Centre for Studies in Literature

Conference 2016: Shakespearean Communities

University of Portsmouth, 14th-16th April 2016

To mark the 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, the Centre for Studies in Literature and the Centre for European and International Studies Research at the University of Portsmouth are holding a conference on ‘Shakespearean Communities’ celebrating Shakespeare’s life, work and influence. A wealth of scholarship has explored Shakespeare and his contemporary world, where communities were being created, contested and redefined. The persecution of religious minorities, the discovery of the new world, the growing importance of the mercantile class and the spread of the printed text, tested and redrew ideas of community and fellowship.  Subsequently, too, Shakespeare’s work has provoked and created new communities of audience and performers in a variety of formats, from the stage to the text to the screen. Indeed, Shakespeare continues to provide different ways in which academics and theatre practitioners can work with communities. The conference organisers, specialists in early modern literature and history, aim to bring together scholars working on various aspects of Shakespeare’s - or Shakespearean - communities, to reconsider the ways in which community helps us to think about/reassess the legacy of his work. Confirmed keynote speakers are Professor John Drakakis and Professor Russell Jackson.

Thanks to the generosity of the Society of Renaissance Studies, we are able to offer a number of postgraduate bursaries, to contribute towards the costs of postgraduates attending the conference.

We are delighted to announce a special evening event on Thursday 14th April, to welcome our conference delegates. We will be screening a showing of a silent Shakespeare film – Hamlet (1921), starring Asta Nielsen. We are very excited to be welcoming the renowned musician and silent film pianist, Neil Brand to perform at the screening. The event will take place at 7pm, and will include a wine reception. More details to follow with the online booking system.

Shakespearean Communities - conference 2016
Conference 2016: Shakespearean Communities. Image: Sheldon Tapestry, Victoria and Albert Museum.

The conference is open to scholars at all academic stages, postgraduate to Professor, and those working from a variety of disciplinary perspectives (Literature, History, Adaptation, Film Studies and beyond) - including theatre and visual art practitioners with an interest in ‘Shakespearean Communities’. 

Book your place


We intend papers on all aspects of this theme, including but not restricted to:

  • Early Modern Theatrical Communities
  • Local Communities in Shakespeare’s England
  • Religious Communities
  • Legal communities
  • National and/or ethnic communities
  • Textual communities
  • Communities of family and friendship
  • Writing Communities: Shakespeare’s influence & afterlives
  • Artists and Illustrators of Shakespeare
  • Acting Communities: Performers of Shakespeare, past & present

Programme: Shakespearean Communities pdf, 48.1KB

Download the programme for the 2016 CSL conference, Shakespearean Communities.


Further information

For more details, please contact Dr Jessica Dyson, Dr Katy Gibbons, Dr Fiona McCall and Dr Bronwen Price at shakespearean-communities@port.ac.uk  by 31st January 2016.

Society of Renaissance Studies