2019-2020 season sees four plays being toured: Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, King Lear and Hamlet. Marcus Bale, the company manager, estimates that by May 2020, over 31,000 individuals nationwide will have experienced this season’s sessions. Marcus, who plays both Hamlet and Shylock, is an internationally trained actor whose focus for the last 20 years has been the physical theatrical techniques of Commedia dell’Arte, Mime, Clown, Improvisation, and the work of Jacques Lecoq, Eugenio Barba, and Augusto Boal, and these practices have been incorporated into the Cyclone Rep’s style of performance.

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Cyclone Rep’s “Hamlet”      Image credit: Shane Vaughan

Also, true to 16th century performance tradition is the use of gender-swapped roles. Cyclone plays constantly with this tradition. In Cyclone’s Romeo and Juliet Session, Leah Wood plays Tybalt, while Kieran O’Leary plays The Nurse. Since Shakespeare’s time, his plays have undergone numerous iterations from a Soviet-styled Macbeth to Julius Caesar with an all-female cast. Engaging with this long-standing tradition, Cyclone has re-imagined Shakespeare’s work while staying true to key themes and interpretations. For example, The King Lear Session tackles the theme (central to the play) of nature run amok by setting the play in a post-apocalyptic world caused by climate change. During The Hamlet Session different interpretations surrounding the theme of madness are discussed by the cast with the audience. The Romeo and Juliet Session explores gender and sexuality, and even features Shakespeare himself (played by Mike Keep). When the Bard himself is transplanted into our modern age, he is forced to grapple with how both theatre and the role of women in the public sphere has changed. 

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Cyclone Rep’s Shakespeare in “Romeo and Juliet”           Image credit: Shane Vaughan

Thanks to audience feedback the Shakespeare Sessions have evolved greatly since 2010.In Cyclone’s first production of King Lear in 2015 the characters of Kent and the Fool were merged (this was done to allow for a five-member cast). However, students found this conflation confusing and teachers voiced this issue. So, Cyclone’s second production of The King Lear Session featured six actors and the characters of Kent and Fool were played by two different actors. 

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Ophelia in Cyclone Rep’s “Hamlet”           Image credit: Shane Vaughan

Beginning in 2010, during The Hamlet Session the main female characters are questioned by the male characters in a mock interrogation scene. Audiences liked this technique so much, that the latest production of The Hamlet Session similarly acts out an interrogation of the male characters’ motives and culpability. Ongoing feedback from teachers and students helps us to constantly incorporate and expand on aspects of the plays that young people and teachers feel are relevant today. Equally, the role of audio-visual aids has grown considerably since our inception. Initially the use of these projections was minimal but this has changed due to audience demand. Now audio-visuals are an integral part of the sessions, and we use a whole range of these, from animations, mind maps, and bullet points clarifying key ideas to rap versions of 16th century poetry and Joy Division songs.

For a decade, Cyclone Rep has been committed to bringing Shakespeare to life for young people nationwide in fresh and creative ways. Since 2010, over 200,000 young people have seen Cyclone’s Shakespeare Sessions. Thus, it is fair to say that in some measure, Cyclone is helping building Ireland’s next generation of theatregoers.

More information can be found on the Cyclone Rep website, along with booking details for upcoming productions (listed below).

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Guest report by Edel Carmody, Cyclone Rep Theatre Company 

Exhibition: Readers & Reputations: The Reception and Circulation of Early Modern Women’s Writing, 1550-1700

The exhibition “Readers & Reputations: The Reception and Circulation of Early Modern Women’s Writing, 1550-1700” will be held in the foyer of the Hardiman Research Building, NUI Galway. The exhibition runs from 16th January to 2nd April 2020.

This exhibition showcases the work of RECIRC and is funded by the Irish Research Council. RECIRC is a 5 year project that has produced a large-scale, quantitative analysis of the reception and circulation of women’s writing from 1550 to 1700, and is funded by the European Research Council. For more on the project, see the RECIRC website, follow the project on Twitter at @RECIRC_ or contact the project’s Principal Investigator Prof Marie-Louise Coolahan.

