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Engendering the Stage in the Age of Shakespeare and Beyond

The John Douglas Taylor Conference

Events at McMaster University

24 September 2018

All events are in the Wilson building — free and are open to the public

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Casting women in men’s roles may seem like a radical departure of our times. So might portrayals of early modern characters by trans and non-binary actors. Yet playing with gender was in fact an exciting feature of early modern theatre practice across Europe.

“Engendering the Stage in the Age of Shakespeare and Beyond” is an international research project dedicated to exploring resonances between the history of gendered performance on the early modern stage and our contemporary drive to achieve gender equity in today’s professional theatre industry.

On Monday September 24, international scholars, artists, and directors will visit McMaster to report on the project’s recent week-long performance workshop hosted by the Stratford Festival’s Theatre Laboratory Sept 18-22.

 

 

Gender on the Early Modern Stage: What We Learned at the Stratford Lab

10:30am-12pm, Black Box Theatre (next to Wilson Hall)    

How might portrayals of gender on the early modern stage resonate with today’s opening up of gender to a non-binary paradigm? Roundtable participants include Peter Cockett (Theatre and Film Studies, McMaster), Melinda Gough (English and Cultural Studies/GSFR, McMaster), Clare McManus (Roehampton University, London), and Keira Loughran (the Stratford Festival).

Trans, Queer, and Feminist Histories in Early Modern Theatre: Then and Now

1:30-2:20 pm, Black Box Theatre (next to Wilson Hall)

Award-winning UK-based theatre maker, actor, and director Emma Frankland will speak about her recent work on a large scale outdoor revival of Galatea by John Lyly, one of Shakespeare’s contemporaries. A love story with a same-sex couple at its centre, Galatea offers positive representations of LGBTQ identities as well as a strong feminist perspective: all of the main protagonists are female identified, but many of them are also at odds with or experimenting with their gender identity. Synthesizing highlights from the Galatea project work with insights gained from the workshop in Stratford, Emma will discuss future possibilities for more inclusive feminist/LGBTQ inspired work in classical theatre production.

Creating the Gender-Fluid World of The Comedy of Errors, Stratford Festival 2018

2:30-3:20 pm, Wilson Hall

Keira Loughran (Associate Artistic Director, the Stratford Festival), Jessica Hill (actor, the Stratford Festival), and Joanna Yu (costume designer, the Stratford Festival) will speak about their work creating the fun, gender fluid world of Ephesus for the 2018 Comedy of Errors production. Erin Julian (University of Western Ontario) will speak to this production’s significance as a case study for building inclusivity in today’s professional theatre industry.

Gender-Bending Shakespeare

7:00pm, Wilson Hall

Generously hosted by the Socrates Project

Join renowned writer and CBC broadcaster Eleanor Wachtel in conversation with Canadian stage icons Martha Henry and Seana McKenna, who are shifting perceptions of gender and performance as Prospero and Julius Caesar this season at the Stratford Festival.

Sponsors for conference events include:

The John Douglas Taylor Family; the Socrates Project; the Stratford Festival; the Gender Studies and Feminist Research Graduate Program; the Department of English and Cultural Studies; the Faculty of Humanities; the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada; the University of Roehampton.