Share This Event

Event Details

Mon, June 21, 2021 to Wed, June 23, 2021

3:30 PM CET / 9:30 AM EST – 10:30 PM CET / 4:30 PM EST

(Attendance is by invitation only)

Theater Technologies Crossing Borders, Past to Present

This three-day online conference explores comparative and transnational aspects of early modern drama of all kinds, as well as its links to ancient and contemporary theater, with a focus on Theater Technologies.  Our understanding of the salient term is a broad and flexible one: in this context, “technologies” denotes not only the physical, mechanical, electronic and/or digital practices involved in theater production, but also verbal and pre-electronic techniques of all elements of staging, from script-writing and set design, through props, prosthetics, and costumes-making/re-usage.

Moreover, the term “technologies,” especially with respect to transnational and mobile phenomena, can be applied to the transmission and translation of monologues, dialogues, gestures, dance steps, musical scores, kinetic routines, “lazzi,” and the like. The panels, papers, and roundtables thus consider such matters as verbal utterance, drama-texts, the physical contexts of vocal expression, and also pursue some comparative textual analysis and interpretation. Rehearsals and performances, across borders and multiple traditions, involve technologies of the word as well as of gestures, props, costumes, sets, music, and stage machinery, and our conference interrogates its own premise from literary as well as material perspectives. For example, there will be appraisals and discussions of the technologies of publishing scripts and recording performances, in hard-copy print (since the 15th century) as well as in electronic and digital media.  In this vein, the conference examines the very concept of “Technology,” especially in the context of theater: what are the epistemological stakes and artistic inflections of the concept?  What are its social, political, and ideological ramifications, in connection with both ideas and practices?

We pose several fundamental questions: how might theater technologies of the past, of the handmade and unplugged kind, bear fruitful comparison with ones of the present and even the future?  And how might such crossing of temporal borders be usefully connected to the analysis and discussion of crossings of spatial borders, especially (but not exclusively) in early modern Europe?  What present and future possibilities exist for the use of digital, “remote” technologies, in an art form whose ontological status has hitherto depended on the live, shared-space interaction among actors and audiences?   What exactly are the aesthetic, cultural and political dynamics of translating diverse theater technologies across space and/or time?



MONDAY, June 21 (time CET/EST)

3:30 PM / 9:30 AM:  Welcome, and Opening Remarks, by Conference Organizers Silvia Bigliazzi, Eric Nicholson, and David Schalkwyk

4:00 PM /10:00 AM:  Keynote lecture, by Stephen Orgel, Stanford University Emeritus: The Invention of Shakespeare

ABSTRACT:  This is about the transformation of popular theater into high literature; and the technology involved is a combination of editing, printing and marketing. I have called it “the invention of Shakespeare” because it is also about the creation of an author suited to the increasing centrality and canonicity of the works. Shakespeare in his own time was known and admired not as a literary monument, but as a popular playwright; and to the reading public, he was best known not as a playwright at all, but as the author of the two long narrative poems published near the beginning of his career, Venus and Adonis and Lucrece —both of these went on being reprinted until long after his death. A few of the plays—not many—were published in multiple quarto editions, and would therefore also have been known to a substantial number of readers. But even these, though they became books, exhibit characteristics of popular drama, as do many of the previously unpublished plays that were eventually gathered into the monumental folio of 1623. To transform the plays into books we clarify, correct and modernize, to produce a clear, readable, unproblematic text, which is very unlike the texts that came from Shakespeare’s pen and confronted Shakespeare’s original readers. What happens when a play becomes a book?

4:45 PM /10:45 AM: Silvia Bigliazzi, Università degli Studi di Verona: The Early Modern Chorus: From stage to page and back

ABSTRACT:  The early Renaissance encounter with the classical chorus was through books. They recorded the words but omitted the rest. No stage directions could help readers understand what the chorus actually was like or how it was meant to be performed. Eyewitness documents of a few performances in Italy suggest lavish music, choral singing and grand spectacle. No analogous English document testifies to similar stagings; and interestingly the word “chorus” was used in English drama when formal choruses were no longer in fashion. To what extent did the chorus in book form contribute to its gradual transformation in English drama from a collective character into a solo speaker typical of late Elizabethan plays? What does moving the chorus from stage to page and back entail?

5:10 PM /11:10 AM: Discussion



Chair:  Lisa Sampson, University College London

Deanne Williams, York University, Toronto, CanadaLady Jane Lumley’s Iphigeneya: Print to Manuscript

ABSTRACT: Lady Jane Lumley’s Iphigeneya is the first translation of Greek tragedy into English as well as the first female-authored dramatic work that we know of in the English language. Most likely composed when she was a teenager, as part of a spate of translations the Lumley children made for their father, Henry Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel, in the early 1550s, Lumley’s manuscript was dismissed as “childish” by an earlier generation of scholars, but it has recently received more favorable attention from feminist scholars, some of whom have made impassioned claims for its performance history. This paper examines the cuts and alterations that Lumley makes to the Euripidean original, which she accessed via Erasmus’s Latin translation of the play, printed in 1507 by Aldus Manutius (and repeatedly thereafter). It argues that Lumley’s English play can be better understood as an adaptation, one inspired by, among other things, the Catholic history and culture of her girlhood.

David Amelang, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid: “Published according to the True Originall Copies”:  Printing Theater in Early Modern England and Spain

ABSTRACT:  This paper probes the contributions of print technology and the literary marketplace to the theatrical cultures of Shakespearean England and Golden Age Spain. Printed playbooks in both countries emerged as performance scripts, the “recorded forms” of a theatrical event, to use D.F. McKenzie’s terminology. However, whereas Spain’s comedias rarely showed any signs of substantial adaptation when transferred from stage to page, English playmakers often took advantage of the possibilities presented by the printed medium to offer their readers a product different from what they would have seen performed in public. By juxtaposing the two dramatic traditions’ relationships with the printing press, this paper explores the position and perception of theatre in their respective cultures, as well as in the broader scope of the Renaissance European literary landscape.

Martine Van Elk, California State University, Long Beach: Paratextual and Print Technologies: Female Playwrights in France, England, and the Dutch Republic

ABSTRACT:  In this paper, I approach paratexts as technologies of representation and focus particularly on how female playwrights are represented paratextually, on title pages, in dedicatory poetry, and in author portraits. What do these print representations reveal about the range of models available to female playwrights in the late seventeenth century? Exploring plays by Katherine Philips, Marie-Catherine Desjardins, and Katharina Lescailje, I will consider title pages, elements of print design, format, dedications, and other material and textual aspects of the book, connecting these elements with the representations of women in the plays themselves.



Chair: Eric Nicholson, New York University Florence

Emily Glider, Yale University: “Lately Played by the Prince Palatine, His Servants” – Frederick V as Patron of English Drama 

ABSTRACT:  The marriage of Elizabeth Stuart to Frederick V of the Palatinate sealed not only a contract between the Elector Palatine and the English royal house, but between the Elector Palatine and an English playing company. The troupe once known as the Admiral’s Men became the first London professional players to receive the patronage of a foreign ruler when the company was adopted by Frederick V in 1613. This paper examines the politics of Frederick V’s theatrical patronage in the early moments of the Thirty Years’ War, culminating in a reading of the play The Duchess of Suffolk, a political allegory depicting the Palatine crisis performed by the Elector Palatine’s own playing company. I am interested in the way that the Palgrave’s Men worked to actively shape public discourse around the Bohemian revolt, serving as a significant yet underrecognized participant in an emerging culture of topical controversy around contemporary international events.

