I started a write-up of Britgrad on Sunday, the day after it finished. I didn’t know where to begin – certainly, the quantity of booze consumed with the good people of Exeter University on Saturday night (why has Plymouth overtaken you as the party college of the UK?) didn’t help me separate out the memories of excellent research and fabulous speakers from the nagging conviction that my head was on fire and my eyes too big for their skull.
To make Clamorous Voice a time capsule, just for a moment – if you find this post while deliberating on whether to attend Britgrad 2011, do it. For anybody daunted by the prospect of launching their paper-giving, or even just their conference-attending career, do it in Stratford. The diversity of papers is such that, even if you’re technically a nineteenth-century scholar looking exclusively at performance histories post-1860 (…for example), there will be plenty of research that speaks to yours, and plenty of similarly obsessive geeks who can spot Irving’s intonation in Laurence Olivier’s Richard III, or draw parallels between the situation in Cold War Germany and the tumult of the 1843 Patents Act (…for example).
I can only hope Writing About Women In Shakespearian Performance is as successful, and I know I’ll be mining the (excellent, extensive) Britgrad committee for help & advice over the next couple of months.
Dr Sophie Duncan is Fellow in English at Christ Church, University of Oxford. She works regularly as a historical advisor and as a dramaturg for theatre, TV, radio and film. She likes theatre, detective fiction and cocktails.