Shakespeare and European Theatrical Cultures: AnAtomizing Text and Stage

27 – 30 July 2017
University of Gdansk and The Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre, Poland

Conference announcement

This conference will convene Shakespeare scholars at a theatre that proudly stands in the place where English players regularly performed 400 years ago. This makes us ponder with renewed interest the relation between theatre and Shakespeare. The urge to do so may sound like a commonplace, but it comes to us enhanced by the fact that in the popular and learned imagination alike Shakespeare is inseparable from theatre while the theatre, for four centuries now, first in England, then on the continent (Europe) and eventually in the world, has been more and more strongly defined and shaped by Shakespeare. Shakespeare has become the theatrical icon, a constant point of reference, the litmus paper for the formal, technological and ideological development of the theatre, and for the impact of adaptation and appropriation on theatrical cultures. Shakespeare has served as one of the major sources for the development of European culture, both high and low. His presence permeates the fine shades and fissures of a multifarious European identity. His work has informed educational traditions, and, through forms of textual transmit such as translation and appropriation, has actively contributed to the process of building national distinctiveness. Shakespeare has been one of the master keys and, at the same time, a picklock granting easier access to the complex and challenging space of European and universal values.

We would like to invite papers and talks on the uses of Shakespeare in theatrical cultures across Europe and beyond, with a focus on textual/performative practices, on the educational dimension of Shakespeare in theatre, on the interface between text, film and stage productions, on his impact on popular culture, on Shakespearean traces in European collective and individual memory, and on his broader cultural legacy. We particularly welcome contributions to a debate about deploying Shakespeare in the local and more globally-oriented theatrical cultures, and in cross-cultural exchanges and negotiations.

The conference will take place during Gdansk Shakespeare Festival which has been organised for twenty years and showcases Shakespearean productions from all over the world. Some of the confirmed keynote speakers include Peter Holland, Diana Henderson and Malgorzata Grzegorzewska.

Potential topics to be addressed:

Members of ESRA are invited to propose a panel and/or a seminar that they would be interested in convening. Proposals of 300-500 words (stating topic, relevance and approach) should be submitted by a panel convenor (with the names of the panellists) and 2-3 potential seminar convenors from different countries who have agreed to work together.

Please submit your proposals by 31 May 2016 to: Dr. Aleksandra Sakowska, the Gdansk conference secretary Please contact with any questions about panels and seminars, if any.

Slow mail should be addressed to:
Prof. Jerzy Limon, University of Gdansk, Institute of English and American Studies, ul. Wita Stwosza 51, 80-308 Gdansk, Poland

The conference organisers and the Board of ESRA will confirm their final choice of panels and seminars at the beginning of July 2016. All convenors will be personally informed of the choices made and the list of seminars will be made available on the ESRA and the conference websites.

Organising committee, ESRA 2017:


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