Book: Shakespeare and Youtube: New Media Uses of the Bard

Shakespeare and YouTube

In the first ever full-length analysis of YouTube Shakespeare, Stephen O’Neill shows the importance of the video-sharing platform to the twenty-first century’s reception and adaptation of Shakespeare’s work.

By exploring YouTube’s function as patron, archive and distribution channel, the book analyses how the platform extends and challenges Shakespeare’s cultural currency. Investigating the intersection of YouTube’s participatory culture – its invitation to ‘Broadcast Yourself’ – with its corporate logic, the book argues that YouTube Shakespeare is a site of productive tension between new forms of creative interpretation and the homogenizing effects of mass culture.

Emphasising the need for critical media literacy, O’Neill also analyses the site’s usefulness as a pedagogical resource within Shakespeare studies. The book provides practical guidelines on using YouTube in the classroom, including detailed assignments designed to facilitate interactive, student-centred learning. Including a wealth of online resources, Shakespeare and YouTube will prove essential to an understanding of how Shakespeare is being appropriated and adapted in the digital age.

Stephen O’Neill is a Lecturer in the School of English, Media and Theatre Studies, National University of Ireland Maynooth, with teaching and research interests in Shakespearean and English Renaissance drama and also Shakespeare adaptation, especially in popular culture and new media. His publications include Staging Ireland: Representations in Shakespeare and Renaissance Drama (2007); Shakespeare and the Irish Writer (2010), co-edited with Janet Clare; and essays on the reception of Shakespearean drama.

Preview available here


Theatre: Globe’s Much Ado About Nothing, Kilkenny Arts Festival, 8-17 August

From the Kilkenny Arts Festival website, where you can get more information and book:

Over the last two years, a production by Shakespeare’s Globe (UK) has become one of the must-see highlights of the festival programme. Performing on a recreated Elizabethan ‘Booth Stage’, the company has brought two acclaimed productions to Kilkenny and transformed the Castle Yard into the finest venue in the country for open-air theatre. This year we’re delighted to welcome them back with a production of one of Shakespeare’s liveliest comedies, Much Ado About Nothing.

Claudio loves Hero and Hero Claudio, and nothing seems capable of keeping them apart. Claudio’s friend Benedick loves Beatrice and Beatrice loves him back, but because neither will admit it nothing seems capable of bringing them together. Only the intrigues of a resentful prince force Benedick to prove his love for Beatrice – by killing his best friend.

Driven along by a pair of lovers in denial, Much Ado About Nothing is a masterpiece of comic and dramatic suspense and gives us, in the bantering Beatrice and Benedick, literature’s wittiest bickering couple.

Please note: this is an outdoor performance. Please dress for the weather.


Friday 8 Aug 7.30pm
Saturday 9 Aug 7.30pm
Sunday 10 Aug 7.30pm
Monday 11 Aug 7.30pm
Tuesday 12 Aug 7.30pm
Thursday 14 Aug 7.30pm
Friday 15 Aug 7.30pm
Saturday 16 Aug 7.30pm
Sunday 17 Aug 2pm, 7.30pm


Castle Yard at Kilkenny Design


2 hrs 30 mins including interval


Full €26, Concession €22.50. Family matinee ticket €75 (2 adults & 2 children or 1 adult & 3 children)


Book Online


You can tweet the festival @kilkennyarts (hashtag #MuchAdo) or visit their Facebook page.


Job: Lectureship in English, UCC

Job Posted: 23 May 2014
Closing Date for Applications: 13 Jun 2014
School: School of English
Contract Type: Fixed Term Whole-Time
Job Type: Academic

UCC wishes to appoint a Lecturer in English (one-year post).  Reporting to the Head of School, the appointee will have an expertise in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century literature and culture, evidenced by a doctorate in a relevant area, and an emerging or established publication record. S/he will have a demonstrated ability to teach the literature of the late sixteenth century and of the seventeenth century, including Renaissance poetry and drama (including, but not confined to Shakespeare, Sidney, Spenser, Marvell, and Milton). S/he will be required to convene a module in seventeenth-century literature and to teach Renaissance literature to large undergraduate classes. Also required is seminar teaching, MA teaching, and supervision of MA theses. In addition to teaching, the successful candidate will maintain a commitment to producing high quality scholarship in the field of seventeenth-century literature. S/he will also show capacity to attract national and international research funding, individual and collaborative. The successful candidate will be expected to participate as appropriate in the normal administrative work of the School.

Informal enquiries can be made in confidence to Claire Connolly, Head of School ( ) For further information on the School, please see

To Apply:

Candidates should apply, in confidence, before 5pm on Friday, 13th June 2014 emailing a completed application form to .  Interviews will take place on Thursday, 10th July in University College Cork.

More details

Staged Reading: Gammer Gurton’s Needle


The Tavern Players will be continuing their series of staged readings with a performance of the sixteenth-century university play, Gammer Gurton’s Needle, on 29 May 2014, at Trinity College Dublin.