Readers Reps NUIG exhibition 2020

CfP: “Translation and Transformation in the Medieval and Early Modern World” – Borderlines XXIV

Borderlines XXIV

“Translation and Transformation in the
Medieval and Early Modern World”

Postgraduate Conference in Medieval and Early Modern Studies

27-29th March 2020

University College Cork

 

University College Cork is delighted to announce the call for papers for the 24th annual Borderlines conference on the theme of “Translation and Transformation”. Borderlines XXIV invites abstracts of no more than 250 words on the theme of “Translation and Transformation”. Papers will be twenty minutes of length and can focus on one or both concepts.

We welcome submissions from postgraduates and early career researchers in any discipline relating to the medieval and early modern periods.

Borderlines XXIV invites papers that address the social, historical, literary, religious, and cultural significance of translation and transformation. We welcome papers from researchers in the fields of Anthropology, Archaeology, Codicology, Drama, Digital Humanities, Folklore, History, History of Art, Geography, Languages, Literature, Music, Palaeography, Philosophy, and Theology.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Translation and adaptation
  • Textual fluidity
  • Hybridity of form/perspective
  • Transformative experience
  • Translation as distortion
  • Physical transformation
  • Translation ethics
  • Cultural inertia

All submissions must be received by 3rd February 2020. Submissions must include: an abstract, short bio, and contact information. All submissions and queries can be directed to: BorderlinesXXIV@gmail.com.

Facebook: Borderlines XXIV      Twitter: @BorderlinesIE


 

Screening: “The Winter’s Tale” Branagh Theatre Live – encore

[Info from the ODEON Cinemas website.]

Due to phenomenal demand, The Winter’s Tale, Shakespeare’s timeless tragicomedy of obsession and redemption, returns to cinemas this festive season. This beautifully reimagined production,co-directed by Rob Ashford and Kenneth Branagh, features a remarkable cast including Dame Judi Dench as Paulina, alongside Tom Bateman, Jessie Buckley, Hadley Fraser, Miranda Raison and Sir Kenneth Branagh as Leontes.

King Leontes appears to have everything: power, wealth, a loving family and friends. But sexual jealousy sets in motion a chain of events with tragic consequences…This critically acclaimed production was the first in the hugely successful Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company Live season that was broadcast to cinemas from London’s Garrick Theatre over the course of a year in 2015.

Information on cinemas and dates/times is available on the Branagh Theatre Live website here.

View the trailer for the encore of The Winter’s Tale here.


 

Theatre: “Measure for Measure” at the Civic Theatre, Tallaght

[Info from Civic Theatre website.]

Measure for Measure

Civic Theatre, Tallaght, Dublin
3rd – 7th December 2019

 

Set in Vienna, Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure is a dark comedy in five acts and was written in the early 1600’s. Vienna is overrun with brothels and loose morality and when a young novice nun is compromised by a corrupt official, who offers to save her brother from execution in return for sex, she has no idea where to turn for help. When she threatens to expose him, he tells her that no one would believe her.

The themes run from religion, morality, virtue, sin, punishment, death, and atonement, with Shakespeare choosing moral justice to prevail over strict civil justice. Measure for Measure sheds a critical eye on the policing of society by a corrupt government and politics. Whether it be 1604 or 2019, this play has resonance in the 21st Century.

Presented by Liberties College, Bull Alley
Duration: 110 minutes. One interval.
Suitable for ages 14+

Tickets available from the Civic Theatre website.


 

Public talk: “Racialising Mortality in Early Visual Culture and the Shakespearean Stage” by Dr Farah Karim-Cooper – 3rd December 2019

“Racialising Mortality in Early Visual Culture and the Shakespearean Stage”

by Dr Farah Karim-Cooper

.

Tuesday 3rd December 2019, at 5pm, 

in the Samuel Beckett Theatre, Trinity College Dublin

 

As part of the Whitfield Visiting Lecture Series, Trinity’s School of Creative Arts and Department of Drama are proud to present Dr Farah Karim-Cooper (Head of Higher Education and Research, Shakespeare’s Globe, UK) speaking on death, race, and beauty.

