Foucault and Shakespeare Symposium, June 23 [Shakespeare at the Temple]


David Garrick built his Shakespeare Temple beside the Thames at Hampton in 1755 as a place where ‘the thinkers of the world’ would meet to reflect on the plays. He hoped Voltaire would come. Now the Kingston Shakespeare Seminar is realising the great actor’s vision, with a series of symposia on Shakespeare in Philosophy. Each of these Saturday events features talks by leading philosophers and Shakespeare scholars, coffee and tea in the riverside garden designed by Capability Brown, and lunch at the historic Bell Inn.

 Foucault and Shax flyer image

On Saturday June 23 2018 the Temple symposium will be on


with participation from

Tom Brockelman, Jonathan Dollimore, Stuart Elden,

Kelina Gotman, Jennifer Rust, Duncan Salkeld


To register for the symposium go to:

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Much Ado About Nothing: A Colloquium -programme

Much Ado Colloquium image


Saturday April 21 2018

09.30 Registration

9.45: Welcome

Richard Wilson (Kingston Shakespeare Seminar)
Alison Findlay (British Shakespeare Association)

10.00: An Introduction to the Play’s Performance History

Kathryn Prince (University of Ottawa)

10.20: Panel 1: Sex and Gender

Deborah Cartmell (De Montfort University)
Sara Reimers (Royal Holloway University London)
Elizabeth Schafer: Chair (Royal Holloway University London)

10.45 Coffee

11.15: Panel 2: Family and Intergenerational Tensions

Alison Findlay: Chair (Lancaster University)
Ben Haworth (Nottingham Trent University)
Lois Potter (University of Delaware)

11.50: Panel 3: Comedy and the Watch

Kathryn Prince (University of Ottawa)
Duncan Salkeld: Chair (Chichester University)
Richard Wilson (Kingston University)

12.25: A Conversation about the Rose Production

Simon Dormandy (Director)
Mel Giedroyc (Beatrice)
John Hopkins (Benedick)
Peter Smith: Chair (Nottingham Trent University)

13.10: Lunch

14.30: Performance of Much Ado About Nothing



Reserve a place at this free colloquium.

Get tickets for Much Ado About Nothing.

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Event: Music and poetry for Shakespeare’s birthday (Garrick’s Temple), Friday April 20

Temple before Hegel ConcertMusic and poetry for Shakespeare’s birthday 

The Lovekyn Consort presents songs and dances from the Elizabethan stage, along with Shakespeare’s sonnets and new work inspired by them by actor and poet Amy Neilson-Smith.

Zita Syme – Voice

William Summers – Renaissance Flute, Recorder

Stephen Carpenter – Renaissance Lute, Guitar

Amy Neilson-Smith – Actor; Poet

Tickets: £12

Garrick’s Temple to Shakespeare, Garrick’s Lawn, Hampton Court Road
Hampton on Thames, UK
TW12 2EN

More information here.


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Lacan and Shakespeare programme


Lacan and Shakespeare




Matthew Biberman (University of Louisville):
‘Shakespeare, Garrick, Lacan: Making Sense of Hamlet’s Missing Gravediggers’

Chair: Richard Wilson (Kingston University)

11.00: Coffee (Temple Pavilion)


Penny Georgiou (New Lacanian School):
‘Lacan’s Hamlet Revisited’

Scott Wilson (Kingston University):
‘Desire and its Interpretation in Reverse: (Ophelia and “Toxic Masculinity”)’

Chair: Oliver Harris (author of ‘Lacan’s Return to Antiquity’) 

13.00: Lunch (Bell Inn, Hampton)


Peter Buse (Kingston University):
‘Comic Feelings in Freud and Lacan’

Will Greenshields (University of Sussex):
‘Exhibiting and Catching jouissance:
From Baroque Sculpture to Borromean Rings of String’

Chair: Keith Hanley (Lancaster University)

16.00: Tea (Temple Pavilion)


Catherine Belsey (Swansea University):
‘Shakespeare and the Real’

Chair: David Shalkwyk (Queen Mary University London)


Round Table Discussion

Chair: Richard Wilson (Kingston University)

To buy tickets for the symposium
(£20, which include the sandwich lunch, coffee and tea) go to:

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Saturday April 21 2018: 09.30 – 17.00

Participants include
Deborah Cartmell (De Montfort University)
Simon Dormandy (Rose Theatre)
Alison Findlay (Lancaster University)
Lois Potter (University of Delaware)
Kathryn Prince (University of Ottawa)
Sara Reimers (Royal Holloway University London)
Duncan Salkeld (University of Chichester)
Elizabeth Shafer (Royal Holloway University London)
Peter Smith (Nottingham Trent University)
Richard Wilson (Kingston University)

Register for this free event at the Rose Theatre Kingston
24-26 High Street, Kingston-upon-Thames, KT1 1HL
Box Office (10.00 – 18.00) 020 8174 0090 /

For BSA support with costs, students and unwaged may apply (in a statement up to 300 words) to Deborah Cartmell at or Peter Smith at before noon on 10 April.

Tickets for the performance

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CFP: Little stars and galloping steeds: Sex in Shakespeare, June 22 (KiSSiT)

Donkey earsLittle Stars and Galloping Steeds:
Sex in Shakespeare

Kingston Shakespeare Seminar in Theory Conference

June 22, 2018, Rose Theatre, London.

10am – 6:30pm.

Call for Papers:

There is a lot of sex in Shakespeare. Some characters have sex, some brag about having it, and some do everything in their power to shun it. Some of the sex is consensual, much of it is rapacious. There is sexuality between men and women, men and men, women and women, people and animals, and people and gods. The very definition of comedy, as a genre, hinges on the sexual act.

Sex is also about political power. It is used to enforce gender, class, and ethnic categories through disavowal, demonisation, and displacement. However, as Jonathan Dollimore observes in Sexual Dissidence, sex can also be a form of dissident knowledge. For deviance is disobedience. As the cross-dressing Rosalind says in As You Like It, “the wiser the waywarder”! Through what Dollimore calls “the perverse dynamic”, the sexual dissident can discover the displaced Other at the very heart of the authority that attempts to disavow it.

For this conference, we are calling for an investigation of the role of sex and sexuality, in its political, figurative, and theatrical sense, in Shakespeare’s plays. Papers could unblushingly peer into Shakespeare’s plays and poems and perform a close-viewing of their sexuality. We welcome papers that set the sexuality in the plays’ historical period as well as papers that read the sexuality as a means to critique our present moment. We welcome papers that read the sexuality through a preferred theoretical lens; Feminism, Psychoanalysis and Queer Theory are good fits, but what about Marxism, Eco-criticism, and, well, the animal turn.

Confirmed Plenary speaker: Jonathan Dollimore and Jerzy Limon


Possible topics:

  • What is the role of sexual desire and pleasure in Shakespeare’s plays and poems?
  • What can be said about Shakespeare’s ambiguity as to whether certain characters actually have sex (Bottom and Titania, for example)?
  • How have directors staged sex in Shakespeare performances?
  • What is the role of sexual refusal in the plays and poems?
  • How is sex weaponised or used in power moves such as rape (Lavinia, Lucrece), or through manipulation (Richard and Anne, Henry V and Katherine)?
  • What is the relationship between sex and court or state power?
  • What is the role of sexual deviance and perversion in the plays and poems?
  • How does the sex act of the bed trick work hermeneutically?
  • How can we read Shakespeare‘s allusions to varies types of sex acts – intercourse, oral sex, anal sex – and different parts of the sex act – wooing, orgasm, post-coitus?
  • What qualities of sex are found in Shakespeare – phallic-centred, female-centered, rapacious, BDSM, polymorphous perverse?
  • What role does sexuality play in the plays’ queer relations, in their rainbow of forms – open, mistaken, ambiguous, closeted, sublimated?
  • What role is sexual allusion playing when it is deployed by Shakespeare in violence – Samson‘s and Gregory‘s opening dialogue in Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth‘s dagger speech (2.1.33-64)?
  • What role do the sexual acts of prostitutes play in the plays?
  • How can incest be read in, say, Pericles and Hamlet?
  • How does it change the reading of a play if it is assumed that certain characters – say, Hamlet and Ophelia, Demetrius and Helena, the poet and the fair youth – have already had sex before the opening of the play/poem?
  • What role does sex play in Classical allusions – Ovid, Homer, Apuleius – in the plays and poems?