Nigel Smith, Princeton University: Politics and Adaptation in City and Traveling Theater, c. 1610-80

ABSTRACT:  I’m interested in this paper in a very literal piece of transnational theater history. What did audiences in any part of early modern Europe make of plays performed by foreign traveling players, either in the original language or in translation? What happened when a traveling play appears to have ‘rubbed off’ and become part of a local, city repertoire? Some evidence of repertoires shows an international mix of plays offered by single companies, perhaps performed by actors made up of different nationalities. What do we make of response to a tragedy list with Italian, Spanish, English, French and Dutch plays, where the genre includes tragedy, news drama and the play as polemical pamphlet? In this rich mixture, what qualities of kingship, sovereignty, tyranny and martyrdom are being mediated, and to what kinds of audience? If a 1657 Lohenstein play performed in Silesia could cite Milton’s discussion of popular rebellion in defense of resistance to Habsburg interference, veneration for monarchical authority, even absolutism, cannot be taken for granted.

Friedemann Kreuder, Johannes Gutenberg Universität, Mainz: Staging Differences: Mise en scène and interference of human categorization in contemporary German-speaking experimental theatre

ABSTRACT: This paper focuses on human categorisation in contemporary post-dramatic forms of theatre in the German speaking countries (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) that play with the theatrical situation through self-reflection and social experimentation. In the examined theatre projects and performances, field specific categorisations of roles (e.g. spectator vs character/performer/role) are brought into play with ubiquitous human categorisation (e.g. ethnic, religious, national) and thus reflected upon. The article focuses on the interplay of decidedly staged interventions with concurrent pre-existing everyday practices of differentiation.
Recently, since the refugee crisis in 2015 and 2016 and the subsequent demographic change, numerous theatre plays have been produced (by performance artists like Gintersdorfer/Klaßen, Warner & Zahn, Dries Verhoeven, machina eX) with the aim of raising awareness of marginalised groups and with the promise of an enlightened change of perspective. These works investigate structures of power and accompanying processes of authorisation and/or marginalisation by inviting the spectators to experience themselves in the role of stigmatised victims (people of colour, Muslims, Sinti, delinquent youth) or stigmatising perpetrators. In this process, formations of human categorisation are revealed as originally contingent, in order to make them cognitively ascertainable and therefore possibly amenable to influence by the audience. For example, an immersive and playful project was hosted by the Swiss artistic duo Thom Truong at the Impulse Theater Festival 2018 with their work Enjoy Racism, where racism was staged as as a hands-on experience. Against the example of the anti- discriminatory work by US American teacher Jane Elliott in the 1970s, known as the “blue eyes – brown eyes exercise,” Thom Truong led the participants of the evening towards the painful realisation that they – privileged and unmarked white people in real life – could not be stigmatised even within the world of theatre play.
The paper analyses practices of human categorisation in contemporary experimental theatre projects as theatrical “spaces of consolidation” (Wehrle). These may then be transferred onto similar social conditions, – such as the Black Lives Matter movement or the production of “bubbles” in the realm of identity politics.


TUESDAY, June 22 (time CET/EST)

3:30 PM / 9:30 AM: ROUNDTABLE on Crossdressing: Theatergrams/technologies of desire and freedom:  trans-lation, trans-national, trans desire.

Organizer: Susanne Wofford, New York University

Chair: Melissa Walter, University of the Fraser Valley

Susanne Wofford: Ana Caro, ”Valor, agravio y mujer” (“The courage to right a woman’s wrongs”) and “Twelfth Night”

Jane Tylus, Yale University: “La Calandra”: Cross-dressing in dangerous times (and not)

Lucia Cardelli, New York University: Theorizing the Hymenal Resolution Through Mistaken Identity in “Gl’Ingannati”

Karen Newman, Brown University: Playing Women, Playing Men: Crossdressing in Sixteenth-Century France and New York in the ‘80s

Barbara Fuchs, University of California, Los Angeles: Ana Caro, translation and production



Chair: Natasha Korda, Wesleyan University

Roberta Barker, Dalhousie University: Feminine Maladies: Sickness and the Theatrical Technologies of Gender, circa 1600

ABSTRACT:  In the years around 1597-1602, William Shakespeare repeatedly referenced the figure of the ailing woman in his plays. Beatrice has a stuffed nose, Portia suffers from a “weak condition,” Rosalind faints upon hearing of Orlando’s danger, and Viola / Cesario waxes poetic about the lovesickness of their melancholic sisterly alter-ego. In drawing these figures, Shakespeare tapped into a transnational set of tropes that constructs stage femininity by linking it to disease, bodily weakness, and melancholy humours. Similar tropes can be found in the commedia dell’arte and on the Spanish golden age stage, and survive into the Netherlandish genre painting of the later seventeenth century.

In this paper, I compare these theatrical and artistic appearances of the ailing woman with a sequence of entries in the London astrologer Simon Forman’s casebooks that record diagnoses he offered to three people associated with the Lord Chamberlain’s Men: Nicholas Tooley (1599), Elizabeth Burbage (1601), and Winifred Burbage (1601). Comparing these cases to other famous entries in Forman’s casebook, such as that of “Polonia, the blackmor maid” (1597), I consider the ways in which the humorous afflictions connected with femininity worked across nation and race, and whether we might even see them as affecting traditionally male identified subjects such as the young actor Tooley. Tooley may still have been playing female roles onstage at the time he visited Forman and was diagnosed with anxiety, congestion, faintness, and an overflux of “melancholy and cold flem.” By linking Tooley’s ailments, and those of Forman’s other patients, back to the figures of Shakespeare’s sick women, I ask how the symptoms of sickness served as a theatrical technology for the construction of gender, nation, and race around the turn of the seventeenth century—and how they impacted in the process the bodies of the actors who performed them.

Tanya Pollard, Brooklyn College and The Graduate Center, CUNY: Imagining technologies to bring back the dead: strange medicines in plague-time plays

ABSTRACT:  From around 1607 to 1611, the King’s Men repeatedly staged imaginary medical technologies that could avert and even reverse death. In Pericles (1607-8), Cerimon brings Thaisa back to life; in Cymbeline (c.1610), Cornelius thwarts the Queen’s murderous plans by concocting a potion that mimics death; and in The Alchemist (1610) Mammon dreams of concocting an elixir that will “fright the plague/ Out o’the kingdom in three months.” In The Winter’s Tale (1611), Paulina claims to use “wicked powers” to animate Hermione’s statue, and in The Tempest (1611), Prospero casts spells to stage and undo apparent deaths. These medical interventions are explicitly identified with ambivalent foreign places and figures, evoking controversial new imported drugs such as tobacco and opium. Yet they also take on local, domestic, and poignant overtones when juxtaposed with the irreversible plague deaths taking place not only within London, but specifically within the King’s Men. During these same years, the company’s members saw a surge of deaths of parents, spouses, and especially children. In particular, Richard Burbage – the probable lead actor in all of these plays – lost all but one of his children, beginning in 1604. This paper will explore these plays’ anxieties about succession, and their repeated engagement with foreign technologies for bringing back dead family members, as imaginative responses to the crises of London’s plague-time mortality.

