On Friday March 18, 2016, the Early Drama and Performance Network hosted its first symposium at the University of Kent and was organized by Tamara Haddad and Francisca Stangel. This interdisciplinary symposium sought to equip postgraduate students and early career researchers who work in the field of early drama with the professional skills necessary to succeed as researchers and teachers in academia and within the wider employment context. The symposium called on scholars and individuals who have successfully researched, produced, and taught early drama to share their knowledge with the delegates. The session on practice-as-research was led by Elisabeth Dutton (Fribourg and Early Drama at Oxford (EDOX)) and Meg Twycross (Lancaster), both of whom have led successful practice-led early drama projects and productions and have published in the field. James McBain (Fribourg) and Catherine Richardson (Kent) both have extensive experience with successful funding applications and grant-funding bodies and led a session on how to produce a successful grant application, and discussed research outputs and public engagement. Pedagogical approaches to early drama was addressed by Martin Gibbons, an experienced actor and educator with the Pantaloons theatre company, and John McGavin (Southampton), an experienced scholar of early drama. The delegates explored archival material from the Canterbury Cathedral Archives where they engaged with early dramatic records in a session led by James Gibson and Mark Chambers (Durham) who are both involved with the from the AHRC-funded Records of Early English Drama project. The final session of the day was an open space breakout session where the speakers and delegates discussed the future of the network and the important skills that early drama researchers and practitioners need to build on in order to advance the field and produce world-leading research.
Following the workshops, the participants were invited to a wine reception and dinner with delegates from the Medieval English Theatre Society which provided an opportunity for further networking between postgraduates and early career researchers with established scholars. The dinner was followed by a performance of Marge & Jules by Mairin O’Hagan and Sarah Anson in a beautiful historic building.
The organisers would like to thank the Humanities Research Fund, the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, and the School of English at the University of Kent for funding this event. We would also like to thank the Canterbury Cathedral archives for hosting our archival session and the Marlowe Lab for allowing us to use their space for the Teaching Early Drama session. Finally we would like to thank all of the excellent speakers who came and made this day possible, and to all of our participants for joining us!
If you would like to see pictures and tweets from the day you can look at them on Storify.
Questions should be directed to Tamara Haddad (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Francisca Stangel (email@example.com).