If you’d like to come along and watch this irreverent comedy, please get in touch or leave a comment.

Review: Wayne Jordan’s Twelfth Night at the Abbey

Wayne Jordan’s take on Shakespeare’s play of overflowing desire is like nothing I have seen at the Abbey before. Dispensing with elaborate sets, Jordan trusted the language to fill the stage, by creating a simple wooden platform where the actors could talk to the audience, to use Bridget Escolme’s resonant phrase. And talk to the audience they did – when the actors were alone onstage, they had dialogues, not monologues. The set was stripped right back to the brickwork, where letters spelled out the play’s subtitle of ‘What You Will’ with an inverted question mark that spoke to the inversions to come.

Taking its cue from the famed opening line – ‘If music be the food of love’ – the set was dominated by giant speakers for much of the action, which were pushed around, writhed on, and hidden behind (in the gulling of Malvolio) to great effect. What emanated from them were the dirty dark pulses of electric love, counterbalanced perfectly by the marimba, vibraphone and cimbalom skills of Alex Pectu throughout, thanks to Tom Lane’s superb music design (some of which can be found here). A special mention must also go to Ger Kelly’s Feste, whose voice filled the auditorium with strains that really did have ‘a dying fall’. This was particularly effective in the drinking scenes, where The Prodigy’s ‘Firestarter’ was given the barbershop treatment. Nick Dunning’s Sir Toby almost looked to be a hair’s breadth from alcoholism.

Unafraid of anachronism, the show made a 400 year old play relevant with the subtlest of touches, whether in Feste’s arrival with ‘carry out’ cans in blue plastic bags, or Duke Orsino’s iPod headphones worn with a cloak. I think it’s fair to say that the dominant aesthetic in a word was ‘hipster’, and this sat well with the incessant self-display of Shakespeare’s characters, deeply ironic but also tinged with neediness. Natalie Radmall-Quirke was impeccable as an Olivia who doesn’t know what she wants, while a moustachioed Orsino was so full of self-love that it was hard to believe there would be any left for Viola.

The madhouse of Malvolio (Mark O’Halloran) was a personal highlight, as he is rolled out in a floor-lit glass case, with Feste donning soutane and thick Irish accent for Sir Topas the curate. Some clarity was lost with Feste’s use of a full mask, but the visual image created was striking. Malvolio’s missive to his mistress was shown to be one of a string of letters liable to be misplaced or misread (much like Maria’s earlier C’s, U’s and T’s). His bedraggled appearance by this stage – in a full yellow morph suit – gave us a steward that we empathised with more than pitied.

A strength of this production was the fact that even the most minor characters, like Elaine Fox’s Valentine, were  caught up in the same nets of desire as their superiors. Antonio and Sebastian’s subtextual relationship was made clear, as they are dragged to the centre of a stage on a mattress asleep in each other’s arms. Meanwhile in the house of Olivia, her woman Maria (Ruth McGill) flits between Sir Toby and Sir Andrew with ease and grace. Glances darted constantly , especially in the final scene whether between the traditional couples, or new, potential pairings: Orsino and Antonio, Maria and Sir Andrew, Sebastian and Viola.

As a coda to the supposed resolution of Shakespeare’s play, the show finished with a beautifully balletic movement piece with the characters in their underwear, twisting, lifting and embracing one another, making explicit the latent desire throughout. I was unsure as to why Malvolio, much in need of stripping off, was marked out by remaining in his morph suit – must he still be excluded beyond the borders of Shakespeare’s script?

More remains to be said about this production, due to the richness of characterisation, stage design and the integration of music and movement. But for now, I’m glad to see such a bold new direction being taken.

Book: The Persian Empire in English Renaissance Writing, 1549-1622


The Persian Empire in English Renaissance Writing, 1549-1622 studies the conception of Persia in the literary, political and pedagogic writings of Renaissance England and Britain. It argues that writers of all kinds debated the means and merits of English empire through their intellectual engagement with the ancient Persian empire. It studies the reception of Xenophon’s Cyropaedia and the Histories of Herodotus, the bedrock of English conceptions of Persia and the Persian empire, in plays, poetry and political thought. Covering the period from the beginnings of Anglo-Persian relations under the auspices of the Muscovy Company in the 1560s and 1570s to the first Anglo-Persian military alliance in 1622, it traces the changing conception and uses of Persia – both Islamic and ancient – in the English literary and political imaginary, and demonstrates the contemporary uses of an idealized image of Persia rooted in the classical legacy.

Jane Grogan is a Lecturer in Renaissance Literature at the School of English, Drama and Film at University College Dublin, Ireland. She is the author of Exemplary Spenser (2009; winner of the Isabel MacCaffrey prize) and the editor of Celebrating Mutabilitie: Essays on Edmund Spenser’s Mutabilitie Cantos (2010) and several journal articles.

More details here