BRITGRAD: 17-19 JUNE 2010

BritGrad is the Shakespeare Institute‘s annual 3-day academic conference, focusing on all aspects of Renaissance Drama and the culture of the early modern period. This year’s conference runs from 17-19 June, and includes a trip to the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of King Lear, now in repertory at the Courtyard Theatre.

BritGrad will be my first academic conference. When I was a Masters student, our saintly co-convenors Professors Fiona Stafford and Stephen Gill (both amazing: mention their names to academics from any nation state and you realise they’re bywords for both scholarship and kindness) gave their twelve MSt 1780-1900 students a one-day practice in confusing each other with papers. Subjects of academic obsession included Penny Dreadfuls; Victorian Women Doing Travel Writing in Scotland; How To Die Of A Migraine in Literature (okay, this wasn’t what Lisa’s paper was actually about. Lisa’s idea of a gap year, pre-medical school and post-Harvard, was an Oxford Masters. She was from Manhattan and we loved her); Fin de Siecle Things (I’m still vague); Trilby; and, Cab Drivers Who Probably Didn’t Seduce Oscar Wilde.

Guess which one I wrote. All in all, it was the embodied awesome that you would expect from people who bonded in their first week over the ability to turn Dickens novels into titles for a certain genre of film.*

I am so excited about Britgrad. Not only is everybody from the Institute awesome, but apparently they’re all also terrifyingly well-organised. There are committees beneath committees. People will be chairing, co-chairing, chair-fetching and chair-stacking with military precision. I have before me/in tabbed browsing the schedule. Between cocktails and catered meals, there will be PANELS and PLENARY SESSIONS. Some of these clash, so you have to choose; I haven’t planned an itinerary with such interest since Disneyland. Currently, my must-sees are —

1. The Female Body in Early Modern Drama. There’s a paper on boy players, so obviously I’m there. I’m also interested in the paper on Titus Andronicus (wish John-Mark were in attendance) and one on Shakespeare’s older women, entitled “Shakespeare’s Aging Women in Today’s Britain: New Perspectives On Old Faces”. I’m hoping for some discussion of the Countess in All’s Well, and perhaps Hermione – but then maybe she ‘ages’ too briefly?

2. Shakespeare and Religion. Religious angst? Yes please. There’s a paper on The Massacre at Paris, so exciting; my favourite Marlowe play, and underappreciated generally.

3. Shakespeare and Eastern Europe. Performances of Shakespeare in Poland and Cold War Germany. I know nothing about this, but a) it’s performance history, and b) peer pressure – go where your friends are!

4. Narratives of Theatre History. In a shock twist of fate. Although it breaks my heart that this panel clashes with Shakespeare and Education, which has panels on teaching Shakespeare in ESL (I’ve seen ESL performances of Macbeth and The Tempest, and would love to direct one, some day) and via Contextual Approaches. But the Theatre History panel includes a paper on Irving, Poel and the 1891 Duchess of Malfi.

5. Naissance and Renaissance. Starring my lovely colleague Elizabeth Sharrett. Basically, three papers on elements of obstetrics/child-bearing/childbed rituals in Renaissance and post-Reformation drama. Beyond crying over Elizabeth Grymeston’s The Mother’s Legacy to her Unborn Child (emotional distress otherwise reserved for Wilde, Truly Madly Deeply, and any instance of people being cruel to Beethoven), I know nothing save what I tell tourists in the Birthroom. So good.

Speakers in the plenaries include Professor Jonathan Bate, Greg Doran and Dr. Emma Smith. As an undergrad, I only knew Emma by report, as my friends’ tutor. I got to know her better as a postgrad, and very much look forward to her paper.

If you’re reading this & coming to Britgrad, do get in touch – what are you most excited about?

Expect another post on conferences very shortly – if you like women, Shakespeare and performance (or even women performing Shakespeare, who can say), watch this space.

*God, I miss my degree… they’re all much too vulgar to be reblogged here, but ask me when I’ve had a Bellini…

7 thoughts on “BRITGRAD: 17-19 JUNE 2010

  1. fromutopie

    I hate you for having more conference fun than I do. HATE HATE HATE. And Massacre at Paris envy, why cannot I come, why.

    Also I regularly die of migraines in literature.
    Oh why am I even typing this. Am meant to be in Oxford but as yet am NOT.


    1. clamorousvoice Post author

      Hi sweetheart,

      Massacre at Paris is pretty damn exciting – you’d love it. If there are podcasts, I’ll link you.

      Is it okay for me to put you on the blogroll, or have you not gone live etc etc?

      When do you go to Ox?

      You’d have loved Lisa’s work – well, actually, one of her original ideas involved Fanny Burney’s account of her 1811 mastectomy. It’s the only text that’s ever made me feel genuinely queasy, so possibly not great for you!


      1. fromutopie

        I adore Massacre but especially the GLOVES. GLOVES.

        Virginia wrote a v nasty account of some historical woman’s mastectomy too, but I don’t think it was FB’s. Wish I could remember which essay.

        I can be on the blogroll but as yet there’s not much content, because I have little energy for updates. But I’ve made A List of things to write about! So that = progress. xx


  2. Jeremiah Barba

    Hello! I’m leaving tomorrow afternoon for BritGrad and will be at Friday and Saturday of the conference. I’m presenting a paper about potential links between Shakespeare and Cinthio the Italian theorist, focused on an essay about comedy and tragedy by Cinthio. I’m thrilled to be going as well! Hope to meet you there!


  3. Pete Kirwan

    Fascinated to come across this blog (though the title initially made me think I’d finally persuaded Carol Rutter to start keeping one!). I’m at Britgrad too, presenting on the Saturday. It’s a fab conference (fourth time attendee and going strong…). Like you I’m looking forward to the theatre history panels, though I’m particularly interested in the National Identity panel, David Bevington’s plenary lecture on biography and the “genre” discussion on Friday. Should be a good one!


    1. clamorousvoice Post author

      Hi Pete! It was great to meet you at the conference – going to add you to the blogroll if that’s okay. Are we seeing you back in Strat in September?

      S xxx


  4. Pingback: {not the} Thursday Retrospect | Clamorous Voice

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