400 Years of the Bard

Written by Arts, Theatre

First off I was surprised at how full the Curtis Auditorium was. There was a lot of people, many I recognised from coming into work, so I plonked myself into a seat and avoided eye contact. It was a great opportunity for people watching; there were a lot of older people who were really cool, and they all had brilliant, slightly eccentric style.

Patrick Spottiswoode was briefly introduced, and we were given snippets of information (he is the Director for Globe Education, Shakespeare’s Globe AND gave Obama a guided tour around the Globe). As he took the stand, he thanked the university for welcoming him, and announced how he was both ‘delighted and daunted…please understand, I am not a scholar’, which I found reassuring; as although I am fond of Shakespeare’s sonnets and a couple of his plays, I’m not mad keen. When I went to visit my grandad over Easter, he was really excited for the two of us to watch the BBC 1970’s adaptation of Measure for Measure, and we sat down to watch it on his laptop. However, after 15 minutes, he got bored and went for a nap instead which mirrors my overall approach to Shakespeare.

Patrick discussed the importance of language and translation as holding political power

Patrick described that we were ‘all suffering from Shakespeare fatigue’ and as it had become an ‘international phenomenon’ and ‘brand’ – what would Shakespeare make of it? He made a lot of dad jokes which the audience sniggered at, and I didn’t understand, but he was refreshingly self-deprecating of England, the English language and our mono-syllabic-ness. He had such a smooth voice I kept falling asleep, as did an old man a few seats away from me. The audience reminded me of a bizarre reversed, Benjamin Button classroom – loads of white haired men and women falling asleep, some holding their head in their hands, some eager and some whispering to their pals. Wandering off into various anecdotes and little skits, Patrick discussed the importance of language and translation as holding political power, and of community at the Globe quoting ‘you don’t sit at a play, you sit in a play’, and after opening the floor to questions, ended with comparing Shakespeare to a rap artist as he played with language, mixing high culture and street culture. I enjoyed it, nice one Patrick.

Last modified: 3rd May 2016

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