Arguing with Edmund Spenser in Contemporary Irish Poetry

Thursday 15th February, 7-9pm
Poetry Ireland, 11 Parnell Square East, Dublin 1.
Tickets: Free, but limited – booking advised. Info from Poetry Ireland website.

The Tudor poet, Edmund Spenser, is not remembered fondly in Ireland, despite his having written most of his major works while living here as a planter and colonial administrator in the late sixteenth century, and despite the interest of W.B. Yeats in his potential uses as an Irish poet. The reasons for this disfavour are all too easy to identify: Spenser’s vicious polemic against both the native Irish and the descendants of the Norman settlers who had become ‘more Irish than the Irish themselves’ (as the saying goes) in his political dialogue, A View of the Present State of Ireland.

But Spenser has been an increasingly noticeable presence in contemporary Irish poetry, prompting exploration not just of the darker moments of Irish history during the plantations, and their implications for Ireland today, but also of the opportunities for reflection and even self-examination his poetry offers an Irish reader – and ultimately, perhaps, a re-evaluation of the usual narratives of the Irish literary tradition.

The School of English, Drama, Film and Creative Writing, University College Dublin and Poetry Ireland invite you to join five poets who have been thinking and arguing with Spenser in their recent work for an evening of discussion and readings: John McAuliffe (The Way In (2015)), Trevor Joyce (Fastness (2017)), Leanne O’Sullivan (A Quarter of an Hour (2018)), Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill (Ireland Professor of Poetry (2001-2004)), and current Ireland Professor of Poetry Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin (The Boys of Bluehill (2015)).

Tickets: Free, but limited – booking advised here.

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Frontispiece to The Faerie Queene, printed 1590.

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Gaiety School of Acting Shakespeare Schools Programme: King Lear (Cork and Dublin)

The Gaiety School of Acting Shakespeare Schools Programme presents King Lear. A run at Dean Crowe theatre in Athlone has already been completed, with dates remaining in Cork and Dublin cities at Firkin Crane and Smock Alley theatres respectively.

King Lear

The Gaiety School of Acting – The National Theatre School of Ireland is offering Leaving Cert. students a unique opportunity.

The Gaiety School of Acting is delighted to launch our 2017 production of King Lear. This production will travel to Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin, Firkin Crane, Cork and The Dean Crowe Theatre, Athlone from the 23rd of October to the 1st December.

This is the 5th year of our Shakespeare Schools programme and in 2016 we performed Hamlet for almost 6500 students from 130 schools. This means that almost 1 in every 9 students sitting their leaving Certificate English exams in June will have seen our production. We are excited to once again provide students with the opportunity to see Shakespeare’s work live.

Student tickets are €17 with all teachers tickets complimentary. Included in the ticket price is the following:

  • Traditional Production of King Lear (1.5 Hours).
  • Workshop (1 Hour) with a chance to engage with some of the cast about questions on the Leaving Cert, including relationships, characters and themes
  • Student Workbook with information on General Vision and Viewpoint, Social Settings, Characters and Theatrical information.
  • Pre show video for your students which will introduce them to the play, its literary genre and the cultural context.

Dates

Dean CroweAthlone24th-27th October 2017

Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin6th-10th November 2017

Firkin Crane, Cork City13th-17th November 2017

Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin: 27th November – 1st December 2017

Tickets: € 17 (Teachers complimentary)

Booking info: shakespeare@gaietyschool.com

For programme queries or to speak directly to the Programme Coordinator contact The Gaiety School of Acting on 01 6799277

Concert in Cork by UCC’s Early Music Ensemble and Chamber Musicians

University College Cork’s Early Music Ensemble (directed by Simon MacHale) and Chamber Music Ensemble (directed by Dr Jillian Rogers) will perform a joint evening concert of chamber and consort music of the fifteenth to eighteenth century on Wednesday 10th May.

This free event will take place in the beautiful nineteenth century surroundings of St. Vincent’s Church, Cork city, at 7.30pm.

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St. Vincent’s church, Sunday’s Well, Cork city.

