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PASCALE AEBISCHER: Viral Shakespeare

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Pascale Aebischer: Viral Shakespeare: binge-watching Hamlet in lockdown

The closure of theatres in March 2020 across the globe has led to a viral spread of Shakespeare, as, in step with the viral spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, theatres and performers across Western Europe and North America have moved their activities, archival recordings and current productions online. This has led to an unprecedented proliferation of digitally produced and disseminated Shakespeares. The time-limited nature of the streams has restructured the slowness of the lived experience of lockdown during the global pandemic into a hectic, pressured viewing schedule.

This talk will consider what we are learning from the current collisions between the various Hamlet productions that were streamed in March and April 2020, bringing performance cultures from the USA, the UK and Germany into asynchronous contact as they reflect on the nature of theatricality, media, culture, communication and confinement.

Pascale Aebischer is Professor of Shakespeare and Early Modern Performance Studies at the University of Exeter.  She has a long-standing interest in the use of digital forms of performance and dissemination of early modern drama, which is a key concern in her three most recent books:  Shakespeare, Spectatorship, and the Technologies of Performance (CUP, April 2020), the co-edited collection Shakespeare and the “Live” Theatre Broadcast Experience (Bloomsbury, 2018), and Screening Early Modern Drama: Beyond Shakespeare (CUP, 2013).  She has also published more broadly on the performance of Shakespeare and early modern drama today and served as General Editor of the quarterly journal Shakespeare Bulletin between 2012 and 2017.  She is an alumna of the Universities of Bern (Switzerland) and Oxford (UK) and has worked for the Universities of Cambridge, Leicester and Exeter.

This talk is open to all, but anyone wishing to attend must register in advance.

Registrants will be sent links to a recording of Professor Aebischer’s presentation to watch before the event and to the event itself, which will take place on Zoom. The event will be hosted by Tom Cornford and will take the form of a discussion of Professor Aebischer’s presentation, to which attendees are invited to contribute either by emailing questions in advance to tom.cornford@cssd.ac.uk or by asking questions using the chat function in Zoom.


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Event dates

20 May 2020 -

8:00pm to 9:00pm

Register here for the free event