Category: Shakespeare Plus

This is where you can connect to Shakespeare and the Renaissance: a fabulous place to be!

Shakespeare’s The Tempest

This is Shakespeare’s most imaginative and meaningful piece of theatre.  Today we began watching the Globe Theatre’s amazing recent production starring Roger Allam. This production takes you into the heart of the Globe Theatre and presents the play as close as one can imagine to how it would have appeared in Shakespeare’s own time. See…

12th Night and Shakespeare’s Sonnets

What a wonderful gift to have Professor Barry Spurr gracing us with his extraordinarily insightful lecture on Shakespeare’s Sonnets. Barry provided a rich intellectual context for seeing how Shakespeare’s sonnets (and plays), emanating from an author with a middle-class background, were deeply subversive of the hierarchy in England and also of the Italian influence. It…

Ben Jonson, Thomas More, Roger Ascham, Thomas Hoby (Castiglione), Philip Sidney, Mary Wroth, Francis Bacon: Humanism…

What a wail of a day we have had coursing through this amazing gallery of Renaissance delights! Ben Jonson’s wonderful poems about his dinner table and the reading he supplies for his guests- and then his savage poem about eating too much “On Guts” : Gut eats all day, and lechers all the night…. Lust…

King Lear- Final

Reading Shakespeare’s King Lear in the context of Erasmus’ amazing Praise of Folly brings the depth of this play into focus. Erasmus, writing about the state of the world in the 16th Century, could be writing about the world today and Shakespeare really seems to pick up on these insights: “ Now, what else is the whole…

Renaissance Art (at the NSW Gallery), The Shakespeare Room & Shakespeare Resources at Sydney’s State Library

The high point of our “outing” yesterday was seeing “in the flesh” the original first folio edition of Shakespeare’s works. There was a stillness and expectancy in the room as this $5,000,000 treasure was unveiled and positioned on a pillow. With gloves the first pages were turned until we arrived at the wonderful celebratory poem…

The Historical and Poetic Contexts of Richard III

For this week we explored the world of Elizabeth 1st, Edmund Spenser’s The Fairie Queene,  and Christopher Marlowe’s Faustus together with Thomas More’s incendiary damnation of Richard III (from which Shakespeare borrowed furiously in order to keep in good with his reigning monarch!). What an amazing world this was: a time of hysterical misogyny where women were…

Richard III: Bell Shakespeare- Sydney Opera House

What an amazing performance of Richard III with Kate Mulvany in the lead role. The extraordinary relevance of her presence as Richard was amplified by her physical condition, mirroring Richard’s own adolescent idiopathic scoliosis or curvature of the spine. This is the condition that Kate felt helped to shape Richard’s response to the world in which…

Shakespeare Plus 2017

Hello All, we now begin our Shakespeare Blogs for 2017. We have had a wonderful launch into a Shakespearean autumn with Bell Shakespeare’s  Richard III awaiting us on Wednesday 15th March. As a preamble to that we have explored the context of the European Renaissance and 16th Century England. What a time that was with…

Top 19th Century Lit ePortfolios ACU 2016

There were some truly outstanding ePortfolios in this group of ACU students celebrating their experience and insight into the work of Romantic poets and the fiction of Charles Dickens, George Eliot and Tolstoy among others. The focus questions underpinning these ePortfolios were Writers and artists in the 19th Century were preoccupied with trying to solve the…

Shakespeare Performances 2016

What a wonderful collection of performances from the Shakespeare group today: scenes from Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, King Lear and The Tempest. What a treat! So well done, with little time for rehearsal and yet so much learned about what it needs to bring Shakespeare to life on the stage. I am sure that you all see…

The Tempest Part 2

  Shakespeare’s The Tempest is a play about many things; in one way it is as the large as The Globe itself! However, at its heart it is concerned with the power of art, of drama, of poetry, of music as transformative agents in a crazy, greedy world full of conflict and opposition. If Shakespeare’s message could…

King Lear & Cordelia

How can we understand Cordelia’s confrontation with her father King Lear? In the Edwin Sherin directed version with James Earl Jones as Lear,  staged in Central Park New York, King Lear’s violence seems to provoke a response in Cordelia which is a mirror of her father. Like father like daughter? Is there any grace in this Cordelia,…

Education of the inner self: Dickens, Mill, Arnold, Newman

The Nineteenth Century was as “distracted from distraction by distraction“as we all are in the early years of the Twenty First Century. The messages sent to us by the “poets” of the inner-self in Victorian England (Dickens, Arnold, Newman … and others) are as relevant to us now as they were then. Matthew Arnold had…

Shakespeare/ Victorianism & Charles Dickens – Week 6

Thomas Carlyle the great Victorian historian, close friend of Charles Dickens wrote these wonderful words which have been carved in stone in the foyer to the Mitchell ( State Library) in Sydney. This is where many of us visited the Shakespeare Room this week. But for those of studying Charles Dickens and Victorianism, these words…

Romeo & Juliet- Bell Shakespeare

This would have to be one of the liveliest, most powerful productions of Romeo and Juliet! Congratulations to the director, Peter Evans and the whole cast who brought the inner significance of this play so vividly, so entertainingly alive. In his pre-performance interview Peter Evans had spoken about the vitality of Juliet as a character. And Kelly…

