Each Friday at 5 PM

An Exploration of Race and Shakespeare

“Then Must You Speak” will bring together scholars and artists for probing conversations about race and Shakespeare on the page and on the stage both in theory and in practice in order to grow our understanding of the many ways in which “classical” theatre and how we pursue it in America exposes and intersects with issues of social justice, systemic racism, equity, and the perpetuation of White supremacy culture while simultaneously offering a lens through which to imagine and embody positive change.

Presented LIVE via Zoom broadcast to our ASC Facebook page for free, every week through October!

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OCTOBER 30 - A Conversation with Prof. Farah Karim-Cooper

Proessor Farah Karim-Cooper, Head of Higher Education & Research at Shakespeare’s Globe, joins us to share about the Globe’s Shakespeare and Race programming, the ways in which research and practice inform one another, and what work is still ahead. [This talk will be pre-recorded.]

  • Farah Karim-Cooper is Professor of Shakespeare Studies, King’s College London and Head of Higher Education & Research at Shakespeare’s Globe, where she has worked for the last 16 years. Farah is Vice-President of the Shakespeare Association of America after having served three years as Trustee.She is on the Advisory Council for the Warburg Institute and has held Visiting fellowships around the world. She leads the architectural enquiries into early modern theatres at Shakespeare’s Globe, overseeing the research into the design and construction of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, the Globe’s indoor Jacobean theatre.

    She has published over 40 chapters in books, reviews and articles and is a General Editor for Arden’s Shakespeare in the Theatre series and their Critical Intersections Series. She has written two books: Cosmetics in Shakespearean and Renaissance Drama (Edinburgh University Press, 2006, revised ed. 2019) and The Hand on the Shakespearean Stage: Gesture, Touch and the Spectacle of Dismemberment (Arden 2016). She has also co-edited Shakespeare’s Globe: A Theatrical Experiment with Christie Carson (Cambridge University Press, 2008); Shakespeare’s Theatres and the Effects of Performance with Tiffany Stern (Arden 2012) and Moving Shakespeare Indoors: Performance and Repertoire in the Jacobean Playhouse with Andrew Gurr (Cambridge University Press, 2014); she recently edited a collection for Arden, Titus Andronicus: The State of Play (2019) and has edited John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi for the Routledge Anthology of Early Modern Drama, edited by Jeremy Lopez (2020). She is currently writing a book on Shakespeare and Race.

    In 2018 she curated the Globe’s first Shakespeare and Race Festival. She is an executive board member for RaceB4Race, a consortium of Scholars and institutions that seek racial justice in the field of pre-modern literary studies. In the UK she is creating the first ever Scholars of Colour network.

OCTOBER 23 - Then Must You Act: Shakespeare Company Staffers on Strategies and Actions

Hear from staff and artists from Shakespeare companies across the country (and beyond) about strategies and successes of anti-racism work within their companies.

  • Stephen Burdman, Founder and Artistic Director, NY Classical Theatre.
    Stephen Burdman founded NY Classical Theatre in 2000 and is the vision behind the creation of Panoramic Theatre. Originally from Los Angeles, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and planned to become a doctor. During college, Stephen auditioned for a production of Hamlet, and discovered his passion for Shakespeare. That experience completely changed the course of his life. Stephen founded NY Classical to give all people the chance to discover classical masterpieces as he did.Stephen has directed nearly half of Shakespeare canon. To date, he has directed 35 productions for the company. Some of his favorite productions are The Importance of Being Earnest (Two-Ways), Romeo & Juliet, The Rivals, The Winter’s Tale, Measure for Measure, The Seagull, A {15-Min!} Christmas Carol, Playing Moliere, Henry V (in The Battery and, via ferry boat, Governors Island), Hamlet, King Lear, Misalliance, Mary Stuart, Scapin, and The Triumph of Love.

