L-R: Prof Schwyzer, Prof Zhang, Prof Zhu, Prof McRae and Prof Tan

‘Shakespearean Adaptations Exeter-Fudan Colloquium’ success

Students and academics from across the globe took part in the College of Humanities ‘Shakespearean Adaptation’ colloquium, hosted by the Department of English and led by experts in the field.

The prestigious cross-global event brought together a collection of individuals from Exeter, Europe, China and beyond to discuss cross-cultural adaptations of England’s greatest playwright with a particular interest in relationships between China and the West.

The colloquium, which was enjoyed by staff and students from within the English, Film Studies, Modern Languages and Drama departments, and a large group of students partaking in the University of Exeter’s International Summer School, provided an opportunity for discussion on theatrical productions, films, translations, and the use of Shakespeare on the literature and culture of subsequent centuries.

The event began with a public lecture on Thursday 1 August led by the prestigious film director Professor Don Boyd, Honorary Professor at the University of Exeter and Governor of the London Film School. Professor Boyd’s animated lecture ‘Hamlet in China’ provided the audience with an insight into the fascinating discoveries he made in 2006 when commissioned by the BBC to stage a modern-dress production of Shakespeare’s great play.  Boyd’s film footage revealed a glimpse of rehearsals, locations, and made clear his methodology when he considered staging the production.

The colloquium continued on Friday 2 August with a total of nine speakers partaking in a series of panel discussions.  Amongst the speakers were esteemed guests Professor Zhang, Professor Zhu and Professor Tan, from Fudan University’s School of Foreign Languages and Literature, Shanghai.  The guests were invited to visit the University as part of the College’s exploration of a wide range of opportunities for future collaboration with Fudan University as part of its development of links with key partners in China.

Speakers from the College of Humanities included Professor Nick Groom, Professor Gerald Maclean, Dr Jennifer Barnes, doctoral student Samir Al-Jasim (Department of English) and Dr. Richard Mansell (Department of Modern Languages).

The event concluded with a talk delivered by external speaker Professor Mark Thornton Burnett, Professor at Queen’s University, Belfast and an expert on English Renaissance Drama and Culture, Shakespeare and Film, and Shakespeare and Modern Popular Culture.  His lecture titled ‘Shakespeare and World Cinema: Macbeth’ illuminated the range of ways in which Shakespeare’s Macbeth has been adapted by a series of ambitious world cinema directors.

Nora Williams, doctoral student in the Drama Department commented, “There were a great variety of papers at the colloquium.  Don Boyd’s lecture was brilliant too, he’s a really interesting person and I would have loved to see his finished film!”.

Professor Andrew McRae adds, "This event was organized to explore areas of overlapping research interest between colleagues at Exeter and the visiting professors from Fudan. The topic of Shakespearean adaptations involved colleagues in English and Modern Languages, and we had discussions ranging from translations of The Sonnets, in China and Spain, through to contemporary reworkings of Shakespeare’s plays in films and on the stage. We’re now keen to pursue discussions with Fudan, with a view to ongoing research collaboration."

The ‘Shakespearean Adaptations’ colloquium showcased the research-led teaching within the College of Humanities and provided an opportunity for students and staff from The University of Exeter, Fudan University and students on the international Summer School to experience the excellent teaching on offer within the English Department at Exeter - first in the UK for world-leading research*.

For more information on future events, please see the College of Humanities Events Calendar.

* 1RAE 2008 based on the percentage of research categorised as 4*

International Summer School students from Fudan University participating in the Shakespearean Adaptations Colloquium

 Professor Don Boyd networking after his lecture

International Summer School students networking after the Professor Don Boyd lecture

A screen shot of some film footage during the Professor Don Boyd lecture

Date: 8 August 2013

Read more University News