Wake Forest to host two-day Shakespeare symposium

Shakespeare in Education: History, Literature and PerformanceFor Shakespeare enthusiasts and educators who want to learn how to bring Shakespeare to life for their students, Wake Forest University will host “Shakespeare in Education: History, Literature and Performance,” a symposium on teaching and performing Shakespeare’s plays.

Two representatives from the Shakespeare Globe Theatre in London, Andrew Gurr, the Globe’s director of research, and Patrick Spottiswoode, the Globe’s education director, will be featured speakers at the two-day symposium Aug. 18 and 19.

The centerpiece of the symposium will be a production of “Hamlet” by the Wake Forest University Theater. Symposium sessions will focus on Shakespeare in film, directing Shakespeare and teaching Shakespeare.

The symposium and the production pay tribute to Ronald Watkins, a British Shakespearean scholar who donated his collection of Shakespearean writings to Wake Forest’s Z. Smith Reynolds Library in the fall of 1999. Watkins was a prime inspiration behind Sam Wanamaker’s creation of the present Shakespeare Globe Theatre in London and is an advocate for historically accurate performances of Shakespeare’s plays. He believes that Shakespeare’s plays should be performed in the type of playhouse for which they were written.

Wake Forest’s production of “Hamlet,” will be performed in the Ring Theatre Aug. 17-Sept. 2. The theater has been redesigned and for this performance will feature an Elizabethan/Shakespearean stage. The cast includes Wake Forest students, alumni and community members including current students Cary Donaldson as Horatio and Erin Wade as Ophelia; alumni Michael Huie as Hamlet, Jane Bess Wooten as Gertrude and Mark Palmieri as Laertes; and well known community actors Doc Clay as Polonius and Jim McKeny as Claudius. James Dodding, professor emeritus of theater, will co-direct the play with Sharon Andrews, assistant professor of theater. Dodding is a long-time friend and student of Watkins.

The opening session of the symposium will address the translation of Shakespeare’s texts to film. “Is it Really Shakespeare?” will begin at 9 a.m. Aug. 19. Kathy Howlett, program co-director of cinema studies at Northeastern University, will lead the discussion. David Lubin, Charlotte C. Weber Professor of Art at Wake Forest, and Dale Pollock, dean of the School of Filmmaking at the North Carolina School of the Arts, will also participate.

Patrick Spottiswoode will lead a panel discussion on the teaching of Shakespeare using both literary and performance techniques at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 19. Other panelists include: Olga Valbuena, assistant professor of English at Wake Forest; Russ McDonald, professor of literature, University of North Carolina at Greensboro; Frank Hildy, professor of theatre at the University of Maryland; and Jonathan Croy, performance teacher and director with Shakespeare & Company, Lennox, Mass.

The 3 p.m. symposium session on “Shakespeare in the Schools” will be led by teachers from the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools who have recently participated in an educational exchange program with the Globe Theater in London.

Andrew Gurr will deliver the keynote address at 4 p.m. Aug. 18. All symposium events will be held in Scales Fine Arts Center, Room 102.

The symposium and production of “Hamlet” coincide with the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival opening of its 2000 season with “The Taming of the Shrew,” directed by the festival’s artistic director, Louis Rackoff. The event also ties in with the Shakespeare Festival’s production of “Hamlet,” directed by Imre Goldstein, associate professor of theater, Tel Aviv University.

During the Wake Forest symposium, Rackoff and Goldstein will participate in a panel discussion on “Directing Shakespeare: Cause vs. Effect” at 10:45 a.m. Aug. 19. Dodding and Richard Garner, co-founder and producing artistic director of the Georgia Shakespeare Festival, will also be on the panel.

In the evening, participants will travel to High Point to see the Shakespeare Festival’s production, “The Taming of the Shrew.”

The symposium is open to the public. Registration is $75. Area teachers who attend will receive a discount and certification renewal credit. The registration fee includes tickets for the two plays.

For more information about the symposium or “Hamlet,” contact the Wake Forest University Theater at 336-758-5294 or email Wake Forest Director of Theater John E. R. Friedenberg at jerf@nullwfu.edu.

Categories: Arts & Culture, Events