    Stephen attended the National Theatre Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center and later received an MFA in Theatre Directing from the University of California, Irvine. In 1989, Stephen was selected to participate in the first young theatre artist exchange with the (former) Soviet Union and has been a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society since 1994.Nominated by New York State Assembly member Danny O’Donnell, Stephen received an award from the West Side Spirit for consistent commitment to excellence in theatre. He lives in Harlem with his wife, Adena, and son, Ezekiel. An avid supporter of Shakespeare on all levels, Stephen is the former Chair of the Artistic Committee of the Shakespeare Theatre Association. He has also been a panelist with the National Endowment for the Arts, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, The Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York, and Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation.
  • Raphael Massie, Artistic Associate at Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
    OSF credits include Associate Dramaturg on black odyssey, 2019 OSF Killian Directing Fellowship Finalist, Assistant Director on How to Catch Creation, and 2013 Drama League of New York Classical Directing Fellow.Regional Directing Credits include Elm Shakespeare Company: Romeo and Juliet (director); Shakespeare and Company: Cymbeline (associate director), The Merchant of Venice (associate director), Romeo and Juliet (director, Fall Festival of Shakespeare), Mother Courage and Her Children (assistant director); Collective Consciousness Theatre: Detroit ’67 (director); Bregamos: Mommas Boyz (director). Directing in England: Northcott Theatre: Twisted Virtue (director); Exeter Fringe: Titus Andronicus (director); Elysium Theatre Company: Henriad/War of the Roses (assistant director, various); Southern Connecticut State University: Lysistrata (director), Stop Kiss (director), Polaroid Stories (director), Julius Caesar (director). Acting Credits include Gregory/Peter in Romeo and Juliet (Hartford Stage); Nick Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Malvolio in Twelfth Night, Simonedes/Cerimon in Pericles, Porthos in The Three Musketeers, Horatio in Hamlet, Ivan in Art, Don Pedro in Much Ado About Nothing (Elm Shakespeare Company); Theseus/Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Kent in King Lear (ArtFarm). Raphael has an MFA in Staging Shakespeare, University of Exeter (UK); BA Theatre/BS Education, Southern Connecticut State University.
  • Claire Sakaki, Executive Director, Bard on the Beach.
    Claire Sakaki was named Executive Director of Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival in 2013. Prior to Bard, Claire was the Producer of Toronto’s Soulpepper Theatre Company, Business Manager for Toronto Dance Theatre, Company Manager for the Weston Playhouse, Founding Producer of Theatrefront and worked in corporate development for the Canadian Opera Company.Claire is a graduate of the Non-Profit Executive Program (Georgetown University), Income Manager’s Program (University of Waterloo) and Queen’s University (BAH Psychology). Claire received the national John Hobday Award in Arts Management, sits on the Board of the Vancouver International Wine Festival, and is a member of the Labour Relations Committee for PACT, Advisory Committee for Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre and the Arts and Culture Advisory Committee for the City of Vancouver.
OCTOBER 16 - Talking Back To Shakespeare: Playwrights of Color on responding to Shakespeare

Playwrights Anchuli Felicia King (Shakespeare’s New Contemporaries winner for Keene, a response to Othello) and Aditi Brennan Kapil (Imogen Says Nothing; PlayOn translation of Measure for Measure) join us to speak about their plays, their writing processes, and the challenges and opportunities of engaging with Shakespeare.

  • Anchuli Felicia King is a playwright, screenwriter and multidisciplinary artist of Thai-Australian descent. As a writer, Felicia is interested in linguistic hybrids, digital cultures and issues of globalization. Her plays have been produced by the Royal Court Theatre (London), Studio Theatre (Washington D.C.), American Shakespeare Center (Staunton), Melbourne Theatre Company (Melbourne), Sydney Theatre Company, National Theatre of Parramatta and Belvoir Theatre (Sydney).As a multidisciplinary artist, Felicia has worked with a wide range of companies, including Punchdrunk, PlayCo, 3LD Arts & Technology Center, Roundabout Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, 59E59, Ars Nova, the Obie Awards, The Builders Association, Ensemble Studio Theater, NYTW, American Shakespeare Company and Red Bull Theater. She is a member of Ensemble Studio Theater’s Youngblood Group and Roundabout Theater’s Space Jam Program.Formerly based in New York, Felicia continues to work internationally and is based between London, New York and her hometown of Melbourne, Australia.Awards, Commissions & Residencies: Royal Court Commission, 2019; Manhattan Theatre Club Commission. 2019; Melbourne Theatre Company Next Stage Commission, 2019; Ars Nova Play Group 2018/19; Ensemble Studio Theatre Youngblood Member 2017-2024 ; Roundabout Theater, Space Jam Program (ongoing); Space on Ryder Farm Finalist, 2018 ; Playwriting Australia National Play Initiative Winner, 2017 ; Yellow Earth “Typhoon” Reading Series, 2017 “Liberation” Video Commission, B.W. Powe Poetry Project, 2017 ; Roundabout Columbia Initiative Winner, 2017 ; Bridge Initiative Playwriting Award Finalist, 2016 ; Red Bull Theatre Short Play Finalist, 2016.
  • Aditi Brennan Kapil is a television and theatre actress, writer, and director. She is of Bulgarian and Indian descent, and was raised in Sweden prior to moving to Minneapolis, and more recently Los Angeles. Current projects include Season 2 of American Gods on Starz, a new play titled 1933 commissioned by La Jolla Playhouse, two commissions with Oregon Shakespeare Festival (translation of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, and an American Revolutions piece tentatively titled Pax Americana), and an as yet untitled commission with Audible. Most recently, in the 2016/2017 season, Aditi premiered SouthCoast Repertory (SCR) commissioned play Orange at Mixed Blood Theatre and at SCR, and Yale Rep commissioned play Imogen Says Nothing at Yale Repertory Theatre. Both are now available through Sam French.
OCTOBER 9 - All About Audiences

