Seminar: Tudor Performance – Contexts, Traditions, Afterlives
Shakespeare Association of America, 17–20 April 2019, Washington D.C.

Performance-oriented criticism is not yet a routine part of Tudor studies. How might such work transform the field? When the Shakespeare Association of America opens up enrolment for conference seminars in June, members of the Early English Drama and Performance Network are invited to consider signing up for the seminar, “Tudor Performance – Contexts, Traditions, Afterlives.”

This seminar will explore a wide range of performance-oriented approaches to Tudor drama—that is, Tudor plays from before the rise of the commercial theatres. Topics include original techniques and contexts of production, traditions of Tudor playing, and post-Renaissance afterlives in performance, for instance in readings, stagings, adaptations, and teaching.

Although performance-oriented scholarship has had an important influence on the research and teaching of Shakespeare, such work is not yet a routine part of studies of Tudor drama. Research on Tudor drama tends to be historicist, in the sense that it explores the plays as textual documents in relation to specific cultural shifts and discourses.

In recent years, performance-oriented work has begun to make its way into sixteenth-century studies, with projects like “Before Shakespeare” on the early years of the public theatre, and Read Not Dead, which includes readings of early commercial plays. Yet little attention has been paid to how performance-oriented research might affect the study and teaching of Tudor plays—those sixteenth century plays composed prior to the emergence of the public theatre. This seminar seeks to encourage range of performance-oriented approaches to Tudor drama, whether concerning original (or early) techniques and conditions of production, traditions of influence and performance, modern productions, adaptations, or classroom applications.

Topics Might Include:
* First or early stagings of Tudor Drama
* Tudor performance spaces – Great Houses, Schools, Innyards, Halls, Court
* Traditions of Tudor staging in the early modern period and later
* Adaptions of Tudor characters, plots, or techniques later plays and media – early modern and contemporary (e.g. Sarah Ruhl’s Passion Play or Carol Ann Duffy’s Everyman)
* Tudor drama in post-Renaissance performance
* Stagings (including staged readings) of Tudor drama in the past and present
* Performing Tudor drama outside of England and America
* Theories and methods for researching Tudor performance histories
* Theories and methods for approaching staged readings
* Performing archaism and performing relevance
* Imagining performance possibilities the absence of a performance record

Information on eligibility, enrolment procedures, and deadlines for SAA seminars are available in the June 2018 Bulletin of the Shakespeare Association of America.

Questions about the seminar should be directed to Jessica Winston,


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