Tag Archives: Victorian Shakespeare

Great British Railway Journeys Comes to Stratford-upon-Avon

It was a sunny and very busy September afternoon at the Shakespeare Birthplace. Heritage open weekend was underway, and visitors were making the most of the sunshine in the beautiful Birthplace garden. A rather conspicuous addition to the crowd was a film crew and, of course, Michael Portillo wearing a very striking cobalt blue jacket. […]

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Telling Histories with Shakespeare

A Soldier in Every Son, playing at the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon appropriates, albeit loosely, Shakespeare’s history plays through a complex re-telling of Mexican history. In these blogs I have been thinking about Victorian Shakespeare and, particularly, stage spectacles. While it is difficult to imagine the approval of Shakespeare’s ‘bardolising’ Victorian audiences, the appropriation of select […]

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‘A marvellous box of tricks’: On the shipwreck in Tree’s ‘The Tempest’

The focus on journeys, isolation and wreckage in the current RSC ‘Shipwreck trilogy’ has turned my attention to Victorian productions of these plays, and their use of the shipwreck motif. One such production immediately springs to mind: Tree’s 1904 Tempest at Her Majesty’s Theatre. The play was divided into three acts, and frameworked with two […]

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King John: A play for all time?

Having had a period of reflection after seeing Maria Aberg’s King John at the Swan Theatre, it occurs to me how its forceful message about a-nationalism is not so very distant from the two, arguably, greatest Victorian productions of the play by William Charles Macready (1840s-1850s) and Herbert Beerbohm Tree (1899). Thinking, as I have […]

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Much Ado About Churches: Henry Irving does a wedding

In anticipation of the Indian-themed production of Much Ado About Nothing opening at the Courtyard Theatre in July, I’m thinking back to spectacular Victorian mountings of Shakespeare’s comedy. And what more striking production of this play was there in this period than that of Henry Irving: the rigorous Methodist and much-debated actor-manager of the Lyceum […]

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