 

Report: Celebrating Shakespeare 400: Performing Pericles, Prince of Tyre in Cork

In mid-November 2015, the Irish Renaissance Seminar met in Marsh’s Library. The seminar theme “Time, Memory, and Commemoration” looked back back to the past but also looked expectantly to the future via an open discussion of plans for the Shakespeare quartercentenary. Many of the proposals which were aired at the meeting bore fruit and have been promoted and cataloged on this blog. My project “Celebrating Shakespeare 400: Performing Pericles, Prince of Tyre”, funded by the Irish Research Council New Foundations Scheme, was one of the final commemorative events in Irish universities in 2016.

The project’s primary aim was to make a unique contribution to the worldwide celebrations of Shakespeare 400. It sought too to inspire interest in Shakespeare’s lesser-known drama; to deepen our understanding of Shakespeare’s sources and his legacy; and to cultivate networks between scholars, theatre practitioners, and the general public. The project comprised a staged reading of Shakespeare’s critically-neglected late play Pericles, Prince of Tyre (c.1606) held in the Unitarian Church in Cork city, and a symposium and public lecture held in University College Cork.

unitarian church Cork

The Unitarian Church, Cork city

Although unfamiliar to a general audience, Pericles proved to be ideally suited to performance as a staged reading. Story-telling is central to its dramaturgy and, as its narrator Gower insists, the tale is designed to “glad your ear and please your eyes”. As hoped, the performance introduced a new audience to this little-known Shakespearean romance. Part of this new audience included the cast of community actors – students from UCC Drama and Theatre Studies and the local LittleShoes drama group – as Pericles was unfamiliar to them and indeed most had never performed Shakespeare before. After just two days of rehearsals we were delighted to take to the stage, with our director Sinead Dunphy, to perform for a packed house. The reading had in fact sold out quickly and we even had to secure extra chairs on the night – as the British Council’s Shakespeare 400 programme suggested, it seems that “Shakespeare Lives…in Cork”!

The reading attracted a diverse audience which included the general public, as well as UCC staff and students of all levels. Cork is a designated UNESCO Learning City and both during and after the project, it was evident that the performance inspired an enthusiastic response from the city’s lifelong learners. The production was filmed and is available online here. A scholarly review of the production can be found on Dr Peter Kirwan’s Bardathon blog.

In addition to the IRC New Foundations funding, the project was also supported by UCC’s CACSSS Graduate School, the UCC Information Services Strategic Fund, and UCC’s School of English. This group of supporters were invaluable when it came to organising the symposium/graduate masterclass which explored Pericles, its sources, and critical and performative history, as well as issues relevant to the plot. With papers that addressed a wide range of topics including Old English, Middle English, neo-Latin, Shakespearean drama, gender studies, and Shakespeare on film, the interdisciplinary symposium explored and enhanced our understanding of Shakespeare, his influences, and his place in the literary canon.

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Dr Peter Kirwan speaking at the “Celebrating Shakespeare 400: Performing Pericles” symposium in November 2016. 

The keynote public lecture, delivered by Dr Peter Kirwan (University of Nottingham), gave a rare insight into the herculean task of editing Pericles. The symposium concluded with a convivial roundtable on the performance of Pericles, involving the director, actors, and myself as project leader. Full details on the symposium’s schedule can be found here.

Report by Dr Edel Semple.

CFP: Borderlines XXI in UCC

University College Cork will host Borderlines XXI in April 2017. The theme of this year’s conference is “Authority in the Medieval and Early Modern World”.

Postgraduates and early career scholars are most welcome to submit an abstract and attend this annual Medieval-Renaissance conference. The Call For Papers has been launched (see below) and the deadline for submission of abstracts is 3rd February 2017.

For updates and further details, see the Borderlines XXI blog here.

borderlines-xxi-ucc-april-2017-cfp

“Celebrating Shakespeare 400: Performing Pericles, Prince of Tyre” – reading and symposium in University College Cork 14th-15th November

This year marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death and commemorations have been taking place around the world to mark the occasion. University College Cork will make a unique contribution to this commemorative programme through the “Celebrating Shakespeare 400: Performing Pericles, Prince of Tyre” project. Funded by the Irish Research Council New Foundations scheme, the project comprises a public staged reading of Shakespeare’s Pericles (c.1606) and a symposium exploring this critically-neglected play. Notably, as far as records can determine, the play reading will be only the second ever performance of Pericles in Ireland and the first in Munster.