Lucy Munro, King’s College, London: Scald Heads and Tobacco: Gender, Colonisation and the Body on the Blackfriars Stage in the 1630s  

ABSTRACT: The second act of Jasper Mayne’s The City Match, performed at court and at the Blackfriars playhouse in 1637-8, stages a confrontation between the wealthy heiress Aurelia and her ‘puritan’ waiting gentlewoman, Dorcas. Their dialogue, and that of Baneswright, who originally preferred Dorcas to Aurelia, circles around a series of images that bring together religion, gender, female performance, global trade, colonisation and health. Dorcas ‘will make / The Acts and Monuments in sweet-meats’, she embroiders her mistress’s clothes with such holy designs that Aurelia fears ‘in time / All my apparell will be quoted by / Some pure instructor’, and she converts a parrot to godliness so that it ‘can speak nought but Knoxes workes’. Claiming that Dorcas is better suited to ‘New England’ than to Aurelia’s service, Baneswright offers to return her to the service of her schoolmistress, ‘that holy learned woman / That can heale broken shinnes, scald heads, and th’Itch … that can expound, and teaches / To knit in Chaldee, and work Hebrew samplers’. Aurelia, in response, cries ‘The frantick Ladies judgements, and Histriomastix / Deliver me[!]’.

My paper will use this network of images as a framework for thinking about the conjunction between bodily technologies, heath, performance and profit in the 1630s, focusing on two women with close connections to the theatre industry. The first is Frances Worth, wife of the actor Ellis Worth and widow of another actor, Thomas Holcombe, who was employed at St Bartholomew’s Hospital as Curer of Scald Heads between the 1620s and 1650s. The second is Judith Merefield, daughter of the actor John Heminges and wife of Ralph Merefield, colonist with Thomas Warner of St. Kitts and Nevis, who inherited from her husband an interest in the trade in tobacco, a drug linked with health, corruption and bodily transformation that was sold and consumed in playhouses. Looking at the careers of these two women offers a fresh perspective on the conjunctions between gender, the body and colonial trade in plays such as The City Match and a better known Blackfriars play of the 1630s, Massinger’s The City Madam.

Clare McManus, University of Roehampton, London: Rope, paint and canvas: the theatrical technologies of femininity in Davenant’s 1650s entertainments

ABSTRACT: Davenant’s Protectorate entertainments, The Cruelty of the Spaniards in Peru (1658) and The History of Sir Francis Drake (1659), are fascinating performance texts. They are colonial fantasies of English dominance in the Americas, in which the English – in the face of reality – perform their illusory triumph over both indigenous peoples and Spanish colonists. They are a site for the collision of the elite transnational European performance form of the masque with the popular and subaltern transnational performance forms of rope-dancing and ape-performance, forms which reach far beyond the boundaries of Europe for their conventions and personnel. And they are revealing sites for the production of race and gender. In Race and Torture on the Early Modern Stage, Ayanna Thompson explores Davenant’s material production of race through costume and props which, in turn, racialises the material technologies of theatre. I will bring this to bear on the representation of the Spanish bride of Francis Drake, to examine the material and technological production of femininity under the pressure of transnational exchange and colonial competition.

Davenant’s Spanish bride is an ambiguous figure, perhaps player, perhaps painted character. She is revealed in ‘the discovery of a beautiful lady tied to a tree, adorned with the ornaments of a bride, with her hair dishevelled, and complaining with her hands towards heaven’ (Fifth Entry, 87-89); this spectacular vision flickers into view in the farthest recess of the stage and then swiftly vanishes. With this moment as my focus, I will explore the entertainments’ nexus of transnational performance exchange, colonial competition and the material, embodied representation of indigenous peoples to consider its effects on Davenant’s theatrical technologies of femininity. I will bring Thompson’s identification of Davenant’s material and racialised ‘crisis of representation’ (p. 83) to bear on Jean Howard’s formula for Elizabethan and Jacobean English stage femininity as ‘called into being by white paint, fabric, and pre-penned words’ (‘Staging the Absent Woman’, in Brown and Parolin), to interrogate Davenant’s construction of femininity through the material technologies of rope, canvas and paint. This – pandemic library access permitting – will allow me to expand my analysis of Protectorate performance to speculate about the production of femininity elsewhere on the 17th-century English stage.



Chair:  Bianca Calabresi, Columbia University

William N. West, Northwestern University: Theater as Renaissance Technology

ABSTRACT: We know, or think we know, when and where the first classical play since the fall of the Roman Empire was staged (and all of the qualifiers to that claim are significant, in different ways—“first,” “classical,” “play,” and “staged”). In early April 1486, outside the Palazzo della Cancellaria, near or maybe even in the Campo dei Fiori, Julius Pomponius Laetus and other members of his Roman Academy set up a raised stage and presented a performance of Seneca’s Phaedra, which they seem to have known as Hippolytus. Event and structure alike were sponsored by Cardinal Raffaelle Riario, to whom within twelve months (1486-1487) the first printed edition of Vitruvius, almost entirely unillustrated like its manuscript ancestors, was also dedicated. It is from the dedicatory letter of its editor Johannes Sulpitius Verulanus, a friend of Laetus, that we learn much of what we know of these performances. In his dedication, Sulpitius offers Riario the kind of vague and customary effusions typical of such letters, but concludes with a surprisingly concrete proposal for Riario: “So from you now the whole city expects the pledge of a new theater… as well and as quickly as possible, your task is a theater.” Why a theater? What makes this particular recovery of antiquity so powerful, for Sulpitius as well as for modern scholars (it is not for nothing, after all, that we can wrangle about the date of the first classical performance)? In this paper, I not only consider the theater as a technology that first (re)appears in the Renaissance, but as a technology that in part makes a Renaissance appear, staging a representation of antiquity as representable— as a past that could again become present.

Leon Grek, New York University: “La terra che vedete qui…”: Perspective Sets and Intertextual Deixis in Italian and English Renaissance Comedy 

ABSTRACT: A crucial, and genuinely innovative aspect of the early sixteenth Italian revival of Roman-style comedy was its employment of elaborate perspectival backdrops, a new theatrical technology that fundamentally transformed the relationship between the theater and the city. Yet the playwrights of the commedia erudita also drew on older verbal scene-setting techniques, inherited from the prologues of Plautine comedy, and shaped by the very different stage technology of the Roman republican theater. In this paper, I explore the interactions between these different placemaking technologies in plays by Ariosto, Bibbiena, and Machiavelli, as well as in Ben Jonson’s early seventeenth-century London comedies, with the aim of complicating familiar narratives of the development of neoclassical theatrical space in both Italy and England

Robert Henke, Washington UniversityThe Narrative Logic of Italianate Dramaturgy: Stories, Scripts, and Scenarios in “The Merry Wives of Windsor” 

ABSTRACT: The Italian “sources,” or (better) latent narratological and theatrical possibilities, of Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor map onto a network of Italian novellas, scripted plays, and commedia dell’arte characters and theatergrams. This play looks at Italian stories, scripts, and scenarios as one loose but connected system, and examines both “deep,” general source motifs (e.g., the beffa-based, festive correction of the jealous husband in The Decameron) and more specific, probably linear sources (the narreme, in Il Pecorone and Le piacevoli notti, of the gallant telling his amorous plans and experiences to a man whom he does not know to be the husband of his love object). Shakespeare characteristically tilts to Italian plots and patterns in this masterpiece of complex intrigue (“intreccio”), which gives the lie to Coleridge’s dictum that the playwright always favors character over plot. As regards character, this middle-period comedy departs from the clear identifications of figures with commedia dell’arte types that characterized early comedies like Love’s Labour’s Lost and The Taming of the Shrew, shifting to distribute over several characters a commedia dell’arte “function” (here, the linguistically exuberant bravado of the Capitano maschera that is apportioned, in turn, to Falstaff, Pistol, Caius, Evans, Shallow, and the Host). In Merry Wives, the “feast of language” that characterized Love’s Labour’s Lost is extended to a geo-linguistic breadth comparable to the scope of the polydialectal commedia dell’arte (Welsh, French, Dutch, Latin, Italian, thief’s cant, macaronic word play, etc.) Generally, the paper considers what pressures, energies, and narrative “roads not taken” in Shakespeare’s plays are revealed by a broad, multi-generic knowledge of Italian intertexts.

