With summer turning to autumn, it’s time to think about the many enjoyable ways to fill the longer evenings. Shakespeare-lovers can now look forward to the new season of meetings of the Stratford-upon-Avon Shakespeare Club. The Club is the oldest Shakespeare organisation still in existence and at the monthly gatherings members can hear distinguished speakers talking on a variety of Shakespeare-related subjects. Meetings are held at the Shakespeare Institute in Church Street, Stratford, on the second Tuesday of the month from October to May. Visitors are always welcome and parking is available at the rear of the building. If you would like to find out more about the Club, its history, the upcoming season and how to join all the information is on the website.
This year the Club’s President is to be the popular TV historian Michael Wood, who has produced many fascinating series including In Search of Shakespeare and a single documentary on Mary Arden, Shakespeare’s mother. He’s long had connections with Stratford-upon-Avon.
For his presidential evening on 14 November he will be talking on ““Shakespeare’s Memory”, examining the primary influences on him as a young man, the ones that came from family and community. He will look at Shakespeare’s local roots in Warwickshire, and especially at his parents’ generation in a time of great social, economic and religious change. Wood’s research is always thorough and he’s an enthusiastic, engaging speaker so this is likely to be a real highlight.
A full list and description of all the upcoming lectures is on the website. As usual, several of our lectures are on unusual aspects of Shakespeare study. In October, Professor Gary Watt will examine how Shakespeare uses sound effects to move us in the same way as music does. In December Jerry Brotton will examine the extensive contacts between Elizabethan England and the Islamic world, with Muslims being viewed as either exotic or barbarous. He will examine the ways in which this ambivalence is also seen in Shakespeare’s plays. Other talks will include a light-hearted look at acting Shakespeare and, appropriately for the May meeting when spring will have sprung, a description of Shakespeare’s gardens and plans for their future.
To get a flavour of the Club’s activities go to the website where you will find a gallery of photographs including some recent events, and the minutes of the last few years’ meetings which summarise the lectures. The recently-published history of the Club, The Story of the Shakespeare Club of Stratford-upon-Avon, 1824-2016, details of which are also on the website, will also be available for purchase at each meeting. All are welcome.