I am writing with New Year greetings, and to thank you for your generous contributions to the Kingston Shakespeare Seminar in 2017. This was our fifth year of events at Garrick’s Temple and the Rose Theatre, and the most successful yet. With 6 international conferences, 18 seminars, and no less than 106 presentations, it has certainly been our busiest twelve months, and whether you have presented or chaired, the KiSS team is grateful to you all. We hope you will agree that, between the Theatre and the Temple, or performance and philosophy, the seminar has consolidated its reputation as a project that is distinct from anything offered elsewhere.
All KiSS events are open to the public, and most are free. So, it has been encouraging to see that the programme continues to attract enthusiastic attenders from across generations, and all walks of life. The series of readings of the Shakespeare Apocrypha has been a notable success. One of the highlights of 2017 was the Rose Shakespeare Birthday Lecture, given by Sir Stanley Wells with tremendous energy and panache. Many of the ideas he explored in his lecture on ‘The Genius of Shakespeare’ he debated with Sir Brian Vickers, Gary Taylor, Jean Howard, and others from across the globe, at our historic conference on ‘Marlowe and Shakespeare’. From this conference has sprung a new Association of Replica Theatres (ARTS), which the Rose will be convening in the spring. Our summer symposia on Shakespeare and Hegel, Marx, and Nietzsche, with themed concerts, confirmed Garrick’s Temple as the ideal forum for the discussion of Shakespeare and modern philosophy; and Kingston Shakespeare in Theory – KiSSiT – has
continued to provide a vital platform for early career researchers, with conferences on
‘Shakespearean Anachronism’ and ‘Shakespeare and the Philosophical Turn’.
The year culminated in the appointment by Kingston University of five Shakespeare Fellows, who will form the nucleus of a permanent KiSS programme of publication and research. Gerald Baker, Sam Hall, Paul Hamilton, Christian Smith and Ildiko Solti constitute a formidable team of researchers, and they will join our Webmaster, Timo Uotinen, and Music Director, Chantal Schutz, in planning future events. We are looking forward to a packed programme of Thursday evening seminars in the Rose Gallery, and to spring conferences on ‘Infinite Jest: Shakespearean Afterlives’, Much Ado About Nothing (coinciding with a Rose production, and co-hosted with the British Shakespeare Association), and Richard II (with a studio performance, and co-hosted with Global Shakespeare / Queen Mary University). The Rose production of Don Carlos will be marked with a conference in the autumn on ‘Schiller and Shakespeare’. And we are thrilled to announce that the 2018 Rose Shakespeare Birthday Lecture will be given by the former Greek Finance Minister and life-long Shakespeare enthusiast Yanis Varoufakis.
2017 was also a year of sad farewells to Shakespeareans who, whether personally or indirectly, shaped the thinking of the Kingston Seminar. Michael Bogdanov was our keen supporter and an inspiring presenter. Five of us participated in the memorial service at Reykjavik University last month of our regular collaborator Martin Regal; and ‘The Philosophical Turn’ conference was dedicated to the memory of Géza Kállay, who influenced our performance theory. At this event we also marked the passing of Alan Sinfield. And, of course, we have been honoured to play our part in celebrating the founder of the Rose Theatre, and Chancellor of Kingston University, Sir Peter Hall, who we will be commemorating in the autumn, with an international conference on his life and legacy.
Thank you, once again, for taking part in this unfolding story. For making Kingston Shakespeare viable, particular thanks must go to our partners, Robert O’Dowd and Lesley Rowden, at the Rose, Rupert Nichol, at the Temple, and Lucy Williams, at Kingston University. We are looking forward to your future contributions, and to welcoming you back to the Temple and the Theatre.
With all good wishes for 2018,
Sir Peter Hall Professor of Shakespeare Studies