David Schalkwyk, Queen Mary University of London:  Directorless or Directionless?  The Case for Anarchy

ABSTRACT: This paper traces the productions, between 2017 and 2020, by Anərkē Shakespeare of three Shakespeare plays: Richard II, Much Ado About Nothing and Macbeth, in London, Venice, Würzburg (Germany) and Stratfordupon-Avon without a director. It describes the modus operandi of the eight or nine actors that participated in the productions, focusing on the communal process of casting, cutting the text, rehearsal and interpretation, noting difficulties and successes (including audience responses), in the light of the current hegemony of the director/designer on UK stages and the concomitant devotion to Stanislavskian training. It constitutes a defence of anarchy (“without a leader”) in the performance and understanding of Shakespeare, and perhaps a return to the technologies of collaboration rather than direction.

RESPONDENT: Eric Nicholson, New York University Florence, with a focus on Reinventing the Theatrical Wheel


WEDNESDAY, June 23 (time CET/EST)


Chair: Nathalie Rivere de Carles, Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès

Thomas Bishop, University of Auckland, New Zealand: Technologies of Reading, or “How Much Greek Does a Playwright Need?”

ABSTRACT: Discussions of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale have long connected its plot in general terms to the legend of Alcestis. More recently, a case has been made for a specific derivation of several points in the play from George Buchanan’s Latin translation of Euripides’ play. In this paper I will argue in further detail that Greek-Latin texts of Euripides, including but not limited to Buchanan’s, were indeed a crucial pathway from Euripides to Shakespeare, allowing us to trace the response in his own romantic drama to key passages and themes in Euripides’ work, such as kharis/gratia. Close study of sixteenth-century book technologies illuminates how a relatively low level of fluency could give fairly detailed access to Greek drama, and demonstrates with unusual clarity the allusive mode of Shakespeare’s responsiveness to an ancient play.

Alicia Sands Pederson, Northwestern University: The Inhuman Technology of Renaissance Pastoral Drama

ABSTRACT: Scholars have drawn a distinction between Renaissance Catholic culture, which celebrated virginity, and Protestant culture, which celebrated marriage. Yet this distinction is confounded by the pro-matrimonial pastoral dramas written for the Roman Catholic court of Ferrara, Torquato Tasso’s Aminta and Battista Guarini’s Il Pastor Fido. It is further confounded by the pro-virginity messaging of John Fletcher’s The Faithful Shepherdess, written for the Protestant London stage. If not religious difference, what dimension of Renaissance culture can explain the pastoral dramas? The answer may lie in the dramas’ representation that humans are animals whose procreative desires are determined by “Nature’s law to love”—and that this procreative instinct is desirable only in the nobility. In the aristocratic Arcadia of the Italian dramas, wellborn shepherds find a comic ending for their animal passions in dynastic marriages; the humbler shepherds and satyrs remain unmatched. In Fletcher’s egalitarian Thessaly, there are no noble lineages to be perpetuated, virginity is idealized, and the notion that “man is sure a kinde of beast” justifies the use of religion and medicine to curb procreative desire. By highlighting human animality, and by restricting reproduction to the upper classes, the pastoral dramas evince a queer and inhuman technology that opposes the modern “anthropological machine” that produces humans as a distinct and homogenous population for whom a single reproductive morality can be universally prescribed. Crossing national and religious borders, pastoral dramas produce beasts and nobles, satyrs and spouses, virgins and villani—but no human qua human whose married or unmarried state embodies the standard for the species.

Peter Marx, Institut für Medienkultur und Theater, Universität zu Köln: Thaumaturgy and Magic: Early Modern Media Ecology as “Connected History”

ABSTRACT: Some “magical objects” figure prominently in early modern culture and they circulate from legends and travelogues throughWunderkammern to the early modern stage: among these are the Talking Head, automata, and apparitions of all kinds. This paper explores the presence of these objects — how they contribute to a discourse of wonder (embraced between religious beliefs, superstition, science, and entertainment) – but also how they transpire a sense of cultural and epistemological contingency. Thaumaturgy is suggested as a prism to describe and discuss the multi-faceted and polymorphous nature of early modern media ecology.

Sujata Iyengar, University of Georgia: Channeling “Hamlet”

ABSTRACT: Shakespeareans, especially those with editorial experience, scoff at the idea of Shakespeare as raw information that can be transferred from one medium to another without distortion or loss. But popular and scientific understandings of Shakespeare treat it as pure data; as Alan Galey has shown, proponents of “new” media overwhelmingly use Shakespeare’s words as their test case. Alexander Graham Bell recited snippets of Hamlet in his early demonstrations of the telephone, and scientists eager to demonstrate the power of DNA’s information storage capacity used Shakespeare’s sonnets. As Marshall McLuhan argued, however, there is no straightforward transfer of information from one medium to another. McLuhan theorized media by breaking down the old distinction between vehicle and tenor, medium and message. Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin theorized how each new medium or “remediation” transforms the message, while Daniel Fischlin, Sujata Iyengar, and others have suggested that the overarching phenomenon here is “intermediality,” which goes beyond the transmission of content from one medium to another, or even beyond the persistence of obsolete characteristics of prior media in newer ones (key features of remediation) to the acknowledgement that one medium may represent another without naively attempting to recreate that medium, and that media themselves comprise a series of signifying systems. This paper, “Channeling Hamlet,” considers how audio Shakespeares such as radio broadcasts mean differently when remediated as streaming or on-demand content (as podcasts, for example). I compare the storied 1941 Gielgud Hamlet recording, a 2002 episode of the radio broadcast of This American Life showcasing a production of Hamlet by inmates within a prison, and some of the Hamlet podcasts currently popular now, such as “The Hamlet podcast” or the Seattle Shakespeare Company’s bilingual audio play of Hamlet.



Chair:  Robert Henke, Washington University

Aria Dal Molin, University of South Carolina: Bearded Ladies and Beard Technologies in Early Modern Theater

ABSTRACT: Wearing beards in the sixteenth century and the dazzling variety of beards worn became a topic of cultural concern as well as a matter of comic play showing up in a variety of different forms in the theatrical productions of the times. The presence of a beard on stage can be both declarative (I am a man, the beard announces) as well as protective (by concealing facial expressions or hiding identities). Yet, at times, beard wearing in theater surpassed strategies of simulation and dissimulation and moved into the realm of aberration. For example, Bastiano di Francesco Senese “il Linaiolo”, a comic playwright and actor by profession, was known in his native Siena as an expert in feminine roles, particularly aged female ones, and is said to have performed such roles despite (or perhaps thanks to?) donning a long pointy beard throughout his career. The frontispieces of Bastiano’s comedies Un Villano e Una Zinganga and La Fantesca, for example, display woodcuts depicting an elderly female character (in female dress with clearly articulated breasts) fitted with a pointy beard. In this paper I will look not only into cross-gendering elderly female characters through the use of bearded male actors, but more generally the practice of character and identity fashioning in early modern European theater through the use of beards worn by actors (real or fake) and consider the effects beard technologies had on character development, humor, and gendered performances. The beard in the sixteenth century appears to be something unique to a man’s style as well as serving as an adornment, as something “worn;” a symbolically charged prosthetic device which can be manipulated, altered, dyed, or thickened, to suit a desired representation.

