In our Staging Race and Diversity in Shakespearean Theatre workshop on Monday, a small, racially diverse company of actors performed scenes from Titus Andronicus, Richard II and Macbeth in the candlelit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse.
Each scene was presented multiple times with actors swapping parts and instructions to change the staging given by facilitators Dr Farah Karim-Cooper (Head of Higher Education and Research, Shakespeare’s Globe) and Dr Erika Lin (The
Graduate Center, City University of New York) with Will Tosh.
The discussion, led by symposium panellists Professor Kim F. Hall, Arthur L.Little and Professor Ayanna Thompson opened up questions on how the staging, language and cultural conditioning disadvantaged the actors of colour performing Shakespeare on stage, and in particular, in the candlelit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse.
Some of the main points of the evening were captured by audience member Dr Ambereen Dadabhoy. You can read her tweets here.
How we stage race, how race is staged, how we cast, comission, and stage actors of colour is an ongoing conversation both on and off stage and one that we encourage you to join. Tweet your thoughts using #ShakespeareAndRace.
Shakespeare & Race, 11-18 August, is a festival of events dedicated to the topic of Shakespeare and Race, which includes performances, workshops, public lectures, panels and an international conference. Curated to draw attention to and provide a platform for scholars, practitioners and educators of colour in the teaching, study and performance of Shakespeare, this festival will highlight the importance of race to the consideration of Shakespeare not only in his time, but more urgently, in our own.
Staging Race and Diversity in Shakespearean Theatre was part of our ongoing Research in Action series.
Photography: Pete Le May