After weeks of talking to artists and academics, we turn our attention to a crucial constituency in theatre-making: the audience. Washington & Lee’s Dean Lena Hill and Stauntonians Kenneth L. Venable and Susan Artis-Venable join us for a conversation about their experiences as audience members and how it is affected by the content of a particular play, the diversity of the performers, and the diversity of the rest of the audience.

  • Lena Hill was appointed Dean of Washington & Lee in 2018. She is a Professor of English and Africana Studies.  She received her bachelor’s from Howard University, her Ph.D. from Yale University, and completed postdoctoral work at Duke University.  Dean Hill’s scholarship and teaching focus on African American literature and visual culture, and she is known internationally as a scholar of Ralph Ellison. In addition to publishing numerous articles and essays, she has authored and co-edited three books.Dean Hill and her husband, Professor Michael Hill, have two children: a 17-year-old daughter, Caitlyn, and a 12-year-old son, Michael Carl.
  • Susan Artis-Venable is the Founder/Executive Director of Artis Transitions, Inc, which helps families and individuals in crisis move forward to self-sufficiency and economic independence. She holds a degree in Applied Behavioral Science.
  • Kenneth L. Venable is the President of the Staunton Education Foundation, Inc and currently serves as Chairman for the Staunton City School Board.
OCTOBER 2 - Artistry, Authenticity, and Advocacy

Directors and producers Evren Odcikin and Rosa Joshi join us for a wide-ranging discussion about centering generative artists in the production process, embracing authenticity in the artistic practice, and expanding our understanding of “classical” work.

  • Evren Odcikin is the Associate Artistic Director at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, a founder of Maia Directors, and a member of the Steering Committee for MENA Theater Makers Alliance. He previously served as the Director of New Plays and Marketing at Golden Thread Productions, where he is now a resident artist. On the administrative side, he was most recently the communications consultant for KQED’s $135 million Campaign 21, and has held high-level marketing and communications positions at American Conservatory Theater and Magic Theatre. As a director, he has worked at Portland Center Stage, New York Theatre Workshop, Geva Theatre, Berkeley Rep, South Coast Rep, The Lark, Kennedy Center, InterAct (Philadelphia), Cleveland Public Theatre, Magic Theatre, Crowded Fire, Playwrights Foundation, amongst many others. Recognitions include a 2016 “Theatre Worker You Should Know” feature in American Theatre Magazine; a 2015 National Director’s Fellowship from the O’Neill, NNPN, the Kennedy Center, and SDCF; and a 2013 TITAN Award from Theatre Bay Area. As a writer, he is under commission with Leila Buck to create 1001 Nights (A Retelling) for Cal Shakes; his translation of Sedef Ecer’s On the Periphery premiered at Golden Thread and Crowded Fire; and he directed his adaptation of Plautus’s The Braggart Soldier at Custom Made Theatre. Evren was born and raised in Turkey and is a graduate of Princeton University. odcikin.com
  • Rosa Joshi is a free-lance director and theatre educator based in Seattle. As a founding member of upstart crow collective, a theatre company committed to producing classical plays with diverse all female and non-binary casts, Rosa is committed to reimagining classical texts for the 21st Century. Rosa’s Shakespeare directing credits include: all female and non-binary productions of Bring Down the House (upstart crow collective at Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Seattle Shakespeare Company), Titus Andronicus, King John (upstart crow); As You Like It, Henry V (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); Henry IV Part I (Folger Theatre) Richard II; (Seattle Shakespeare Company); Much Ado About Nothing, Twelfth Night (New City Theater). Rosa is currently on the faculty of Seattle University where she is Chair of Performing Arts and Arts Leadership.
SEPTEMBER 25 - Practice and Pedagogy
Dr. Brian Granger, multi-hyphenate theater artist and Assistant Professor of Theatre at Mary Baldwin University, speaks about his professional and academic career, the impact of race on his teaching practices, and the prevalence of Shakespeare in both the field and the academy.
  • Dr. Brian Granger is a musical theater bookwriter, playwright, theatre scholar, songwriter, and actor/director, whose works are an ongoing exploration of how we treat one another across lines of race, gender, and class. His academic research interests include North American ethnic playwrights and Africana musicals on Broadway. He holds degrees from Kenyon College (B.A.), The Ohio State University (M.F.A.), and the University of California – Santa Barbara (PhD). He remains particularly proud of his second M.F.A. in musical theatre writing from NYU/Tisch School of the Arts, where he studied under some of the nation’s greatest living (and Tony Award-winning) musical creators. Some of his works for the stage include: Dierdre, an a cappella rock opera; Medicine Show (with composer Robert Nafarrete), a musical satire of American racial stereotypes that premiered at Dixon Place in New York City as part of their “Not For Broadway: Festival of New Musicals”; Baby Wolf (with composer Christian Imboden), an urban re-telling of the epic of Beowulf; and Rebel Moon, a story of two Puerto Rican American sisters navigating urban life (and urban men) that was staged as a part of UC Santa Barbara’s “New Plays Festival.” A scene from Rebel Moon is currently available in print in Duo: the Best Scenes for Two for the 21st Century (Applause Books, 2009).
SEPTEMBER 18 - Women Playing Othello