Please send paper proposals/abstracts to the conference organisers:
Christian Smith and Paul Hamilton by May 31, 2018.

KiSS KiSSiT logo takeover

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Yanis Varoufakis: Shake the Superflux -texts

Shake the Superflux Background 11Below you may find the Kingston University press release on the talk by Varoufakis, Richard Wilson’s introduction as well as links to the text of the talk itself and an article about the event.

8ad848d1350-kingston-university-3655dd6c420Greece’s former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis says madness and conflict of Shakespeare’s characters might humanise economics in Kingston University lecture

Leading economist and former Greek Minister of Finance Yanis Varoufakis highlighted the seminal influence Shakespeare has had on his thinking as he took centre stage at the Rose Theatre. 
The committed Europeanist but outspoken critic of the European Union’s establishment explored how the complexities and contradictions of the Bard’s characters have shaped his own take on economics as he delivered the sixth annual lecture of the Kingston Shakespeare Seminar, a partnership between Kingston University and the Rose. 
“To a very large extent my own understanding of economics has been influenced by the inability of economists to capture what matters in human nature,” Varoufakis said. 
“The language and mindset of economists is so dry. Every individual is depicted as an automaton, robot-like and lacking in emotion. And then you turn to Shakespeare – and every single character is like a republic of madness and conflict.”  
Varoufakis served as Minister of Finance in the Greek government from January to July 2015, at the height of the country’s economic crisis. Famous for his negotiations with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund during bailout talks, he described what unfolded in Greece as a Shakespearean tragedy. Having failed to secure what he felt was a fair deal for his country, he fell on his sword, resigning from the government the morning after a national referendum supported massively his position but was ignored by his Prime Minister.
A mathematically trained academic economist and thinker with a deep appreciation of arts and culture, Varoufakis peppers references to the works of Shakespeare throughout his writing and speeches. He reported that observing the European Union was like watching Othellocompared German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Macbeth and enlivens his writing with Shakespearean quotations like King Lear’s cry to ‘shake the superflux’ of wealth – the title of his lecture at the Rose Theatre. Speaking ahead of the event, he hinted at the strong influence the artistic world has had on him throughout his life. 
“I grew up in a country that has its own drama tradition – the ancient Greek tradition – but where Shakespeare was always appreciated as an extension of this tradition. The first time I read Shakespeare was in Greek, the first time I saw his plays was in Greece as a young teenager,” Varoufakis said. 
“Yet training as an economist in England I felt I was straddling two worlds – my career was in economics, but my heart was with the Shakespearean depiction of humanity. I became fascinated by this juxtaposition – on the one hand the simpletons inhabiting the works of formative economic thinkers such as Adam Smith, who extended the philosophy of David Hume, and on the other the extremely complex model of men and women in Shakespeare.”
Born in Athens in 1961, Varoufakis moved to England at 17 to study economics – before quickly to mathematics. After arriving in the country he bought himself a copy of the complete works of William Shakespeare to improve his English and began to enjoy trips to see the Royal Shakespeare Company. During this time he became a fan of the work of Sir Peter Hall – former director of the RSC and founding director of Kingston’s Rose Theatre. 
Kingston University’s Peter Hall Professor of Shakespeare Studies Richard Wilson said it was this connection that persuaded Varoufakis to deliver the institution’s annual Shakespeare lecture at the Rose – treading the boards in the footsteps of theatrical greats such as Dame Judi Dench. 
“Peter Hall was one of the world’s greatest directors. He believed in the concept of bringing the arts to the people – something that very much chimes with the way Yanis’ works,” Professor Wilson said. “Yanis has a popstar following and is very charismatic – he brings economics and politics to new audiences. He’s also an example to young people of how ideas can shape the world – a true model of what a public intellectual should be.”
With a note of self-deprecation, Varoufakis said he did warn Professor Wilson that he was perhaps not the most qualified person to deliver a lecture on Shakespeare.
“Richard assured me that was what he wanted – somebody who is not a Shakespeare scholar to come and explain how the Bard’s work has affected his thinking. Well, the blame is entirely on Richard for the result – but it is such a splendid invitation, I couldn’t possibly refuse.”

