Widening the Shakespeare Circle: the Playwright, the Diplomat and the Theatricality of Everyday Life
Carol Rutter (Professor of Shakespeare and Performance Studies at the University of Warwick) delivers this year's lecture, 'Widening the Shakespeare Circle: the Playwright, the Diplomat and the Theatricality of Everyday Life'
Stanley Wells urges us to consider Shakespeare "not as a lone eminence but as a fully paid-up member'"of his theatrical community. And further than that: he asks us to imagine Shakespeare connected in a 'circle' of familiarity to persons he encountered throughout his life, persons whose stories deserve telling in their own right -- but also because their stories inform his.
This lecture aims to 'widen the Shakespeare circle' Stanley Wells originally described. It proposes a parallel life between the playwright and his contemporary, the diplomat Henry Wotton. The one put fictions of embassy onto the London stage. The other, appointed ambassador to Venice Republic in 1604, performed versions of those fictions for real on the Republic's political stage. Did their paths ever cross? Maybe. But in any case, they moved in intersecting circles. The theatrical lives lived by the playwright and the diplomat gain from being read by each other's light.
About the Speaker
Carol Chillington Rutter is Professor of Shakespeare and Performance Studies at the University of Warwick. Her books include Clamorous Voices: Shakespeare's Women Today (1988); Enter the Body: Women and Representation on Shakespeare's Stage (2001); Shakespeare and Child's Play: Performing Lost Boys on Stage and Screen(2007); and Antony and Cleopatra in Performance(2020). She is a National Teaching Fellow and holds a Warwick Award for Teaching Excellence. She has served as Trustee of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and is series editor of Shakespeare in Performance (Manchester University Press). Her current project is Lying Abroad: Henry Wotton and the Performance of Diplomacy.