Wednesday, February 11, 2009

'Laughter in Shakespeare's Playhouse'

Shakespeare and Performance Seminar
Thursday 12 February, 6-8 pm
Nancy Knowles Lecture Theatre, Shakespeae's Globe
[thsi via the LRS]

Dr Indira Ghose, Univeristy of Fribourg
'Laughter in the Shakespearean Theatre'
In this talk, Dr Ghose will explore the development of a professional entertainment industry, in which humour was a staple. She will highlight the shift in taste within this period, visible in Shakespeare's plays, from physical comedy to wordplay, which is linked to the emergence of the wise fool. Finally, she will examine the general change in attitudes towards laughter, with decorum playing an increasing role (jokes that go too far), and will argue that didacticism is found to be increasingly dropping out of the picture.

Dr Matthew Steggle, Sheffield Hallam University
'Thinking about laughter in early modern theatres'
What did early modern audience laughter sound like? What did early audiences laugh at? And what tools do we have at our disposal to attempt to historicize something as apparently intangible and evanescent as audience laughter?

Tom Cornford, Artist in Residence, the CAPITAL Centre, University of Warwick
'The Skilful Laugh'
Tom Cornford will examine laughter in the theatre from the perspective of a contemporary director and in relation to the major theories of acting from the last century. Is all laughter the same? Why and when does it happen? Can it be categorized? Is it always to be encouraged? What does it show us and what might it hide?

The Shakespeare and Performance Seminar is open to research students, theatre practitioners and academics. For further information and to reserve a place, please contact


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