Programme for 2012
'CURTAIN UP!': A Study Day on the life and times of William Shakespeare and his plays in performance 1600-2010
portrait, artist and authenticity unconfirmed
National Portrait Gallery, London
Frances Hughes and
13 March 2012
First Session: Life in Shakespeare's Theatres (c. 70 minutes)
This talk traces the early theatrical influences on the young William Shakespeare in
Stratford-upon-A von, his birthplace, and continues with his life and work in the court and
theatres of Elizabethan and Jacobean London. We shall look at slides of relevant engravings,
paintings, portraits and maps of the period and at contemporary accounts of the first Shakespearean actors.
Shakespeare's plays were first acted in the theatres on the North Bank of the Thames - the Theatre and the Curtain.
We shall discover how the Theatre was demolished and transported to the South Bank of the Thames at Southwark to
be re-built as the Globe. Shakespeare's first plays on the South Bank, however, Titus Andronicus and Henry VI Part 1,
were at the Rose Theatre, Bankside .. We will look at the archaeological discoveries currently being made on the original
sites of the Rose and the Globe and trace where Shakespeare lived in the City.
Shakespeare acted, wrote plays and poetry and also dabbled with a brush. He wore a scarlet livery as a King's Man but
became a wealthy landowner in London and Stratford-upon-Avon. He was a Tudor propagandist and Jacobean visionary but
above all 'he was not for an age but for all time.'
Shakespeare in paintings, prints etc., Geoffrey Ashton (Studio Editions, 1990)
At the Sign of the Swan, Judith Cook (Philimore & Co, 1981)
Shakespeare & Co., Stanley Wells (Allen Lane 2006)
Shakespeare; The Biography, Peter Ackroyd (Chatto & Windus, 2005)
1599, A Year in the Life of Shakespeare (Faber & Faber, 2005)
Second session: A light-hearted anthology 'Shakespeare as you may like it
with Frances Hughes and Adrian McLoughlin (c. 50 minutes)
Third session: Shakespeare in performance 1660-2010 (c. 70 minutes)
In this talk we shall explore Shakespeare's plays in performance from the Restoration to the present day
with especial emphasis on the influence of Elizabethan theatres on the twenty-first century productions of Shakespeare in London.
We will look at images of the greatest British actors in paintings and photography including Betterton, Garrick, Siddons,
Kemble, Kean, Phelps, Irving, Terry, Gielgud, Olivier and Evans.
That Despicable Race, Bryan Forbes (Elm Tree Books, 1980)
Thunder in the Air, Brian Masters (Oberon Books, 2000)
Shakespeare, An illustrated Stage History, Bate & Jackson (OUP, 1996)
Adrian's theatre performances include Singin' in the Rain (West Yorkshire Playhouse and National Theatre),
House and Garden (National Theatre) and Private Fears in Public Places (Orange Tree and New York).
Adrian has appeared in many Ayckbourn plays at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough. TV appearances include The Bill,
Casualty, Coronation Street and Poirot. Adrian has appeared in King Lear, The Tempest
and Measure for Measure.
After a career in Education (18 years as a head teacher) Frances is now a freelance lecturer in Art &
Theatre History. She lectures for NADFAS and at the National Portrait Gallery and the Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon-Avon.
She is Hon. Secretary of the Shakespeare Reading Society (founded 1875) and Chairman of the Irving Society and
the Henry Irving Foundation.