Speaking of Shakespeare Link

Speaking of Shakespeare
The GUILD's next engagement will be a SPEAKING OF SHAKESPEARE program at 8 p.m. on Monday, January 29, in Manhattan's National Arts Club (15 Gramercy Park South). This conversation will focus on the efforts of Stephen Burdman, founder and artistic director of the New York Classical Theatre.Three days later, as part of a February 1 luncheon gathering at the Woman's National Democratic Club in Washington, we'll talk with actor and director Keith Baxter, who'll be playing the Gravedigger in a production of "Hamlet" that Michael Kahn will be directing as part of his concluding season at the Shakespeare Theatre Company. More SOS dates, special guests, and enticing topics will be announced shortly.

We opened our 2017-18 SOS season on Friday, October 6, with educator Joanna Read, who heads the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). A few days later, on Wednesday, October 18, we enjoyed a delightful evening with Washington Post theater critic Peter Marks. Then on Monday, November 6, we chatted with WNET executive Stephen Segaller, who offered a sneak preview of this spring's attractions in a series called "Shakespeare Uncovered," a three-year, 18-episode co-production with the BBC that provides scintillating introductions to some of the most popular plays in the dramatic repertory.

On June 12 we completed our 2016-17 SOS season with an informative conversation that featured arts executive Julian Bird. Mr. Bird oversees both the Society of London Theatre, the producers' organization that presents the West End's Olivier Awards each spring, and UK Theatre, a consortium, formerly known as the Theatrical Management Association (TMA), that represents performing-arts institutions throughout the United Kingdom. UK Theatre now hosts the GUILD's annual GIELGUD AWARD festivities, and we're pleased to announce that the recipient of this year's trophy, to be presented Sunday, October 15, in London's historic Guildhall, will be playwright Sir David Hare.

We opened the second half of our 2016-17 SPEAKING OF SHAKESPEARE series at the National Arts Club on January 18 and February 22 with Jean E. Howard of Columbia University and Shane Ann Younts of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. A few weeks later, on March 22, we chatted with Sarah Enloe of the American Shakespeare Center. On April 26 and 27 we enjoyed richly informative engagements with film historian Samuel Crowl and director Karin Coonrod. Our dialogue with Ms. Coonrod was a sequel to a March 2016 conversation that focused on a historic July 2016 production of "The Merchant of Venice." We revisited not only the performance itself, but a timely symposium (with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg presiding over deliberations that featured F. Murray Abraham, Stephen Greenblatt, and James Shapiro) that was covered by the New York Times. The following month, on Thursday, May 25, we put the spotlight on arts patron Nancy Zeckendorf.

During 2016 our signature SPEAKING OF SHAKESPEARE series at Manhattan's National Arts Club featured scintillating conversations with producer Ralph Alan Cohen, who introduced NAC constituents to the American Shakespeare Center in Virginia; director Karin Coonrod, who previewed a high-profile Merchant in Venice that marked the 500th anniversary of the original Ghetto; writers Alison Gopnik of the University of California at Berkeley and her brother Adam Gopnik of the New Yorker, who talked about the importance of play in early childhood development; Shakespeare Survey editor Peter Holland of the University of Notre Dame, who shared trenchant observations about a number of recent developments; educator Peggy O'Brien of the Folger Shakespeare Library, who talked about the support she and her colleagues provide for teachers and students around the nation; University of London professor Kiernan Ryan, who offered a new way of thinking about Shakespeare's "universality"; and director Louis Scheeder of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, who described the kinds of preparation that are essential for aspiring drama professionals.

Along the way the GUILD arranged an informative DC luncheon at the Woman's National Democratic Club with executive director Diana Owen of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon. And we helped bring several events to Anerica's oldest capital city, a setting that dates back to the months in 1610 when a visionary playwright was contemplating a shipwreck that had occurred in our "brave new world" and composing The Tempest. In January we took part in a Lensic Performing Arts Center benefit that featured EVER THE TWAIN: William Shakespeare in Mark Twain's America. In February we hosted a dialogue at the New Mexico Museum of Art with biographer Stephen H. Grant about Collecting Shakespeare: The Story of Henry and Emily Folger. And finally, during an October presentation that served as prelude for a show to be mounted in August of 2017, we co-sponsored The Poet's Eye, a medley of Bardic music and verse that helped dedicate a new feature at the Santa Fe Botanical Garden: a magic circle that evokes such predecessors as a classical Greek amphitheater, a "Wooden O" like the Bankside Globe, and the Zia sun symbol that adorns New Mexico's state flag. A few weeks ago we returned to the Garden for a show that concluded with Prospero's farewell to his own "bare island."

If you wish to join and receive periodic updates from THE SHAKSPEARE GUILD, we invite you to visit our Membership page for types of affiliation. There you'll find a link to a page where you can register for events, enroll as a GUILD member, or provide a tax-exempt donation. Meanwhile, if you'd like additional background on the Guild's signature SPEAKING OF SHAKESPEARE series, which began in 1998 at the NATIONAL PRESS CLUB in Wasshington, click here.