Erith Jaffe-Berg, University of California, Riverside:  Costumes and Repurposing Fabrics Across Religious Ritual Boundaries in Early Modern Theatre

ABSTRACT: Northern Italy was an important center for the production and repurposing of fabrics to be used in costuming. Jewish Italians from communities such as Mantua took a hand in the making of specialized fabrics to be used in lavish Carnival and theatre costumes. In this presentation, I will aim to trace some of the ways cloth, thread and precious metals were “repurposed” for religious and secular ritual purposes. I will focus especially on the ways repurposing of fabrics along Jewish-Christian lines impacted costumes for theatrical purposes.

M.A. Katritzky, The Open University. Transnational perspectives on stage technologies: foreign reports on the 1589 Florentine intermedi

ABSTRACT: Not least because of their exceptionally rich Italian textual and visual documentation, the 1589 Florentine intermedi are regarded as one of the outstanding court festivals of early modern Europe. The official festival accounts, written, published and distributed as court propaganda, aimed to inscribe the event into its audiences’ memories in a very specific way. I revisit the 1589 intermedi in the context of the selective memories reflected in non-Italian eyewitness accounts by three foreign visitors to Florence, an anonymous Frenchman and Bavarian, and the German Barthold von Gadenstedt. Previously, musicologists have mined them for information supplementing the Italian accounts. Here, my focus is on their unreliable memories of the spectacular and innovative scenography featured in the 1589 intermedi. I focus on what their recorded memories convey about the importance of Florence and its stage heritage to the theatre technology of the 1589 production, and how they (and we) address the challenge of identifying, classifying and documenting Renaissance scenography.

Thomas Roberts, Exeter College, Oxford University: The Zanni naturalised: (trans)cultural tokens in the early modern English imagination

ABSTRACT: The servant mask Zanni perfectly encapsulates the versatile and pliable nature of Cinquecento literary and theatrical exports. An abbreviation or dialectical pronunciation of Giovanni, Zanni was, much like the English John, a name for a common man, a rustic, and later a servant or porter who had come down from the hilly regions of Lombardy to find work as a casual labourer in the markets and piazzas of Italy’s northern metropolises. Though chiefly associated with Venice, he would become a fixture of urban life in the contemporary imagination, a synecdoche of the peasant class and the hunger, insecurity, and abuse that were cornerstones of the peasant experience throughout the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. He was not the exclusive property of the commedia dell’arte but generic stock that could be summoned into a variety of scenes in a variety of forms and genres both on stage and in print. Zanni is found (in some shape or form) in anthropological surveys of urban life; in print constrasti and dialoghi; in the fully scripted plays of the academic commedia erudita; on the trestle stages of marketplace mountebanks and quacks; in carnival revelries; and in the plays of itinerant companies of the commedia dell’arte. With the transalpine reach of the Italian Renaissance, he would then journey by foot, in print, and by word of mouth into the cultural lexicon of different regions across Europe. This paper takes a flexible approach to the term technology, exploring what happened to the Zanni after his arrival in England. It demonstrates how the mask’s repeated appropriation by English writers and dramatists created, via a process of transculturation, an imaginative literary token that took on new, culturally specific associations and situated nuances. It posits ‘naturalisation’ – the native legal rights conferred on an alien or stranger by a Crown Act of Parliament – as a helpful way of conceptualising this process. In the same way that naturalisation incorporated the migrant into the legal structures that prescribed nationhood whilst simultaneously marking out their strangeness, Zanni never shook off this sense of difference when naturalised into English discourse. Rather, he became an unsettling token of a multifaceted and pervasive strangeness that articulated English anxieties around cultural identity, belonging, and the strangely familiar as they looked out into the world.



Featured Biographies

David Amelang


I am an Assistant Professor in English Literature at the Department of English Studies of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. I also currently serve on the board of directors of the Madrid Institute for Advanced Study (MIAS) and the Spanish and Portuguese Society for English Renaissance Studies (SEDERI). My research focuses on the study of early modern drama, and more specifically on the comparison between the dramatic literature and theatrical cultures of Shakespearean England and Golden Age Spain.

Roberta Barker


Roberta Barker is Associate Professor of Theatre and Acting Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She is the author of Early Modern Tragedy, Gender and Performance, 1984-2000: The Destined Livery (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), and has published on early modern drama in such journals as Shakespeare Quarterly, Shakespeare Survey, Early Theatre, and Shakespeare Bulletin, as well as in numerous edited collections. She edited Thomas Middleton’s Women Beware Women for the 2020 Routledge Anthology of Early Modern Drama.  Her book Symptoms of the Self: Tuberculosis and the Transmission of the Modern Stage is under contract with University of Iowa Press.

Silvia Bigliazzi


Silvia Bigliazzi is Professor of English Literature at Verona University, where she is the Director of the Skenè Research Centre devoted to drama and theatre studies. Her fields of interest include Renaissance poetry (co-editor and translator of John Donne’s poems – BUR 2012), literature and the visual arts (Il colore del silenzio. Il Novecento tra parola e immagine, Marsilio 1998; co-ed. Collaboration in the Arts from the Middle Ages to the Present, Ashgate 2006), textual performance (Sull’esecuzione testuale, ETS 2002), and translation for the theatre (co-ed. Theatre Translation in Performance, Routledge 2013). Her publications on Shakespeare include two monographs (Oltre il genere. Amleto tra scena e racconto, Edizioni dell’Orso 2001; Nel prisma del nulla. L’esperienza del non-essere nella drammaturgia shakespeariana, Liguori 2005) and several miscellanies (Revisiting the TempestThe Capacity to Signify, Palgrave 2014; Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, and Civic Life, Routledge 2016; Oedipus at Colonus and King Lear: Classical and Early Modern Intersections, Skenè 2019; Shakespeare and Crisis. One Hundred Years of Italian Narratives, John Benjamins 2020). In 2019 she also published Julius Caesar 1935: Shakespeare and Censorship in Fascist Italy (Skenè). For Einaudi she has published the edition and Italian translation  Romeo e Giulietta (2012) and for the theatre she translated Q1 Romeo and Juliet (2016) and Macbeth (2016). Her recent research includes: the reception of classical drama in the English Renaissance, on which she is currently coordinating a research group that has received national funding (PRIN 2017); the reception of Graeco-Roman paradoxical and sceptic culture in the English Renaissance; and the study of the Italian novella tradition behind Shakespeare’s plays. She is the co-General editor of Skenè. Journal of Theatre and Drama Studies, and of the series Global Shakespeare Inverted (Bloomsbury) and Anglica (ETS).

Tom Bishop


Tom Bishop is Professor of English at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. He is author of Shakespeare and the Theatre of Wonder (1996), translator of Ovid’s Amores (2003), and a general editor of The Shakespearean International Yearbook. He is currently editing As You Like It for the Arden 4 series.

Bianca Calabresi


Adjunct Lecturer, Department of English and Comparative Literature and the Core, Columbia University. M.A. student in Digital Humanities (2nd year), CUNY Graduate Center. Field: Early Modern Comparative literature (Italian, French, English, Spanish), specializing in Book History, Alternative Literacies, and writing by women in Europe and the Early Americas 1500-1650.

Lucia Cardelli


Lucia Cardelli is a graduate student who has recently completed her MA in English and American Literature at NYU. She holds a BA in English with Film Studies from King’s College London. Her research is located at the intersection of literature and queer theory, with a focus on contemporary lesbian studies, as well as an interest in the Renaissance.