Join ASC actor Jessika Williams and Harlem Shakespeare Festival Founder Debra Ann Byrd as they swap stories of playing the titular role in Shakespeare’s Othello, discuss playing gender-swapped characters, explore Shakespeare’s text, and more.

  • Debra Ann Byrd is an award winning classically trained actress and producer who recently was named Writer-in-Residence at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Artist-in-Residence Fellow at the Folger Institute, a Community Scholar Arts Fellow at Columbia University, and Artist-in-Residence at Southwest Shakespeare, where she recently reprised the role Othello, winning her the 2019 Broadway World Phoenix Award for Best Lead Actress. Debra Ann Byrd is the founder and Producing Artistic Director of the Harlem Shakespeare Festival and an emerging playwright, who recently completed her new solo show BECOMING OTHELLO: A Black Girl’s Journey, which she performed at the University of Warwick and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
SEPTEMBER 11 - Then Must You Speak

Due to unforeseen circumstances, this week’s Then Must You Speak event is postponed to a later date. We’ll be back live at 5 PM next Friday, but, this week, in lieu of a live conversation, we encourage you to continue engaging on your own. Below, we offer you a few resources with which to do so. Please feel free to share resources, responses, or reflections in the comments.

SEPTEMBER 4 - Shakespeare's Sonnets in the 21st Century

Join ASC actor Brandon Carter and “Sonnet Man” Devon Glover for an exploration of their work with Shakespeare’s sonnets, their uses of modern innovation (hip-hop, social media, and more) in performance, and their perspectives on the educational potential of the sonnets.

AUGUST 28 - Shakespeare the System

An expert on both Shakespeare and decolonizing, Madeline Sayet joins us for a frank conversation about the ways in which Shakespeare and his work have been used as tools to support unjust and inequitable systems.

  • Madeline Sayet is a citizen of the Mohegan nation and the Executive Director of the Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program (YIPAP). For her work as a director, writer, and performer she has been honored as a Forbes 30 Under 30 in Hollywood & Entertainment, TED Fellow, MIT Media Lab Director’s Fellow, National Directing Fellow, Drama League Director-In-Residence, NCAIED Native American 40 Under 40, and a recipient of The White House Champion of Change Award from President Obama. She is known throughout the field for her work promoting indigenous voices and decolonizing systems. She premiered her solo performance piece Where We Belong(about her relationship with Shakespeare and Colonialism) at Shakespeare’s Globe, and it will have its US Premiere in DC as part of Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company’s coming season in partnership with The Folger Theatre. Recent directing work includes:, Midsummer Night’s Dream (South Dakota Shakespeare), Henry IV (Connecticut Repertory Theatre), Whale Song (Perseverance Theatre), She Kills Monsters (Connecticut Repertory Theatre), As You Like It (Delaware Shakespeare), The Winter’s Tale (Amerinda/HERE Arts), Poppea (Krannert Center, Illinois), The Magic Flute (Glimmerglass), Macbeth (NYC Parks), Miss Lead (59e59).  www.madelinesayet.com
AUGUST 21 - Learning from the past to move toward the future

Tiffany Stern, an expert on early modern theatre making, joins us for an exploration of how we might consider Shakespeare’s staging conditions with both an emphasis on what we can learn from early modern research and performance and an understanding that society has come a long way in the last 400 years and still has a ways to go. [This talk will be pre-recorded.]