Led by Dr Edel Semple, Lecturer in Shakespeare Studies in UCC’s School of English, the project involves actors from UCC’s Drama and Theatre Studies and the LittleShoes Productions drama group, as well as scholars from UCC, the UK and USA. The play reading is directed by Sinéad Dunphy, a UCC graduate and Festival Manager of the Cork International Choral Festival.

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The staged reading is a free but ticketed event and takes place on Monday 14th at 6pm in the Unitarian Church, Princes Street, Cork. The symposium exploring the play’s sources and critical and performance history, will take place on Tuesday 15th November in UCC, and will conclude with a special public lecture by Dr. Peter Kirwan (University of Nottingham).

Overall “Celebrating Shakespeare 400: Performing Pericles, Prince of Tyre” will explore and enhance our understanding of Shakespeare’s drama, his sources, the world he lived in, and his legacy; introduce his late drama to new audiences; and will make a distinctive contribution to the year-long global celebrations of Shakespeare’s life and work in 2016. For further info, please see the School of English website and social media (@EnglishUCC), and for queries contact Dr Edel Semple (email e.semple@ucc.ie).

The “Celebrating Shakespeare 400: Performing Pericles, Prince of Tyre” project is funded by the Irish Research Council New Foundations scheme, with additional support from UCC’s CACSSS Graduate School, the UCC Information Services Strategic Fund, and the School of English, University College Cork. The project is also part of the British Council’s Shakespeare Lives programme for 2016.

Tickets for staged reading of Pericles on Eventbrite here.

A detailed schedule for the symposium / graduate masterclass is available from UCC CACSSS Graduate School here (see event listed for 14-15th Nov.)

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The 1609 quarto of Pericles

Public lecture: “Shakespeare’s First Act” by Prof. Goran Stanivukovic at UCC, 18th Oct.

University College Cork’s School of English is delighted to host a special guest lecture by Prof. Goran Stanivukovic (Saint Mary’s University, Canada) on the topic of “Shakespeare’s First Act: literature, theatre, and the earliest years”. The lecture takes place on Tuesday 18th October, 6pm, in the beautiful surroundings of the Council Room on the Quad, University College Cork. All are welcome to attend.

 

The lecture will focus on Shakespeare’s ‘earliest’ Elizabethan years in London and will explore the theatrical, literary, and artistic conditions that shaped the critical perceptions of Shakespeare’s early works. Prof. Stanivukovic will seek to challenge the view of ‘earliest Shakespeare’ as a ‘young’ writer struggling to find his voice and as bound by rhetorical cliches, and will argue that Shakespeare produced some of the most avant-garde drama and innovative poetry of the late 1590s at just this ‘earliest’ stage of his creative life. Prof. Stanivukovic will further question how we think about what ‘young’, or ‘early’, and what these mean in our modern critical assessment of a literary career. The lecture forms part of the British Council’s “Shakespeare Lives” programme and is one of a series of events held in UCC to celebrate Shakespeare 400 this year.

 

Prof. Stanivukovic is Professor of English at Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Canada. He is a distinguished scholar of English Renaissance literature and Cultural Studies, with research interests in Shakespeare and drama of his contemporaries, prose romance, queer theory, masculinity, neo-classicism of the Renaissance, and the Renaissance Mediterranean. He has edited Remapping the Mediterranean World in Early Modern English Writings (Palgrave, 2007), Ovid and the Renaissance Body (University of Toronto Press, 2001), and with Constance C. Relihan, Prose Fiction and Early Modern Sexualities in England, 1570-1640 (Palgrave, 2003). His most recent monograph is Knights in Arms: Prose Romance, Masculinity, and Eastern Mediterranean Trade (University of Toronto Press, 2015).

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