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Recreating Shakespeare

A number of events will take place at the U-M Ross School of Business.

The Royal Shakespeare Company arrives at the University of Michigan on March 20 for an intensive 10-day “creative residency” for the sole purpose of developing three new plays for its 2011 season. The three plays each involve significant questions about the transmission of texts and public culture. Two of the plays focus on religion and sacred texts.

The RSC and U-M collaboration includes 16 British and American actors, and a 9-member creative team, including three playwrights, director, the RSC dramaturg, voice coach and movement coach. The public is invited to observe the creative process being played out in a discussion among dramatists, actors and others.

Patrick Stewart in Tempest by Manuel Harlan.

Patrick Stewart in Tempest by Manuel Harlan.

The RSC Creative Project is made possible by a grant from the Office of the President with additional assistance from the U-M Ross School of Business and the University Musical Society.

The plays in development are:

  • “Cardenio,” a play by Shakespeare and John Fletcher, which is known to have been performed, but of which there is no existing text. The story involves a character of the same name from Cervantes’ “Don Quixote,” published and translated into English from the original Spanish in 1605. Greg Doran and a Spanish playwright are developing a script that aims to restore the play.
  • A play by David Edgar on the role of Lancelot Andrewes in the formation and publication of the King James Bible. Andrewes played a central and controversial role in the religious life of the times.
  • A play by Helen Edmundson based on the story of Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz, a celebrated 17th-century, South American nun, emerging as a key figure in the history of literature in the Western hemisphere. Sor Juana wrote plays, essays, and poetry, and was highly controversial for her life and literary works.

The following is a list of events open to the public. Please note that “Insight” refers to a partial reading of a script (in development) and discussion of the play with the writer, director and actors. Audience participation will be encouraged.


(NOTE: There is NO COST to attend. Seating is limited and distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.)

Wednesday, March 24 — 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
INSIGHT for the Sor Juana play (written by Helen Edmundson)
Location: Blau Auditorium (Ross School of Business, 701 Tappan St.)

Friday, March 26 — 2 p.m.
INSIGHT for the Cardenio play, a new version of the play by Shakespeare and Fletcher
Location: Keene Theatre (East Quad, 701 East University Avenue)

Saturday, March 27 – 4 p.m.-6 p.m.
Discussion of the Bible as literature with RSC director Greg Doran, playwright David Edgar and Ralph Williams
Location: The Library Gallery, 100 Hatcher Graduate Library (just off the Diag)

NOTE: Bible-related materials ranging from a second-century C.E. papyrus fragment of a letter of St. Paul to an original copy of the 1611 King James Version of the Bible will be on display in the University Library’s Audubon Room adjoining the gallery. These materials are from the University of Michigan Library’s Special Collections.

Monday, March 29 — 7:30 p.m.
Lecture: Shakespeare: From Stage to Film by Greg Doran and Sir Antony Sher
Blau Auditorium (Ross School of Business, 701 Tappan St.)

Tuesday, March 30 — 6:30 p.m.
INSIGHT for “Written on the Heart” (King James Bible play, by David Edgar)
Blau Auditorium (Ross School of Business, 701 Tappan St.)


Friday, March 26 – 4:30 p.m.
“Cervantes and Shakespeare: Metatextualities in Don Quixote and the Late Plays,” a lecture by Valerie Wayne
Location: 3222 Angell Hall

Saturday, April 10 – 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Texts Sacred and Canonical: Their Circulation in Public Culture
(A symposium to honor Ralph Williams on his retirement)
Location: Rackham Graduate School

For more information, visit