Housed in the College of Arts and Architecture, but working across colleges and disciplines (particularly the departments of English and Theatre), Shakespeare In Action (SIA) serves to advance and coordinate various activities and initiatives related to the production and exploration of Shakespeare’s work and that of his contemporaries. Its goal is to further the study and enjoyment of Renaissance/Early Modern drama and culture, particularly through performance, on campus and in the broader Charlotte community. SIA brings in guest speakers for lectures, round tables and colloquia; integrates live performance into campus learning; provides student scholarships and sponsors special classes, including a spring break program in England. SIA orchestrates student and faculty gatherings, is actively engaged in community outreach, engages with area schools, and is dedicated to fostering dialogue between experts in theatre, literature, history, art, psychology, music, education and other areas of art and material culture relevant to the study of Shakespeare’s works. SIA’s activities are funded in part by the endowment controlled by Andrew Hartley, Robinson Professor of Shakespeare studies.
Between 2010 and 2016, SIA’s various activities coalesced into a single project called “36 in 6,” the mission of which was to host an event connected to each play in the Shakespeare cannon in the 6-year period leading up to the 400th anniversary of his death on April 23rd, 2016. In keeping with SIA’s previous work, these events took different forms—lectures by professors with particular expertise in the selected play, staged readings, theatre department productions, and guest productions—all culminating in a gala event built around As You Like It.
SIA was on hiatus for the 2016-17 academic year while Dr. Hartley was away on reassignment of duties. In 2017-18 SIA helped fund the Actors From the London Stage’s visiting production of Measure for Measure, and donated scholarship money to the Shakespeare in England study abroad course. In Fall 2018, the Department of Theatre presented Twelfth Night, directed by Dr. Hartley.
A selection of the 36 in 6 project’s offerings, 2010-2016
Theatre Department Productions
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (spring 2011), dir. Hartley. Included a guest lecture on the play by Peter Holland (Notre Dame University): Disfigured Dreams and the Problem of Marriage in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Twelfth Night (spring 2012), dir. Bumgarner.
Romeo and Juliet (spring 2013), dir. Vesce.
The Shrew Project (spring 2014), an adaptive workshop production of The Taming of the Shrew which played in campus and toured local high schools, dir. Mizell and Hartley
Merry Wives (Fall 2014), an adaptation of The Merry Wives of Windsor, dir. Mizell.
The Tragical History of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (Fall 2015), based on the 1602 (First Quarto) text, dir. Vesce. Also featured a guest lecture by Paul Menzer (Mary Baldwin College) on staging Hamlet Q1.
As We Like It, a selection of scenes from As You Like It performed by students (dir. Hartley) with musical selections from the play performed by the music department’s jazz ensemble, and interspersed with brief lectures by SIA faculty, Drs. Hartley, Menikoff and Munroe (April 2016).
Guest Company Performances
Macbeth, Actors from the London Stage, March 2015
Othello, Actors from the London Stage, October 2013. Including guest lecture by Dr. Ayanna Thompson (George Washington University): “Othello in the Twenty First Century: To Perform or Not to Perform”
The Merchant of Venice, Actors from the London Stage, October 2012
The Tempest, Actors from the London Stage, November 2011