Richard Wilson and Yanis VaroufakisVaroufakis introduction by Richard Wilson

Welcome to the Rose Theatre, and to our sixth Shakespeare Birthday Lecture, which is early for the Bard’s birthday this year, because of our speaker’s other distractions. When the great director, and Chancellor of Kingston University, Sir Peter Hall, opened this theatre ten years ago, he predicted it would be ideal for both Shakespeare and Greek drama, and he dreamed of ‘doing some Greek plays here, because this epic space is wonderful for the Greeks’. He never did. But no one has thought harder than tonight’s lecturer about what Peter Hall wrote after he staged Aeschylus before an audience of 11,000 in the amphitheater at Epidavros: ‘Look at a Greek theatre, then you might understand something about Shakespeare’.

Yanis Varoufakis says that he grew up in a country where ‘Shakespeare was always appreciated as an extension of the ancient Greek tradition’. So, it is telling that his books on the Euro crisis are dominated by the myth of the Minotaur, which is also a source of Shakespeare’s comedy about angry young Athenians, and a monster in a labyrinth: A Midsummer Night’s Dream. After the financial Minotaur was wounded in 2008, he writes, Europe descended into Shakespeare’s Greek farce: A Comedy of Errors. Economists love to quote Shakespeare. Marx explained capital with Timon of Athens, and Keynes compared the Versailles Treaty to Macbeth. But tonight’s speaker is exceptional in not simply using Shakespearean scare quotes to describe how our politicians are ‘Stepped in so far that… Returning were as tedious as go o’er’, but to point a way out of this deadly maze.

The brief for this Rose lecture is simple. We ask each year’s lecturer to speak about ‘Shakespeare today’. So we invited Yanis Varoufakis because in book after book he cites Shakespeare as our contemporary, who speaks to us directly about our own times, when the language of economics is so arid or opaque. Keynes called economists ‘custodians of the possibility’ of art. But in And The Weak Suffer What They Must?, Adults in the Room, and Talking to My Daughter About the Economy, Sophocles, Shakespeare, Marlowe, Ibsen, and Brecht are presented as ‘custodians of the possibility’ of economics itself. Every reviewer comments on the dramatic pace and suspense of these books, and how their storytelling drive mirrors their author’s own agonistic negotiating style. He admits that even when he was reading Adam Smith, his ‘heart was always in Shakespeare’. So, I like to think that one day he will himself play Timon of Athens here in Kingston, and rail at the Rose against ‘yellow, glittering, precious gold’.

Yanis Varoufakis celebrated the election that shot him into the Finance Ministry in 2015 by tweeting Dylan Thomas: ‘Greek democracy resolved to rage against the dying of the light.’ Yet he has also written that ‘Art and music offer evidence of our darker side’, because ‘culture is drenched in blood’. So, tonight’s speaker comes to Shakespeare with a Greek sense of fate. He explains that when Greece’s creditors spoke as if ‘What’s done cannot be undone’, this meant he ‘tried to see their actions through the lens of Greek or Shakespearean tragedy’. That tragic perspective offers a unique insight into the question Shakespeare poses in his darkest Greek drama, Troilus and Cressida: ‘What’s aught but as ’tis valued?’ And it is with a sense that he can help us find true value through these plays, that I ask you to welcome Yanis Varoufakis to ‘Shake the superflux’ tonight.


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Lacan and Shakespeare, April 7

David Garrick built his Shakespeare Temple beside the Thames at Hampton in 1755 as a place where ‘the thinkers of the world’ would meet to reflect on the plays. He hoped Voltaire would come. Now the Kingston Shakespeare Seminar is realizing the great actor’s vision, with a series of symposia on Shakespeare in Philosophy. Each of these Saturday events features talks by leading philosophers and Shakespeare scholars, coffee and tea in the riverside garden designed by Capability Brown, and lunch at the historic Bell Inn. An optional extra will be a professional concert of themed music.