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Dr Farah Karim-Cooper

Dr Karim-Cooper’s talk will focus on the representations of death that participate in the development of Renaissance ideals of beauty, virtue and racial superiority in Western Europe. It will pose questions such as: How are Early modern ideas of mortality shaped by encounters with non-white bodies and cultures? And how does Shakespearean tragedy allude to the iconographic polarities of racial distinction when staging death and dying?

Dr Karim-Cooper oversees the Higher Education programme and leads Research and scholarship at Shakespeare’s Globe. She is Visiting Research Fellow, King’s College London and co-convenes the King’s/Globe joint MA in Shakespeare Studies. She was the 2013 Lloyd Davis Visiting Professor at the University of Queensland, a Trustee of the Shakespeare Association of America and Chair of the Globe Architecture Research Group that led the research into the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. She is frequently a keynote speaker and panellist at national and international conferences on Shakespeare, Renaissance drama, early modern culture and theatre practice. Farah curated the Shakespeare and Race Festival in August 2018. Her research interests are theatre history, feminism, critical race theory and performance. Farah is the author of Cosmetics in Shakespearean and Renaissance Drama, revised edition (EUP, 2019), The Hand on the Shakespearean Stage (Bloomsbury, 2016) and Titus Andronicus: The State of Play (Bloomsbury, 2019). She is currently working on a book on Shakespeare, Race and Death and editing The Duchess of Malfi for the Routledge Anthology of Early Modern Drama (forthcoming 2020).

Dr Karim-Cooper’s talk will be followed by the launch of Shakespeare’s Body Language: Shaming Gestures and Gender Politics on the Renaissance Stage, written by Dr Miranda Fay Thomas (Assist. Prof. in Drama, Trinity College Dublin) from 6pm in the Samuel Beckett Theatre Foyer, TCD.

MFT Shakespeares Body Lanaguage book Arden 2019


 

 

Winter School: Archival Research Skills and Book History, 2-3rd December, University of Limerick

The Centre for Early Modern Studies, Limerick, presents the 2nd Winter School in Archival Research Skills & Book History 2nd – 3rd December 2019

Supported by the AHSS Teaching Board

 

Venue: University of Limerick, Glucksman Library GLO – 068 (unless otherwise indicated)

Monday 2nd December

9.30 am  Welcome / Opening of Winter School
10-11am  Olivia Lardner, Glucksman Library: “The hunter, Martin Luther, and some griffons: aesthetics of the Bolton Library”
11-11.30 Tea Break
11.30-12.30 Dr Kirsten Mulrennan & Sinéad Keogh, Glucksman Library: “Digital Approaches to Early Modern Works”
12.30-1.30 Lunch
1.30-2.30  Dr Aengus Finnegan, School of English, Irish, and Communication, UL: “Researching Irish Placenames, Surnames and Personal Names ­: An Introduction to the Major Sources”
2.30-3pm Lunch
3-4pm  Dr Coleman Dennehy, Department of History, UL: “The printed case as a source for Irish legal history…..and so much more”
5.15pm  3rd Annual Bolton-King Lecture

Professor James Raven (University of Essex, University of Cambridge)
“Mermaids and Sea Monsters: A Global Book Biography and the Irish and Enlightenment Reception of Erik Pontoppidan and his Natural History of Norway”
Chair: Dr Christina Morin

Tuesday 3rd December

10-11am Prof Michael J. Griffin, School of English, Irish, and Communication: “Editing Irish Verse in English in the Eighteenth Century”
11-11.30 Tea Break
11.30-12.30 Dr Clodagh Tait, Department of History, MIC: “Records of Urban Ireland: The Curious Case of the Sextons of Limerick”
12.30-1.30 Lunch
1.30-2.30 Josefin Jiminez, Glucksman Library: “Conservation priorities for the Bolton Library”
2.30-3pm Tea Break
3-4pm Dr Alistair Malcolm, Department of History: “Spanish book preliminaries and dedications in the seventeenth century”
4pm Closing Address: Professor Kerstin Mey, Vice President Academic Affairs & Student Engagement
c. 4.30 Printing Workshop / Demonstration (venue TBC)

To register for this event, please visit this webpage.

General queries may be emailed to: earlymodernstudies@ul.ie

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