  • Tiffany Stern is Professor of Shakespeare and Early Modern Drama at The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham; she has previously held professorships at Royal Holloway, University of London; and Oxford (University College). Her work combines literary criticism, theatre history and book history from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. She specialises in the works of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, particularly Jonson, Brome, Middleton and Nashe, and also writes on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century playwrights and editors, including Wycherley, Farquhar, Sheridan, Theobald and Johnson. The theatrical contexts that bring plays about – by Shakespeare and others – is her particular focus. Having researched the theatrical documents put together by authors and others in the process of writing and learning a play, she is repeatedly drawn back to actors’ parts, the documents consisting of cues and speeches from which actors learned their roles. She also writes on prologues, epilogues, songs, letters, arguments, plots and other stage documents; acting methods; theatre props, music, marketing and architecture. General editor of New Mermaids, and the flagship Shakespeare series Arden Shakespeare 4, she is also on the editorial boards of the journals SEDERI, Shakespeare Bulletin, and The Hare. Her scholarship is widely used by theatre companies interested in historically inflected performances.
AUGUST 14 - A Conversation with Director Desdemona Chiang

Director Desdemona Chiang (ASC’s 2018-19 Comedy of Errors) joins us for a discussion that will explore her experiences in and approaches to engaging with Shakespeare’s texts, directing diverse ensembles of actors, and more.

  • Desdemona Chiang is a stage director based in Seattle, WA and Ashland, OR. Co-Founder of Azeotrope (Seattle). Click above to read her full bio!
AUGUST 7 - Race and Disability in Shakespeare's Othello

Building off his article “Rub Him About The Temples: Othello, Disability, and the Failures of Care” (Early Theatre 22.2), scholar Justin P. Shaw joins us for a conversation about race and disability in Othello, networks of care, early modern medical practice, the symbolic and material web of the handkerchief, and more.

  • Justin P. Shaw, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of English at Clark University in Massachusetts . His research focuses on the intersections of race, emotions, and medicine in early modern literature around which he is currently developing a book manuscript. His article on disability and race appears in the journal Early Theatre, while others are forthcoming, including in the volume White People in Shakespeare. He has helped to curate exhibits for the Michael C. Carlos Museum such as, Desire & Consumption: The New World in the Age of Shakespeare and has developed the digital humanities project, Shakespeare and the Players.
JULY 31 - Artistic Directors of Color on Shakespeare, Race, and Running a Classical Theatre

A wide-ranging conversation with three leaders of the field on challenging the canon, racism in Shakespeare’s texts, collaborating in a predominantly white field, and much more.

JULY 24 - Twelfth Night Today

Join ASC Founder Ralph Alan Cohen and Literary Manager Anne G. Morgan for an exploration of the themes of Twelfth Night and their contemporary resonances.

Our fast-paced take on “Twelfth Night” begins performances out-of-doors on July 25! Get tickets now >>

JULY 17 - Actresses of Color and ASC's Twelfth Night
On July 3rd, a panel of ASC actors and alums of color discussed playing canonically white characters, approaching production concepts, and collaborating within predominantly white institutions. (Watch it here.) This week’s panel will continue that conversation with a particular focus on our upcoming production of Twelfth Night featuring a panel of women of color from our acting company.
JULY 10 - False Memories of Timeless Whiteness

Dr. Matthieu Chapman, an educator, scholar, theorist, director, and dramaturg joins us for a conversation about “how our current understandings of the world influence how we remember and misremember white history and whiteness in history.”

  • Matthieu Chapman is a professor of Theatre Studies at the State University of New York at New Paltz. He is the author of “Antiblack Racism in Early Modern English Drama: The Other “Other” (Routledge Press: Hardcover 2017, Paperback 2019) as well as numerous academic articles that have appeared in Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England, Theatre Topics, TheatreForum, Theatre History Studies, and Early Theatre. He is a teacher, scholar, theorist, director, dramaturg, and playwright, whose plays have received readings at The Landing Theatre in Houston, The Mid-American Theatre Conference, and numerous colleges across America. His upcoming book, Shattered: The Lived Experience of Black Social Death, interweaves his own narrative with complex theories of black social death to articulate the whys, hows, and whats of black dispossession and inhumanity in modern America.
JULY 3 - Collaboration, Concepts, and Canonically White Characters

Featuring ASC company members and alums, this conversation will explore actors of color’s craft in playing canonically white characters, approaching production concepts, and collaborating within predominantly white institutions.

JUNE 26 - Dr. Ralph Alan Cohen

In the midst of a national awakening about systemic racism in our culture, Dr. Ralph looks at the good, the bad, and the ugly in the depiction of race and otherness in the works of Shakespeare.




From week to week, we’ll collect and share recommended resources from our guest speakers, our commenting viewers, and the ASC community.

Other Resources