Aria Dal Molin


Aria Dal Molin is an Assistant Professor of Renaissance Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of South Carolina. Her book, Early Modern Bromance: Love, Friendship, and Marriage in Sixteenth-Century Italian Academies, looks at the clash of ideals of perfect friendship and compulsory marriage in the early years of the Renaissance Italian literary academies. She is currently working on a book on heterodoxy in early modern theater which considers inventive scenarios depicting alternative social options of wedlock that adapt marriage to be able to accommodate conjugal love and sexual desire within matrimony through polygamy, bigamy, zoophily, and other queer renderings of male-female couples.

Barbara Fuchs


Barbara Fuchs is Professor of Spanish and English at UCLA, where she directs the Working Group on the Comedia in Translation and Performance and its “Diversifying the Classics” initiative. She is also the founder and director of the biennial LA Escena festival of Hispanic classical theater. Her latest books are Knowing Fictions: Picaresque Reading in the Early Modern Hispanic World (Penn Press 2021), and Theater of Lockdown: Digital and Distanced Performance in a Time of Pandemic (forthcoming, Bloomsbury, September 2021). Other recent projects include The Quest for Certainty in Early Modern Europe: From Inquisition to Inquiry (1550-1700), co-edited with Mercedes García-Arenal (U. of Toronto Press, 2020); a collaborative translation, Ana Caro’s The Courage to Right a Woman’s Wrongs (Juan de la Cuesta 2020); The Golden Age of Spanish Drama, with Gregary Racz (Norton Critical Editions 2018); and 90 Monologues from Classical Spanish Theater, translated and edited with Laura Muñoz and Jennifer Monti (Juan de la Cuesta 2018).  Professor Fuchs is currently writing a book on virtual theater, informed by her experience with the 2020 edition of LA Escena.  In 2020-21, she serves as the UCLA Clark Professor, directing a program on “Resituating the Comedia” at the UCLA Clark Memorial Library and Center for 17th and 18th-Century Studies,

Emily Glider

PhD student in English and Renaissance Studies, Yale University

Emily Glider is a PhD student in English and Renaissance Studies at Yale University. Her Dissertation, “Geopolitical Players: Trade, Diplomacy, and Early Modern English Drama,” focuses on the role of traveling performers as agents of cultural embassy in early modern Europe.

Leon Grek


Leon Grek is a postdoctoral fellow at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. His research focuses on classical Latin literature and drama, and its Renaissance receptions; his current project explores the poetics of translation in Roman Republican comedy and its Italian and English Renaissance descendants.

Robert Henke


Robert Henke is Professor of Drama and Comparative Literature at Washington University, the author of Pastoral Transformations: Italian Tragicomedy and Shakespeare’s Late PlaysPerformance and Literature in the Commedia dell’Arte; and Poverty and Charity in Early Modern Theater and Performance. The present talk is taken from a book he is writing on Shakespeare and Italian Drama that will be published in the Arden Shakespeare series.

Sujata Iyengar


Sujata Iyengar, Professor of English, University of Georgia, studies Shakespeare and Shakespearean adaptation (including performance), book history and book arts, Early Modern race and gender, and contemporary art. Her recent and forthcoming publications most likely to be of interest to Theatre Without Borders include “Hamlet (2016) and Representations of Diasporic Blackness” in Cahiers Elisabéthains 99 (2019), co-authored with Lesley Feracho; “White Fairies in Shakespeare,” in Shakespeare and White People, ed. Arthur L. Little (Palgrave, under review), and “Race Thinking in Margaret Cavendish’s Drama” in Criticism 63.1-2: Beyond Canonicity: The Future(s) of Early Modern Women Writers, ed. Jaime Goodrich and Paula McQuade (2021). She is (still) working on two monographs: “Shakespeare and Adaptation Theory” (Bloomsbury, contracted), from which her talk today is taken, and “Shakespeare and the Art of the Book.”

Erith Jaffe-Berg

Erith Jaffe-Berg is a Professor of theatre at the Department of Theatre, Film and Digital Production at the University of California at Riverside. Her research focuses on the commedia dell’arte and performances by minority groups in Early Modern Italy. She is the author of two books: The Multilingual Art of Commedia dell’Arte (2008) and Commedia dell’Arte and the Mediterranean: Charting Journeys and Mapping “Others” (2015), and she has published essays on early modern performance in various journals and anthologies, including, most recently: Transnational Connections in Early Modern Theatre (2019) and the Routledge Companion to Theatre History and Historiography (2020). She is currently completing a book on the Jewish contribution to sixteenth and seventeenth-century theatre in Northern Italy. She is a member of the Son of Semele Theatre Ensemble (SOSE), an award-winning, LA-based theatre company ( and Theatre Dybbuk ( For her work, Prof. Jaffe-Berg has been awarded a UC Humanities Research Institute fellowship, a Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation grant, a National Endowment for the Humanities grant as well as a grant from the Canadian embassy.

M A Katritzky

barbara wilk

M A Katritzky is the Barbara Wilkes Research Fellow in Theatre Studies (English Department) and Director of The Centre for Research into Gender and Otherness in the Humanities (School of Arts & Humanities) in the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences of The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK, and co-editor (with Pavel Drábek) of Transnational Connections in Early Modern Theatre (2020). Books include: Healing, performance and ceremony in the writings of three early modern physicians: Hippolytus Guarinonius and the brothers Felix and Thomas Platter (2012), Women, medicine and theatre 1500-1750: literary mountebanks and performing quacks (2007) and The Art of commedia: a study in the commedia dell’arte 1560-1620 with special reference to the visual records (2006). Current PGs: Kim Pratt (Monsters as the Other: A Defence of Polyphemos from Homer’s Odyssey to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein), Christopher Dobson (the performance of gender roles in Christopher Marlowe), Sharon Wiseman (the plays of Thomas Otway and Nathanial Lee).

Natasha Korda


Natasha Korda (Ph.D., Humanities Center, Johns Hopkins University, 1995) is Professor of English and Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Wesleyan University. Her research interests include early modern English dramatic literature and culture, theater history, women’s social, economic and legal history, and material and visual culture studies. She is the author of Labors Lost: Women’s Work and the Early Modern English Stage (2011) and Shakespeare’s Domestic Economies: Gender and Property in Early Modern England (2002), and over thirty scholarly essays.  She is co-editor of two anthologies, Working Subjects in Early Modern English Drama (2011) and Staged Properties in Early Modern English Drama (2002). Currently, she is editing the Norton Critical Edition of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, and working on a new book project on material ephemera, feminist counter-archives and early modern theater historiography. In 2015 she was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Shakespeare Association of America, and serves as President of that organization in 2020-2021. Her research has been supported by Wesleyan’s Center for the Humanities, an International Research Fellowship at Oxford Brookes University, an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship at the Huntington Library, a Charles S. Singleton Fellowship at Johns Hopkins University’s Villa Spelman, and fellowships at the Folger Shakespeare Library. She has served on the editorial boards of Renaissance Quarterly, Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal and The Stanford Global Shakespeare Encyclopedia, on executive committees of the Modern Language Association and the Renaissance Society of America and is a member of the Theater Without Borders research collaborative.

Friedemann Kreuder


Friedemann Kreuder is Professor for Theatre Studies at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. He has published books about the theatre of the German director Klaus Michael Grüber (Formen des Erinnerns im Theater Klaus Michael Grübers, Berlin 2002) and the bourgeois theatre of the 18th century (Spielräume der Identität in Theaterformen des 18. Jahrhunderts, Tübingen 2010), and articles about the theatre of Richard Wagner, medieval passion plays, theatre in the early modern and contemporary German straight theatre between reproduction and transgression of body-based distinction (gender and race).

