Screening and discussion: RSC Hamlet on RTE2 and Cyclone Rep Q&A

Cyclone Rep, Ireland’s leading Shakespeare Theatre-in-Education Company, is trying to help Leaving Certificate students during these difficult times, coming up with interesting new online ways to interact and make the works of William Shakespeare accessible to the young audiences. Due to the current lockdown the Cyclone Rep National Tour had to be cut short, but out of this unfortunate situation the company has come up with a solution to keep their mission alive.

RTÉ has announced that they will air Hamlet for the benefit of Secondary School students, showing the RSC Hamlet (2009) on Saturday 11th April 2020 on RTÉ2, 11.25am. All of the upcoming screenings of Shakespeare productions will be available on RTÉ Player for 30 days post-broadcast.

Following this announcement, Cyclone Rep has organised a live streamed discussion and Q&A on the themes of the Bard’s masterpiece.

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Tennant as Hamlet – RSC 2008

On Saturday 11th of April at 3.10pm, after RTE’s screening of the RSC production of Hamlet (starring David Tennant & Patrick Stewart), Cyclone Rep Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Peadar Donohoe, together with Hamlet Session lead actor Marcus Balewill discuss the main themes of the play and will answer any questions posed by the viewers. The streaming can be found at 3.10pm on the company’s Facebook page (facebook.com/CycloneRep). Viewers are encouraged to contact the speakers through social media channels (commenting the stream or sending private messages to the company via Facebook or through Twitter (twitter.com/CycloneRep).

Donohoe and Bale have been directing and performing Shakespeare plays for Secondary Schools students for over 15 years and have developed several productions of Hamlet in that time, as well as all the other plays prescribed in the curriculum for Junior & Senior Cycle Students.

Cyclone Rep Theatre Company tours nationwide to venues and schools and performs each year in repertory the prescribed Shakespeare plays for both Junior and Senior Cycle students. Over the last 10 years, more than 200k Irish Secondary students have seen the works of the Bard through Cyclone’s sessions. Cyclone Rep’s plays are continuously updated for the students to keep them fresh and alive.

For more on Cyclone Rep Theatre Company, see www.cyclonerep.com

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Cyclone Rep’s Hamlet


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

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.


 

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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Touring theatre: Much Ado About Nothing by Rough Magic

From the Rough Magic website.

This month, one of Ireland’s leading theatre companies, Rough Magic will embark on a national tour of Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare.

Set on the deck of a deluxe mobile home this festive production of deception and excess, sparkling wit and linguistic exuberance asks – can we ever truly know the people we love?

On it’s premiere performance in Kilkenny Arts Festival (summer 2019), the Irish Independent called this production “boisterous and intelligent” and “a hugely enjoyable and timeless treat.” The Irish Times gave it ★★★★ and the Kilkenny People called it the “funniest show in the city for years”.

Ticket info available on the weblinks below.

Dates Venues
9th November Siamsa Tíre, Tralee
12th-13th  November
(With a post-show talk on Tues 12th.)
The Everyman, Cork
15th November Theatre Royal, Waterford
18th November An Grianán, Letterkenny
20th November Backstage Theatre, Longford
22th November Lime Tree Theatre, Limerick

Directed by: Ronan Phelan

Cast: Clare Barrett, Venetia Bowe, Peter Corboy, Maeve Fitzgerald, Patrick Martins, Margaret McAuliffe, Jack Mullarkey, Shane O’Regan & Conor O’Riordan

Set Design: Sabine Dargent                Lighting Design: Sarah Jane Shiels

Costume Design: Catherine Fay          Sound Design: Denis Clohessy

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Leonata in Rough Magic’s Much Ado (Credit: Rough Magic website)