Ilmington Parish Council



Shakespeare Club rosette, 1930s.


2018-9  195th season of the Club
President Emma Rice
Life Vice President: Roger Pringle

The Club meets monthly eight times a year between October and May.
All meetings are held at the Shakespeare Institute, Mason Croft, Church St., Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6HP. Meetings begin at 7.45 unless otherwise stated. Parking is available at the rear of the building with access from Chestnut Walk. For more information email
Minutes of past meetings this season may be found here

David Fallow, Honorary Fellow, (Honorary Fellow Research)  Exeter University
“The Exhumation of Rotted Corpses”
How would Early Modern audiences have understood Hamlet’s actions in the “gravedigger” scene in Hamlet V, I ?
Parish burial records, Coroner’s court papers and popular pamphlets of the day can all be excellent sources of background material when considering the historical context of William Shakespeare’s plays.  But even when they are factually correct they do not guarantee relevancy.   Coroner’s courts of the time often exhumed corpses in their search for answers.

David M. Howe, Formerly Warwickshire’s Chief  Inspector of Schools and County English Advisor
Shakespeare and Comedy:  are his themes still topical?
What did Shakespeare seem to think would make people laugh in his comedies and how far do these subjects still feature in today’s comedy.

Emma Rice, Actress, Director and Theatre Professional
President,  Season 2018/19
The Trouble with Shakespeare
I’ve always had trouble with Shakespeare and have spoken about it on many occasions.  In my interview for Artistic Director at Shakespeare’s Globe I was directly asked  “can you learn to love Shakespeare?”  I replied “That’s why I am here”.
“The Trouble with Shakespeare” will explore Emma Rice’s turbulent relationship with Shakespeare from A Level to Drama School, Actor to Director and Artistic Director to Wise Child.  Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

Jeremy (Jem) Bloomfield, Assistant Professor in Medieval and Early Modern Literature, University of Nottingham
Motive and Malignity:  Shakespeare and the Golden Age Detective Novel
The detective novels of Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy L. Sayers and Margery Allingham are classics of their genre, and have caused the 1920s and 30s to be described at the Golden Age of the whodunit.  Despite not being regarded as serious literature, they weave an intriguing set of textual engagements with the plays of Shakespeare and some of his contemporaries.  In this talk, Jem Bloomfield will explore the playful and profound use of Shakespeare in the Golden Age crime novel, showing how these authors drew on the playwright to engage their readers in an intellectual and emotional world of crime.

Miriam Gilbert, Emeritus Professor,  Department  of English,  University of Iowa, USA
Henry V:  Hero-King or Scourge-of-God?
What does performance – on stage and screen – tell us about contrasting views of this familiar but now controversial character?   How have performances from Olivier to Tom Hiddleston  changed, and changed our perception of Henry V?  By focusing on a single speech (Henry’s threats to Harfleur), we’ll consider strategies by both actors and directors to deal with one of the play’s most troubling scenes.

Anthony (Tony) Howard, Professor English and Comparitive Literature Studies, University of Warwick
Paul Robeson’s Othello:  1930-1959
Paul Robeson played Othello in three productions – in London, America and Stratford-upon-Avon.  Each version reflected changes in his own life, developments in political history, and the state of race relations in Britain and America.  This talk will discuss the three productions – and consider the significance of Robeson’s  theatrical  career  for the development of multicultural Shakespeare in the UK.

Russell Jackson, Emeritus Professor of Drama, University of Birmingham
Trevor Nunn, Shakespeare and the RSC
This illustrated talk will offer an assessment of the work of one of the most influential directors of Shakespeare to emerge during the last half-century.  During his tenure as artistic director of the RSC, from 1968 to 1985, Sir Trevor Nunn directed some of the company’s most successful productions.  Several of them effectively redefined the plays by opening up new approaches to them.  Such were The Winter’s Tale (with Judi Dench as both Hermione and Perdita), All’s Well that Ends Well (with  Peggy Ashcroft and  Harriet Walter) in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Macbeth and – returning in 1989 as a ‘guest’ director – Othello in the ‘old’ Other Place.

TUESDAY, 14 MAY 2019
Paul Prescott, Assistant Professor , University of Warwick
The National Parks have been called America’s best idea, and the American tradition of free Shakespeare in the Park is perhaps its second best idea.  For the last three years, Paul has co-produced site- specific  versions of Shakespeare in Yosemite National Park, California.  This richly illustrated talk will reflect on the resonance and relevance of Shakespeare’s works in one of the most beautiful places on the planet.

Quick Links

The Story of the Shakespeare Club of Stratford-upon-Avon
'Long life to the Club call'd Shakspearean'

By Susan Brock and Sylvia Morris
Order here.