Shakespeare and the Public: A Symposium

Shakespeare Reloaded team member and Director of ANU’s Humanities Research Centre, Professor Will Christie, recently hosted a two-day symposium on ‘Shakespeare and the Public’ (17-18 February 2016).
Some of the Shakespeare Reloaded team travelled to Canberra to attend – including Professor Liam Semler, Professor Emerita Penny Gay, Dr Linzy Brady, and Dr Claire Hansen. 
The symposium keynote, Paul Yachnin (Tomlinson Professor of Shakespeare Studies and Director of the Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas (IPLAI) at McGill University in Canada), spoke on ‘The public life of the law in Shakespeare’s theatre’. He also spoke with collaborator Desmond Manderson (Future Fellow, ANU) on an innovative model for interdisciplinary teaching in Shakespeare and Law. Yachnin and Manderson developed ‘The McGill Shakespeare Moot Court Project’, in which law students and English students were paired up and asked to write a legal brief for ‘the Court of Shakespeare’. You can find documents and details related to the trials here.  
Our Shakespeare Reloaded team members also presented papers. Liam Semler spoke on ‘Prosperous Teaching’ and discussed ways in which educators may respond to the highly systematised neoliberal environment, in reference to Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Penny Gay spoke on her upcoming revised edition to Cambridge University Press’ Twelfth Night and the performance history of the play. Linzy Brady discussed Cambridge School Shakespeare’s recent edition of Macbeth and the series’ changing approaches to Shakespeare education for secondary students. Claire Hansen discussed the role of the public in Shakespeare’s Roman plays and how this may illuminate the ‘public value’ of the humanities.
Papers were also presented by Hugh Craig (University of Newcastle); Mark Houlahan (University of Waikato); Kate Flaherty (ANU); and David McInnes (University of Melbourne). Topics ranged from statistical analyses of Shakespeare to lost plays, nineteenth century Australian Shakespeare to New Zealand archives.