Best WordPress ePortfolios for Autumn 2015: Shakespeare and the Nineteenth Century

These students have been blogging as they have been studying Nineteenth Century Literature and The Age of Shakespeare. Some of these students have been doing both courses. They each had to showcase their best blogs and also write a Summative Comment explaining what they have learned from the course and how the content still has…

Budjwa Bay: Muoagamarra Nature Reserve Near Cowan, NSW- Early Sunday Morning Walk

The image at the top of this site is Budjwa Bay as it manifested itself on this cold, wet winter morning. But the stillness, the freshness was deafening, except for the multi-coloured calls of the Lyre Birds from across the water. Here is a place to sit and absorb the quiet round about and hear the quiet inside. What…

Winter is upon us! But the Bush is still a fabulous place to enter…

Made it to the top of the ridge above Galston, early on Saturday morning. The air was fresh and there were beautifully icy mists swirling up from the Gorge to the valley tops (click on all images to get stunning resolutions):  On the ridge tops there was an amazing array of winter flowering plant life:…

Final Night Clemente/ Catalyst Students at Mission Australia Surry Hills: Shakespeare

Arthur Enfield (Stained Glass) The Seven Ages of Man (Shakespeare As You Like It), State Library of NSW. What a fabulous outcome! All our doubts, uncertainties, wrestling with difficult words, produced an amazing and satisfying presentation of sections of As You Like It. This was the culmination of our course Introduction to Literature which ran for 12 weeks: 4…

An Event Not to be Missed: Grounding the Sacred in Literature and the Arts at ACU July 23-26th

In July this year (23-26) we are co-ordinating an international conference on the links between Literature, the Arts and the Sacred. We have an amazing line-up of participants including David Malouf, Genevieve Lacey, Kevin Hart, Vivien Johnson, Kathleen Deignan, David Jasper, Imam Afroz Ali, Maeve Heaney, Carmel Bird, Michael McGirr, Joelene Griffith and many more.…

Shakespeare the Magician, Transforming A World of Enmity into a Holy Place- The Tempest

In The Tempest Shakespeare takes on all the hostility in the world and uses the extraordinary magic of his art to transform hostility into love- then and now! This is in fact the signature of all his comedies and romances and maybe even the implied cathartic outcome of that series of desperate tragedies (Othello, King Lear,…

All the World’s a Stage – and are we really nothing but players?? Rehearsals! Clemente/Catalyst students

In 3 weeks time the Clemente/ Catalyst students have to present extracts from As You Like It to a public audience at the MAC (Mission Australia Centre) Surry Hills. We are going to begin with a dramatised reading of Jacques’s speech (perhaps the most famous speech in all of Shakespeare): “All the world’s a stage, And all…

Falstaff and Prince Hal

Falstaff is one of those amazing characters who, although from many points of view, is just a “bad” man, from other points of view he is the life of the party! Intelligent, witty, full of good humour, full of appreciation of the good things in life and scathing about those things that drive ambition: “honour”,…

Clemente/Catalyst Students Go the NSW Art Gallery: The Links between Literature and Art!

One of the most exciting things I do several times each year is conduct literature students to the NSW Art Gallery to explore the ways in which paintings and sculptures can hugely expand our understanding of the way literature communicates meaning. One of my students (thank you Joey!) right at the start of our tour…

Clemente/ Catalyst students visit NSW State Library and Shakespeare Room

What a great introduction to our imminent study of/ participation in a production of scenes from Shakespeare’s As You Like It! Thank you Julie for your wonderful tour of the resources in the Mitchell Library, the Dixon Library and the Shakespeare Room itself! We were taken through the Mitchell (fabulous space for letting the creative spirit soar!)…

Shakespeare’s Falstaff and Henry IV

Today we had some fabulous tutorials exploring the kind of language Shakespeare uses in the opening scenes of Henry IV. Here is the king trying to bind together his empire with a proposal that all the civil warmongering British unite in one force and go on a crusade to rescue Jerusalem from the “infidels”. This is such…

Top Blogs- First Cull Autumn 2015

My students are performing miracles with their blogs. They are grasping and extending the content of the literature they are studying in the most creative ways. Poems and prose creations -giving expression to their own experience- are being grounded on traditional models from Shakespeare through to Charles Dickens & Matthew Arnold. Along with this they are…

Thomas Carlyle’s Wonderful Words Celebrating the Continuing Importance of the Printed Word

At the State Library Today, we also genuflected in front of these amazing words from that extraordinary 19th Century wordsmith, the historian Charles (to whom Dickens dedicated his Hard Times). To anyone who still reads and benefits from the written word, these words carved in Sydney sandstone inside the vestibule to the Mitchell Library will have a…

Art in the Age of Shakespeare: A Distant Mirror over 450 Years Ago!

Thank you all for your keen participation in today’s visit to the Renaissance section of the NSW Art Gallery. We all got a very good taste of the range of  art work from the period and the connections of all this work to Shakespeare’s imagination. Most powerfully this painting by Jacques Blanchard Mars and the Vestal…

The Shakespeare Room: State Library of NSW- into the bosom of Shakespeareana.

We visited the Shakespeare Room in the State Library today. This room is a wonderful expression of how much Shakespeare has meant to the Australian colony since the time of Captain Cook. One of the first plays ever to be produced in Sydney was in fact Henry IV with a complete convict cast! When you get to…