The American Shakespeare Center is joining forces with Shakespeare's Globe in London to present two conferences to celebrate the work of Professor Andrew Gurr, one to be held in the U.K. and the other in Staunton.
The first conference, titled Outside In / Inside Out, will mark the 400th anniversary of the re-acquisition of the Blackfriars Playhouse and will take place at Shakespeare's Globe from October 23 to 26, 2008.
Ralph Alan Cohen, the ASC's director of mission, will deliver the conference's keynote address on Saturday, October 25, entitled "'I'll be an auditor, an actor too perhaps, if I see cause': Audiences at Re-created Shakespeare Theatres." Here is the abstract for Cohen's presentation:
The critics who took seriously Sam Wanamaker's project of recreating Shakespeare's Globe – as opposed to those who saw it as Shakespeare Land – argued that a project meant to recover the plays through architectural fidelity was doomed because no matter what we do to simulate the space and the physical facts of early modern performance nor how we try to imitate original practices, we can never re-assemble an early modern audience. Basing my case on anecdotal evidence from productions at the Globe and on more, but equally anecdotal, evidence from productions at the Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Virginia, I will challenge the good sense of this anti-essentialist position and argue for a correlation between audience responses then and now. In making the case for this parallel, I hope to suggest the value of these enterprises to a better understanding, however imprecise, of how the plays worked in the past and, more importantly and more precisely, of how they might work in the future.
Scholars and theatre practitioners will explore three topics: Repertory and Space; Staging; and Reconstruction. The conference will inform the plans for the Shakespeare Globe Trust's second theatre building, an Indoor Jacobean Theatre. The second conference will take place at the Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton in autumn 2009.
While in London, ASC's Globe II Coordinator Sarah Enloe will meet with the archivists at Shakespeare's Globe and at the National Theatre to discuss the workings of their archives and see what practices the ASC can apply as we continue to catalogue and bring our own materials to scholars and other interested parties.
For more information and a schedule for the Outside In / Inside Out conference, visit Shakespeare's Globe.
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