Shakespeare, Technology, Media, Performance

Event Date: 
24 Jun 2017



University of Exeter



This conference will examine the recent significant changes in how Shakespeare’s plays are performed and disseminated through old and new technologies and media.


At one end of the spectrum, through performances in reconstructed early modern theatres, early modern performance technologies have re-entered mainstream culture. The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse is only the most recent example of how early modern technologies and the plays written by Shakespeare’s contemporaries and successors have returned to the cutting edge of present-day theatre.


At the other end of the spectrum, the current production of The Tempest by the RSC in partnership with Intel exemplifies how mainstream theatre companies have, in the wake of productions by smaller companies experimenting with digital and virtual theatre, embraced digital media. The digital revolution has generated new ways of creating characters, moving them across physical and conceptual spaces and reimagining the spectacular technologies of the Jacobean masque. This Tempest is the latest in a string of productions that have made use not only of complex backstage technology but also of social media to reach out to new physical and virtual audiences. Moreover, with the increased use of theatre broadcast technologies, productions of early modern drama can now reach global audiences and be disseminated in a multitude of formats: screened in cinemas or on television, re-edited for educational use, streamed online, sold as DVDs or Blu-Ray discs, extracted on company websites and in promotional tweets, and staged live.


Meanwhile, changes in technology have also affected how early modern drama is remediated on television, in feature films and on our computer screens. We can now find a dizzying range of appropriations and mash-ups of Shakespeare and early modern drama across a variety of online platforms and social media sites, with individuals able to use digital technologies as an entry-point into participating in performance. Technology is thus affecting the production and dissemination of early modern drama along with access to the productions, modes of spectatorship and participation in fan cultures.


This conference is organised and sponsored by Shakespeare Bulletin to mark the end of Pascale Aebischer’s term as General Editor of the journal. It responds to the technological turn in performance studies evident in a significant part of the work submitted to the journal between 2012 and 2017 and aims to bring together a range of scholarly approaches to the technologies of performance that shape the production of Shakespeare and his contemporaries today.


Keynote speakers:

  • Courtney Lehmann (University of the Pacific)
  • Ramona Wray (Queen’s University Belfast)
  • Pascale Aebischer (University of Exeter)


Registration now open:

Submission date for papers: 
27 Feb 2017