On odd numbered years since the first October the Blackfriars Playhouse opened, scholars from around the world have gathered in Staunton, during the height of the Shenandoah Valley’s Fall colors, to hear lectures, see plays, and explore early modern theatre. In 2015, the American Shakespeare Center’s Education and Research Department will once again host Shakespeareans, scholars and practitioners, to share ideas about Shakespeare in the study and Shakespeare on the stage and to find ways that these two worlds – sometime in collision – can collaborate.
The majority of events – papers, plays, workshops – take place in the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre, the Blackfriars Playhouse. This conference distinguishes itself from saner conferences in a variety of other ways. First, to model the kind of collaboration we think possible we encourage presenters to feature actors as partners in the demonstration of their theses. For instance, in 2009, Gary Taylor’s keynote presentation “Lyrical Middleton” featured ASC actors singing and dancing to the songs in Middleton’s plays. Second, we limit each paper session to six short papers (10 minutes for solo presentations, 13 minutes for presentations with actors). Third, we enforce this rule by ursine fiat – a bear chases from the stage those speakers who go over their allotted time.
Delegates also attend all of the plays in the ASC 2015 Fall Season – Antony & Cleopatra, The Winter’s Tale, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Henry VI, Part I – and, for the past several conferences, bonus plays written by Shakespearean colleagues and performed by actors in the Mary Baldwin College MFA in Shakespeare in Performance program. The spirit of fun that imbues the conference manifests itself in the annual Truancy Award, for the sensible conferee who – visiting the Shenandoah Valley at the height of Fall – has the good sense to miss the most sessions.
ASC Education and Research extends this call for papers on any matters to do with the performance of early modern drama (historical, architectural, political, dramatical, sartorial, medical, linguistical, comical, pastoral) to all interested parties for our biennial conference to be held at the Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Virginia, 28 October – 1 November 2015.
As in past years, participants may submit an abstract for consideration in one of 11 plenary sessions, each of which features only 6-7 papers. The deadline to submit an abstract for consideration in the plenary sessions is 10 April 2015 (notification and announcement by 4 May). Our colloquies will be different in 2015 than at past conferences, as we are soliciting proposals to lead these sessions (deadline 10 April). We will post the 11 selected topics by May 4th, and those who wish to register to participate in a session will be able to do so after notifications regarding plenary selections go out. Registration for participation in colloquies and workshops will end 1 June. Participation in a colloquy session will be mutually exclusive from presenting in a plenary session.
What is a colloquy? Colloquy, from the Latin Colloquium, is “A talking together; a conversation, dialogue. Also, a written dialogue, as Erasmus’s Colloquies.” Using the broad definition from the OED as our guide, this gathering can be as formal or informal as the leader and participants choose. In the past, some colloquies have encouraged participants to submit papers to one another on a topic. In these situations, participants have read one another’s papers in advance of the meeting, and discussed them during the convening. Other colloquies have functioned more like panels, or round-tables, with 5-6 interested parties presenting short papers on a topic, and the floor opening for discussion following the presentations. Other Colloquies have included sharing best practices (in pedagogy, or theatre practice for instance), both through discussion and demonstration.
For more information, please email Sarah Enloe, Director of Education, at firstname.lastname@example.org.