Territory, Politics and Performance in Tudor England

Event Date: 
22 Jun 2017 to 23 Jun 2017

Northumbria University

Plenary speakers:

  • Professor Andrew Hadfield (University of Sussex)
  • Professor Jessica Winston (Idaho State University)


The UK’s decision to leave the European Union constitutes the most momentous separation of British-European political culture since the Protestant Reformation. As scholarly and public interest in ideas of British political identity continues to sharpen, this conference explores themes of division and devolution in drama written at the dawn of the British Empire. Looking to Britain’s uncertain future by learning about its past can tell us much about how literature responds to drastic political change, not least in terms of the territories (real and imagined) with which it is invested.


This conference seeks to address questions relating to territory and politics in the embryonic years of British empire, and to explore how questions relating to political locality were being unpacked through the medium of dramatic performance. The tumultuous reigns of the Tudors saw English dramaturgy assume a heightened political focus, and notions of local, territorial identity were brought into dialogue with perspectives on the nation’s place within an emerging imperial framework. From Norton and Sackville’s Gorboduc to Shakespeare’s history plays, internal ‘British’ tensions were repeatedly interrogated against the international political autonomies of England, Britain, and Europe. During this time of unprecedented political change, models of regional authority were invoked and critiqued through the discourse of the body politic, and nuances of territorial allegiance and political performance were being explored on the increasingly popular stage.



Thursday 22 June



09:15               Registration*


09:45               Welcome address**


10:00:             Plenary


Andrew Hadfield, University of Sussex, ‘Thomas Nashe Against Empire’


11:00:             Coffee***


11:30:                         Panel 1


Fred Schurink, Manchester University, ‘Love’s Labour’s Lost and Linguistic Nationalism: “extravagant”, “peregrinate”, and “straying” Words’


Bill Angus, Massey University, ‘Mobility and Paradox: Crossroads and the Unquiet Dead’


Mike Pincombe, Newcastle University, ‘Borders and Centres in William Baldwin’s Elegy on the Death of Edward VI (1553)’


13:00:             Lunch, Business and Law Building, Ground Floor Café



13:45:                         Panel 2


Katherine Steele Brokaw, University of California-Merced, ‘The Roll of the Dice and the Whims of Fate in Tudor Morality Drama’


Brian Gourley, ‘The Festive Performance of John Bale’s Three Laws & Kyng Johan as Henrician Propaganda Against The Pilgrimage of Grace & Reginald Pole’s Defence of the Unity of The Church


Darcy Kern, Southern Connecticut State University, ‘The Drama of History: The Roman Empire and Early Tudor Politics’


15:15:             Coffee


15:45:             Panel 3


Amy Lidster, King’s College London, ‘‘Be it thy course to busy giddy minds| With foreign quarrels’: Repositioning the Reigns of Henry V and Edward III in the Commercial Drama of the 1590s’


Mike Rodman-Jones, University of Nottingham, ‘Performing the (Pre-)      Reformation Past: Nostalgia and the Politics of Popular Theatre’


Richard Stacey, University of Glasgow, ‘Shakespeare, James and the Northern Yorkists’



19:00               Conference Dinner: Ernest Restaurant, 1 Boyd St, Ouseburn





Friday 23 June



10:00:             Panel 4


Neil Rhodes, University of St Andrews, ‘Sir Thomas Smith and Spenser’s plan for The Faerie Queene


Gretchen Smith, Southern Methodist University, ‘The Royal Body as Geographic Text’


Lily Filson, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, ‘Tudor England and the Performance of Wonders: Technology and Magic in the Employ of Empire’



11:30:             Coffee



12:00:                         Plenary


Jessica Winston, Idaho State University, ‘Gorboduc Now! The First English Tragedy in Twentieth- and Twenty-first Century Performance’



13:00:             Lunch, Business and Law Building, Ground Floor Café



13:45:                         Panel 5


Monika Smialkowska, Northumbria University, ‘Local Patriotism: Rewriting the Tudor Past in Burnley, 1916’


Natalie Mears, Durham University, ‘The Tudors and Stuarts in Contemporary Productions of Opera’


Elizabeth Evenden-Kenyon, Brunel University, ‘Teaching European Early Modern Drama and Student Interaction in Post-Brexit Britain’



15:15:             Coffee



15:45:                         Closing Presentation and Roundtable Discussion


Harriet Archer and Paul Frazer, ‘Editing, Territory, and Politics: Gorboduc and other Tudor texts’ – followed by group, round-table discussion





Conference Organisers:


Harriet Archer, University of Colorado Boulder, harriet.archer@gmail.com

Paul Frazer, Northumbria University, paul.frazer@northumbria.ac.uk



*          Business and Law Building, Ground Floor Reception, City Campus East

**        All panels take place in Room 009

***      All coffee breaks in Room 007



Submission date for papers: 
01 Mar 2017
PDF icon Call for Papers340.62 KB
PDF icon Programme102.29 KB