On Saturday April 7 2018 the Temple symposium will be on

Lacan and Shakespeare


with talks by

Catherine Belsey, Matthew Biberman, Peter Buse,
Penny Georgiou, Will Greenshields and Scott Wilson

The evening concert will be of music on the theme of

Love and Desire

including Debussy’s ‘Syrinx’ and ‘Bid Adieu’,
the only known composition of James Joyce

To buy tickets for the symposium
(£20, which include the sandwich lunch, coffee and tea) go to:

[Note: there are 5 free tickets available for students wanting to attend. Please contact to get them.]

Tickets for the concert concert are £12 and can be bought on the night or by emailing

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Sam Hall: ‘Utopia, Determinate Negation: Shakespeare, Cave, Mann and Simone’, March 22

UtopiaMapHolbeinEditThe final Thursday seminar of the term features one of the Honorary Fellows of Kingston Shakespeare, namely Sam Gilchrist Hall (Kingston/Károli Gáspár University) giving a talk entitled Utopia, Determinate Negation: Shakespeare, Cave, Mann and Simone. We convene on Thursday March 22 at the Gallery of the Rose Theatre, Kingston starting at 6.30. The session is free and open to all!

Utopia has become a dirty word. Yet the fact remains that artworks from a striking array of cultural and historical contexts voice the desire for things to be other than how they are, while simultaneously acknowledging the impossibility of this desire to come to fruition. In this respect, they offer what Horkheimer and Adorno term a “determinate negation” of the world in which they were conceived. Understanding this process of negation is of crucial importance to the future of humanities scholarship, since this hitherto reflective discourse is increasingly replicating the prevalent positivistic and technocratic ideology of big data, networks and pseudo-connectivity.

Dr Gilchrist Hall‘s main research interest lies in changing conceptions of dwelling and belonging in medieval and early modern texts;  he also has a deep interest in Frankfurt School Critical Theory and European modernism. He was educated at the University of London and has recently published his first monograph, Shakespeare’s Folly: Philosophy, Humanism, Critical Theory (Routledge, 2016). He is an Honorary Research Fellow of Kingston University and an Assistant Professor Károli Gáspár University, Budapest.

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    Registration is now open for  

RII Colloq Image w logos





DAY 1: SATURDAY MARCH 24 09.30 – 18.00 

‘Political Theology and Shakespeare’s Richard II


Richard Ashby (Royal Holloway University London):
‘Pierced to the Soul: The Sovereign Gaze in Richard II

Thomas Cartelli (Muhlenberg University):
‘The Breath of Kings: Richard II in the Marlowe Aftermath’

Antonio Cerella (Kingston University):
‘The Sovereign Sacrifice: A Genealogy of Political Representation’

Guillaume Foulquie (University of Worcester):
‘Conceptions and Ideologies of Blood in Richard II’

Ronan Hatfull (Shakespeare Institute):
‘Hollow Crowns and Thrones: The Postmodern Celebrity Richard’

Eric Heinze (Queen Mary University London):
‘The Performance of Law’s Legitimacy in Richard II

Edward Paleit (City University London):
‘Marlowe Never Dies: Deposing Sovereignty in Richard II’

Elena Pellone (Shakespeare Institute) and
David Schalkwyk (Queen Mary University London):
‘Breath of Kings: Political and Theatrical Power in Richard II’

Ildiko Solti (Kingston University):
‘Power Play: The Audience as Pawn in Richard II

David Souden (British Museum) and
Richard Foster (Independent Scholar):
‘Pamela Tudor-Craig and Richard II: A Memoir’


DAY 2: SUNDAY MARCH 25 10.30–1.00

‘‘‘Let me Play the Lion Too’’: Casting Diversity in Shakespeare’


Actors from Anərkē Shakespeare:
‘Gender and race-blind casting, and working without a director’

Anthony Howard: ‘The British Black and Asian Shakespeare Project’

Martin Wiggins: ‘Shakespeare’s Original Practice Without a Director’

Anarke Shakespeare RII 

‘Richard II’ performed by Anərkē Shakespeare

in the Rose Studio on March 24 @ 2pm & 7pm; March 25 @ 2pm

 Tickets for performance: £18 / £10 concessions (child/student/senior)

Register for all or part of this free seminar and performance 

at the Rose Theatre Kingston

24-26 High Street, Kingston-upon-Thames, KT1 1HL

Box Office (10.00 – 18.00) 020 8174 0090 /

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