Peter Mark


Prof. Dr. Peter W. Marx holds the Chair for Media and Theatre Studies at the University of Cologne. He is also director of the Theaterwissenschaftliche Sammlung Cologne, one of the largest archives for theatre and performance culture in Germany.  His focus of research is theatre historiography, Shakespeare in Performance and the formation of theatre as a cultural practice in the Early Modern Period. In 2018, he published Hamlets Reise nach Deutschland. In 2020, he published his monograph Macht|Spiele: Politisches Theater seit 1919 and edited the volume Dokumente, Pläne, Traumreste, a comprehensive catalogue and essay collection, celebrating the centenary of the Theaterwissenschaftliche Sammlung. In fall 2020, the Handbook on Theatre and Performance Historiography (co-edited with Tracy C. Davis) was published with Routledge.Peter W. Marx received his PhD from Mainz University in 2000. He held a Junior Professorship in Mainz from 2003-2008. He was a Visiting Scholar (Feodor-Lynen-Fellow) at Columbia University in the City of New York and held Visiting Professorships in Vienna, Hildesheim, and at the Freie Universität Berlin. From 2009-2011 he was an Associate Professor for Theatre Studies at the University of Berne (Switzerland). Following his dissertation, Marx has worked on theatre history, with a special focus on German-Jewish artists in the late 19th, early 20th century. Two books stem from this interest: Max Reinhardt (2006) and Ein theatralisches Zeitalter (2008). He is the editor of the volume Age of Empire (2017) on the 19th century, in the Cultural History of Theatre series, edited by Christopher Balme and Tracy C. Davis.

Clare McManus


I am author of Women on the Renaissance Stage (2002) and editor of John Fletcher’s The Island Princess (Arden, 2013), Shakespeare’s Othello (Norton Shakespeare 3rd Edition, 2015), and Shirley’s The Bird in a Cage (Routledge Anthology of Early Modern Drama, 2020). With Lucy Munro (King’s College London) and Melinda Gough and Peter Cockett (McMaster University), I am part of Engendering the Stage, a research project which brings practical and archival research into the diversity of the early modern English stage to bear on the present-day Shakespearean theatre industry. As part of this, Lucy Munro and I lead the Leverhulme-funded team Engendering the Stage: The Records of Early Modern Performance, which reassesses the archival evidence base for early modern theatre and performance. I’m currently writing a monograph on the effects of feminine performance on the Shakespearean stage and co-editing The Fawn for the Oxford Complete Works of John Marston (OUP).

Lucy Munro


Lucy Munro is Professor of Shakespeare and Early Modern Literature at King’s College London. She teaches, researches and writes on the plays and poetry of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, theatre history, histories of gender and childhood. She is a contributor to two collaborative research projects, Before Shakespeare ( and Engendering the Stage (  Her most recent publications are Shakespeare in the Theatre: The King’s Men (2020) and two studies of the Blackfriars playhouse in English Literary Renaissance and Shakespeare Quarterly. Her edition of Shirley’s The Gentleman of Venice is forthcoming in The Complete Works of James Shirley in summer 2021.

Karen Newman


Karen Newman is Owen Walker ’33 Professor of Humanities and Professor of Comparative Literature and English emerita at Brown University. She has written widely on Shakespeare and Renaissance letters and culture and is the author of several books including Shakespeare’s Rhetoric of Comic CharacterFashioning Femininity and English Renaissance Drama; Fetal Positions. Individualism, Science, VisualityCultural Capitals: Early Modern London and Paris and Essaying Shakespeare. Her current research is on cultural translation and the reception of Shakespeare in Europe.

Eric Nicholson


Eric Nicholson teaches courses in literature and theatre at NYU Florence and Syracuse University Florence.  An active member of Theater Without Borders International Research Collaborative, with Robert Henke, he has co-edited Transnational Exchange in Early Modern Theater (2008), and Transnational Mobilities in Early Modern Theater (2014).   With Pamela Allen Brown and Julie D. Campbell, he is the translator and editor of Lovers’ Debates for the Stage, by Isabella Andreini (forthcoming, University of Toronto ITER Press). In Florence and elsewhere, Eric has directed and performed in plays by Aristophanes, Shakespeare, Molière, and others, among them “Clorilli, a Pastoral Drama by Leonora Bernardi of Lucca,” in its premiere modern production (NYU, Spring 2018).

Stephen Orgel


Stephen Orgel is the J. E. Reynolds Professor in the Humanities, Emeritus, at Stanford University. His most recent books are The Reader in the Book (Oxford, 2015), Spectacular Performances (Manchester, 2011), Imagining Shakespeare (Palgrave, 2003), and The Authentic Shakespeare (Routledge, 2002). Wit’s Treasury and The Invention of Shakespeare are forthcoming (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021 and 2022). He is the general editor of the New Pelican Shakespeare, and has edited The Tempest and The Winter’s Tale in the Oxford Shakespeare.

Alicia Sands Pederson


Alicia Sands Pederson is a PhD graduand in the Department of English at Northwestern University. Her dissertation, “The Greener Inhumanity of Renaissance Pastoral,” analyzes the relationship between nature and human society in early modern English and Italian bucolic literature, including works by Niccolò Machiavelli, Torquato Tasso, William Shakespeare, and John Fletcher. Working primarily on literature written in Renaissance Italy and in England, she has wide-ranging interests in the history of ideas about biological reproduction, natural identity, and human dominion.

Natalie Pollard


Tanya Pollard is Professor of English at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center, CUNY. Her books include Greek Tragic Women on Shakespearean Stages (2017), Drugs and Theater in Early Modern England (2005), two edited anthologies of texts, and three co-edited collections of essays. She serves on the Council of Scholars at Theater for a New Audience and works with other New York theater companies on productions. She is currently editing Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist for Arden Early Modern Drama, and beginning a new project on Richard Burbage and early modern theatrical families.

Nathalie Rivere de Carles


Nathalie Rivere de Carles is Associate Professor in Early Modern English Drama and Diplomatic Culture at Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès. She authored books and articles on theatre history, early modern theatre and history, theatre and diplomacy: Early Modern Diplomacy, Theatre and Soft Power: The Making of Peace (Palgrave, 2016), Time’s Up for the Duchess: Malfi in Conversation (Scene Focus, CNRS, 2019), ‘Diplomatic Parrhesia and the Ethos of Trustworthiness in Hotman’s The Ambassador and Shakespeare’s Henry V’ (Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, Duke University Press, 2020).

Tom Roberts


Tom Roberts is a postdoctoral researcher on the ERC-funded TIDE project (Travel, Transculturality, and Identity in England, c.1550-1700). He works on Anglo-Italian exchange, translation, transnational theatre, and cultural and human migration to sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century London. His doctoral research focuses on how early modern English writers and dramatists reimagined the Italian commedia dell’arte in print and on stage. He also works on London’s non-native communities and the everyday spatial and cultural practices of its dynamic Italian population.

Lisa Sampson


Lisa Sampson is reader in Early Modern Italian Studies at the University Collega London and Co-Director of the UCL Centre for Early Modern Exchanges. She has published widely on Italian theatre, women’s writing, courts and academies, including Pastoral Drama in Early Modern Italy (2006), and a co-edited volume, The Italian Academies, 1525-1700: Networks of Culture, Innovation and Dissent (2016). She is currently preparing Drama, Poetry and Music in Late-Renaissance Italy. The life and works of Leonora Bernardi (co-edited with Virginia Cox, translated by Anna Wainwright) for UCL Press, and a monograph on Theatre in the Academies of Early Modern Italy: Festivity, Learning and Cultural Transformations.

