Thursday, March 04, 2010

RICHARD BROME ONLINE: Researchers bring historical work into the digital age

March 1st 2010 marked the launch of a unique online edition of the
collected plays of dramatist, Richard Brome, the culmination of a
four-year project directed by researchers at Royal Holloway,
University of London and the University of Sheffield.

To view the online edition visit:

The project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, was
devised by Richard Cave, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Drama
and Theatre at Royal Holloway and completed under his General
Editorship by an international team of nine editors.

The aim behind the project was to provide wide-spread access to
Brome?s work for scholars, theatre practitioners, and members of the
public alike. Brome?s plays, which have not appeared in a complete
edition since 1873, are now made available through the
fully-searchable website which was the creation of HRI Digital at the
Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield.

Brome, one-time secretary and assistant to Ben Jonson, wrote numerous
comedies in a range of styles that were popular from the late 1620s
until the closing of the theatres in 1642. Sixteen of these (fifteen
exclusively by him, and one written in collaboration with Thomas
Heywood) saw print in the seventeenth century. Till now they have not
been reissued in a scholarly collected edition, though several plays
have been individually edited. Each play is offered in Richard Brome
Online as a period text and in an annotated, modernised version and is
accompanied by both a critical and a textual introduction; there is a
full glossary, bibliography, stage history and search engine. Most of
the material contained in the site is printable; and access is free.

Two highly innovatory features of the edition are a result of the
online format. Both period and modernised texts can be viewed
independently or summoned on screen side-by-side for comparative
reading/viewing. Uniquely, the annotations to the plays give access to
a wealth of extracts explored in workshop by 22 professional actors,
drawn chiefly from the alumni lists of the Royal Shakespeare Company
and Shakespeare?s Globe. More than 30 hours of such performance work
is included on the site, divided into 640 episodes illustrating the
theatricality and stageability of the plays.

Professor Cave observed: ?Working with actors in the editing process
was, for the editorial panel, one of the most exciting aspects of the
collaboration. In our discussions together around meanings, tone,
actor-audience relations or characterisation, the actors?
contributions were fresh, informed, exploratory, and full of the
insights that come only from their particular kinds of experience.?

?Editors and actors developed a profound respect for Brome?s artistry
as they examined the plays together in workshops that were designed to
give the texts a theatrical life and dynamic. Repeatedly the actors
questioned why Brome?s comedies are not seen more regularly on our
stages. Richard Brome Online is designed to make Brome?s work better
known in the hope of restoring the plays to our current repertory,? he

Any feedback on the editions to


Blogger Michael Leslie said...

Here's the url for the edition:

7:10 PM  

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