Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance Welcoming submissions for an upcoming special issue

Teaching Shakespeare: Digital Processes

Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance

William Shakespeare holds a unique position within education: few other cultural entities can claim to match the range of contact across ages, disciplines and countries that his work, life and cultural impact have produced. The diversity of pedagogical approaches to Shakespeare, therefore, is enormous, a diversity which has become even more widespread with the quickening rate of digital proliferation in everyday life and pedagogy. More than ever, processes are quickly outmoded, updated, disseminated, requiring a constant state of critical reflection. Major publications including Broadcast your Shakespeare: Continuity and change across media (ed. Stephen O'Neill, 2017) and Shakespeare and the digital world: Redefining scholarship and practice (ed. Peter Kirwan and Christie Carson, 2014) have significantly updated the discussions around the digital practices surrounding Shakespeare's work.

Given the vastness of the topic of ‘digital Shakespeare’ that these works exemplify, this 2020 themed issue of RiDE seeks to create space for an in-depth exploration of how digital practices are received and applied in a pedagogical environment. This themed issue seeks to focus on this moment in pedagogy: by provoking, updating and resourcing its international readership, we seek to prompt an investigation and demonstration of the impact of digital technology:

  • on educational processes related to Shakespeare;
  • on the reception of performances for people in a Shakespeare learning environment;
  • on the studying of Shakespeare in non-English speaking countries and educational institutions.

We welcome international submissions from a diversity of backgrounds in pedagogy (teachers, lecturers, learners and practitioners) as well as a diversity of critical backgrounds, methodologies and subject areas including theatre and performance studies, education studies, cultural studies and digital humanities. Examples of Practice as Research are also encouraged and can be supported and hosted across a variety of media which can be supported by RiDE's digital editor, Paul Sutton.

We encourage topics focused on concepts such as:

  • the development of digital pedagogical tools and methodologies as based on individual practice;
  • the relationship between Shakespeare’s early modernity and our contemporary context as mediated digitally;
  • how digital pedagogy has shaped and been shaped by cultural, political and economic values of ‘Shakespeare’;
  • the role of space and place in teaching Shakespeare internationally;
  • how values of performance are held in dialogue with digital technologies onstage, online, and in the classroom;
  • how the rise of digital streaming of performances by established, and often government funded organisations, has a/effected the experience of people both learning about and teaching Shakespeare;
  • how economic and digital literacy factors relate to the accessibility of resources;
  • how the positioning of digitised performance within education environments contributes to on-going critical conversations relevant to live-ness and mediation.

This themed issue will map the challenges teachers of Shakespeare face, but also provide some guidance and potential pathways through the expanding collection online of performance materials, making it a guidebook, a reference manual and a marker of the current present and potential future boundaries of this exciting research area.

Submission Information

Please send proposals of approximately 300 words to both Henry Bell and Amy Borsuk by Friday, 30 March 2018. Full articles will be due on Friday, 7 September 2018 for publication in volume 25, issue 1, 2020.

Editorial Team

Consulting Editor: Dr Christie Carson is Reader in Shakespeare and Performance in the Department of English at Royal Holloway University of London. She is the co-editor of The Cambridge King Lear CD-ROM: Text and Performance Archive (Cambridge, 2000) with Jacky Bratton, Shakespeare’s Globe: A Theatrical Experiment with Farah Karim-Cooper (Cambridge, 2008) and Shakespeare in Stages: New Theatre Histories with Christine Dymkowski (Cambridge, 2010). Over the past ten years she has developed a hybrid approach to criticism which combines the detail and specificity of an English close reading of performance with the desire to situate that close study politically, historically and socially, in line with the methods of theatre history research. The two most recent collections of essays she has co-edited (Shakespeare Beyond English with Susan Bennett (Cambridge, 2013), and Shakespeare and the Digital World with Peter Kirwan (Cambridge, 2014), are designed to be the culmination of that work.

Co-Editor: Dr Henry Bell has been a Lecturer of Performance Studies at Sheffield Hallam University since September 2016. Prior to this position he worked as a professional theatre director and applied theatre practitioner, holding the post of Associate Director at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough UK between 2013 and 2016, Community, Education and Literary Director at the Orange Tree Theatre, London between 2009 and 2013 as well as working at Shakespeare's Globe, the Almeida Theatre and various fringe venues across the UK. During this period he delivered applied theatre projects relating to Shakespeare to over 60,000 young people and adult learners.

Co-Editor: Amy Borsuk is a PhD candidate and teaching associate in Drama at Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL). Her current research examines ideologies, politics, praxis and public discourses of 'radical', 'progressive' and 'innovative' Shakespearean theatre at institutional London theatres in the 21st century. Her digital humanities-focused research includes her practice-based-research MA dissertation at QMUL and her contributions to the Scalar book Performing Archive: Curtis and the Vanishing Race (2013) at Scripps College, CA. As a dramaturg, she has worked for Center Theatre Group Los Angeles, The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles, and London director Michael Howcroft. She is also a contributing writer for Exeunt Magazine.