David Schalkwyk


David Schalkwyk is currently Professor of Shakespeare Studies at Queen Mary University of London and Director of the Center for Global Shakespeare.  He was formerly Director of Research at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C. and editor of Shakespeare Quarterly. Before that he was Professor of English at the University of Cape Town, where he held the positions of Head of Department and Deputy Dean in the faculty of the Humanities.  His books include Speech and Performance in Shakespeare’s Sonnets and Plays (Cambridge, 2002), Literature and the Touch of the Real (Delaware, 2004), and Shakespeare, Love and Service (Cambridge, 2008), Hamlet’s Dreams: The Robben Island Shakespeare (Arden Shakespeare, 2013) and The Word Against the World: The Bakhtin Circle (Skene, 2016), and Shakespeare, Love and Language (Cambridge, 2018). He has been working over the past four years on Shakespeare productions without a director with the London company, Anərkē Shakespeare, and is working on a monograph on articulation and sonnets.

Nigel Smith


Nigel Smith is William and Annie S. Paton Foundation Professor of Ancient and Modern Literature and Chair of the Committee for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies at Princeton University.  He was formerly Reader in English at Oxford University, and Fellow and Tutor in English at Keble College.   His major works are Andrew Marvell: The Chameleon (Yale UP, 2010), Is Milton better than Shakespeare? (Harvard UP, 2008), the Longman Annotated English Poets edition of Andrew Marvell’s Poems (2003, rev. 2007), Literature and Revolution in England, 1640-1660 (Yale UP, 1994) and Perfection Proclaimed: Language and Literature in English Radical Religion 1640-1660 (Oxford UP, 1989). He has also edited the Journal of George Fox (Penguin, 1998), the Ranter pamphlets (Junction Books, 1983; Pluto Press, rev. 2014), and co-edited with Nicholas McDowell the Oxford Handbook to Milton (2009), with Sara S. Poor, Mysticism and Reform, 1400-1750 (Notre Dame UP, 2015), with Laurent Curelly, Radical Voices, Radical Ways: Articulating and Disseminating Radicalism in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-century Britain (Manchester UP, 2016) and with Jan Bloemendal, Politics and Aesthetics in European Baroque and Classicist Tragedy (Brill, 2016). Polyglot Poetics: Transnational Early Modern Literature, forthcoming, explores interactions between European vernacular literatures (especially Dutch, English, German, French and Spanish), in poetry, drama and prose fiction in the context of political and religious transformation between 1500 and 1700.

Jane Tylus


Jane Tylus is Andrew Downey Orrick Professor of Italian and Professor of Comparative Literature at Yale University, where she currently chairs the department of Italian Studies. Recent books include Siena, City of Secrets (2015), the co-edited Cultures of Early Modern Translation (with Karen Newman, 2015), and The Poetics of Masculinity in Early Modern Italy and Spain (with Gerry Mulligan, 2011), a translation and edition of the complete poetry of Gaspara Stampa (2010), and Reclaiming Catherine of Siena: Literature, Literacy, and the Signs of Others (2009). She has been General Editor for the journal I Tatti Studies in the Italian Renaissance since 2013. Tylus is currently at work on a monograph, “Saying Good-bye in the Renaissance: Meditations on Leavetaking,” and a collection of essays on music and translation.  She has recently completed a translation of Dacia Maraini’s 2013 novel, Chiara di Assisi: Elogio della disobbedienza.

Martine Van Elk


Martine van Elk is a professor of English at California State University, Long Beach. She has published extensively on early modern women, Shakespeare, and vagrancy. Her work has appeared in edited collections and journals like Shakespeare QuarterlyStudies in English Literature, and Early Modern Women. She co-edited a collection of essays entitled Tudor Drama Before Shakespeare, which came out with Palgrave in 2004. Her book, Early Modern Women’s Writing: Domesticity, Privacy, and the Public Sphere, was published by Palgrave in 2017. She’s currently working as a section editor for the new Palgrave Encyclopedia of Early Modern Women’s Writing and writing a comparative study of women on and behind the stage in England, the Dutch Republic, and France. She also manages two blogs on early modern women.

Melissa Walter


Melissa Walter is Associate Professor of English at the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, Canada.  She is the author of The Italian Novella and Shakespeare’s Comic Heroines (2019), and co-editor, with Dennis Britton, of Rethinking Shakespeare Source Study: Audiences, Authors, and Digital Technologies (2018).  Her essays on early modern English theatre and the novella have appeared in Transnational Mobilities in Early Modern Theater and Transnational Exchange in Early Modern Theater, both edited by Robert Henke and Eric Nicholson, and Shakespeare and the Italian Renaissance:  Appropriation, Transformation, Opposition, edited by Michele Marrapodi, among other venues.  She is currently editing The Two Gentlemen of Verona for Internet Shakespeare Editions, and working with students and community members to establish the Shakespeare Reconciliation Garden in Sto:lo Temexw on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley.

William N. West


William N. West is Associate Professor of English, Classics, and Comparative Literary Studies at Northwestern University.  His books include Common Understandings, Poetic Confusion: Playhouses and Playgoers in Elizabethan England (forthcoming, Chicago, 2021), As If: Essays in As You Like It (punctum, 2016), and Theatres and Encyclopedias in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge, 2002).  He edits the scholarly journal Renaissance Drama.  His current research is on Renaissance Nachleben, afterlives of the Renaissance in scholarly and popular imagination from Burckhardt to Baron.

Deanne Williams


Professor of English and Theatre Studies at York University. She is the author of The French Fetish from Chaucer to Shakespeare, which won the Roland Bainton Prize from the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference, and, more recently, Shakespeare and the Performance of Girlhood.

Susanne Wofford


Susanne Wofford is Dean of the Gallatin School and Professor of English at NYU.  A cofounder of Theater Without Borders International Research Collaborative, she has served as President of the Shakespeare Association of America, and is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the International Spenser Society.  Publications include: The Choice of Achilles: The Ideology of Figure in the Epic (1992); Epic Traditions in the Contemporary World (co-edited with Jane Tylus and Margaret Beissinger, 1999);  Shakespeare: The Late Tragedies (ed.1995); and Hamlet: Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism (ed. 1994). Recent articles include two in our Theater without Borders volumes edited by Rob Henke and Eric Nicholson: Hymen and the Gods on Stage in Shakespeare’s As You Like It and Italian Pastoral,” in Transnational Mobilities in Early Modern Theater  (2014),  and “Foreign Emotions in Twelfth Night,” in Transnational Exchange in Early Modern Theater (2008); and one in the recent TWB volume, edited by Pavel Drábek and M.A. Katritzky, Transnational Connections in Early Modern Theatre (Manchester UP 2019) “Freedom and Constraint in Transnational Comedy: The “jest unseen” of Love Letters in Two Gentlemen of Verona and El perro del hortelano.”   Other recent work includes: “Foreign” in 21st Century Approaches to Early Modern Theatricality (2013);  “Globalization” in Shakespeare in our Time (2016); “Origin Stories of Fear and Tyranny: Blood and Dismemberment in Macbeth  (with a Glance at the Oresteia), in Comparative Drama (2017) , a special issue edited by Silvia Bigliazzi on The Tyrant’s Fear; and  “Veiled Revenants and the Risks of Hospitality: Euripides’ Alcestis, the Renaissance novella, and Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing” in Rethinking  Shakespeare  Source  Study : Audiences, Authors, and Digital Technologies, eds. Dennis Britton and Melissa Walter (Routledge 2018).   

     Additional note: As is apparent, my current projects treat transnational intertexts for Shakespeare, including connecting Shakespearean comedy with Italian and Spanish sources and analogues, and essays on Euripides, ancient Greek tragedy and Shakespeare. I get by with a little help from my friends!