The week of Shakespeare’s Birthday is a good time for a launch, and the Shakespearean London Theatres project ShaLT is doing just that. The project aims, to quote the website, to ” increase public awareness of these sites and to promote their enjoyment by producing, through a partnership between De Montfort University and the Victoria and Albert Museum, a map, a printed ShaLT Guide, interactive software, public talks, and downloadable short films that will enable the public to travel to the modern London locations of these theatres and learn about them. ”
Everyone knows about Shakespeare’s Globe, though not all are aware that it does not stand on the original site, but this project aims to bring to people’s attention the rich history of professional theatre in the capital which began in 1567 with the building of the Red Lion Theatre in Stepney up to the closure of the theatres in 1642. There are in all over twenty different locations for theatres in this period. You can already download a walking map from the website and there will in due course be a smartphone app to guide you.
The official launch of ShaLT is to take place, appropriately, on 23 April, with an introductory lecture by Professor Andrew Gurr on “Why was the Globe round?” Following this, there will be a series of lectures taking place on Sunday afternoons at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London covering a range of subjects as given below. Follow the link for more information.
Sunday 28 April
The People’s Tragic Hero: Hieronimo and the Enduring Popularity of The Spanish Tragedy in the Early London Theatre
Professor Peter Womack (University of East Anglia)
Sunday 5 May
Ben Jonson, Bankside and the Blackfriars: A Biography of London Theatre Districts in the Seventeenth Century
Professor Julie Sanders (University of Nottingham)
Sunday 19 May
‘Stuck Up and Down About the City’: Playbills in Shakespeare’s London
Professor Tiffany Stern (Oxford University)
Sunday 2 June
Virtual Reality and London’s Early Stages: Interacting with The Rose and Boar’s Head Theatres in 3-D
Professor Joanne Tompkins (Queensland University)
Sunday 16 June
RichCity, PoorCity: The Royal Exchange and Debtors’ Prison on the Early Modern Stage
Professor Jean E. Howard (Columbia University)
Sunday 30 June
Fashioning the Face: Cosmetics, Glitter and Glamour at the Blackfriars Theatre
Dr Farah Karim-Cooper (Shakespeare’s Globe)
Sunday 14 July
‘When torchlight made an artificial noon’: Light and Darkness in the Early Modern Indoor Playhouse, Then and Now
Professor Martin White (Bristol University)
Sunday 28 July
The New Blackfriars: What an Early Modern Playhouse Teaches Contemporary Theatre
Professor Ralph Alan Cohen (Mary Baldwin College & the American Shakespeare Centre)
Sunday 11 August
1+1=3: Why Shakespeare Collaborated with Other Playwrights
Professor Gary Taylor (Florida State University)
Sunday 25 August
Exeunt Players: Why did the Playhouses Close?
Professor Martin Butler (Leeds University)
Any hope, I wonder, that the lectures might be made available to those of us who don’t live in the capital so can’t get to more than one or two?
Also just launched is the Shakespeare Week project, coordinated by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust with a host of partners. The first of these weeks, in March 2014, aims to help introduce schoolchildren to Shakespeare. It’s an exciting project that it’s hoped will grow, and a fitting celebration for the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth. There’s lots of information on the website.