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Shakespeare Week

Shakespeare Week 23 – 26 April 2018

Could the man we know as Shakespeare really be responsible for the 37 plays and 154 sonnets universally considered to be among the greatest ever written?

It’s an enduring question, which has divided academics and enthusiasts for centuries. Literary greats, from Mark Twain to Orson Welles, were not convinced; while celebrated actors Sir Mark Rylance and Sir Derek Jacobi went even further, signing a declaration of reasonable doubt that William Shakespeare of Stratford upon Avon wrote the plays.

But is the ‘mystery’ rooted in any truth? Join us for a week of events that delve deeper into the authorship question while celebrating the very best of the Bard. Throughout the week Brunel will also be putting on display the Shakespeare Special Collection from our library, and elaborate costumes designed and made for Sir Mark’s play I am Shakespeare. 

Our speakers for the week

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Debate schedule 

The Bard Debate: did Shakespeare really write the plays?
Monday 23 April 2018

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Two tireless proponents of The Bard’s back catalogue - Prof Alan H Nelson from the University of Berkeley, California, and Dr Ros Barber from Goldsmith’s University – debate whether the “man from Stratford” could possibly have penned the plays now considered to be among the greatest ever written. Based upon their own rigorous research they will debate the now infamous authorship question before asking the audience to pick a side. Brunel’s own Shakespearean scholar Prof William Leahy will moderate. It’s a subject that produces passionate points of view, so we’re expecting a heated discussion.

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Shakespeare was a fake  (…and I can prove it)
Tuesday 24 April 2018

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By deciphering early edition encryptions, tracing hidden geometries and decoding grid patterns, Alexander Waugh says he can prove Shakespeare was not only a myth, he was actually Edward De Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford and he’s currently buried in Westminster Abbey. If true, the spirited scholar (who happens to be the grandson of novelist Evelyn Waugh) has lifted the lid on one of the most enduring mysteries of our time. Fantastical claim or revolutionary revelation? Decide for yourself as Alexander shares his evidence.

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‘I Am Shakespeare’, presented by Sir Mark Rylance and Friends
Wednesday 25 April 2018

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Academy Award-winner Sir Mark Rylance makes his much-anticipated return to Brunel, this time with friends, for an evening of readings from his own play ‘I am Shakespeare’. A dramatic exploration of the Shakespeare authorship question, the play explores everything from academic conspiracy to obsession, and the question of what makes a genius. Join us for an entertaining evening with one of the foremost actors of our time.

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Brexit, Trump and The Bard’s legacy: do Shakespeare’s plays still matter?
Thursday 26 April 2018

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They appear on school curriculums across the world, and so many lines have made their way into common parlance – but why should we still care about Shakespeare? That’s the question that Brunel Professors William Leahy and Tom Betteridge will argue over – and they’ll be asking the audience to join the discussion. So, can we see shadows of Richard III in Donald Trump? Would The Bard have baulked at Brexiteers? Join us for a lively look at Shakespeare’s legacy.

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How to get here

Shakespeare Week will be taking place in the Eastern Gateway Auditorium. When you come onto campus via the main entrance it will be the first building on your right. Once inside, there will be clear signs to direct you to where you need to go. 

As Shakespeare Week is classed as a public event and the debates are all in the evening time you are allowed to park on campus free of charge as long as you arrive after 4.30pm. However, we can not guarantee that there will be be a space for your vehicle so if you do choose to drive please come in good time in order to find a place to park. If you choose to walk, bike or use public transport please click here to find the best routes to get onto campus.  

For more information about the event please contact the team on events@brunel.ac.uk

Connect with us #BrunelShakespeareWeek