The Paper Stage is a public play-reading project dedicated to the extraordinary and diverse drama of the Renaissance. It has societies based in Surrey and Kent in the UK, and an Italian society – Il Palcoscenico di Carta – based in Mantua.
A number of exceptionally talented playwrights flourished in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, and yet today the period is dominated by prominent figure of Shakespeare. Our monthly events offer you the chance to experience this golden age of theatre through participatory and experimental group readings that place you at the heart of the plays. We read a wide range of plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, from Middleton’s bawdy city comedies to Kyd and Webster’s bloody revenge tragedies, from the lyrical heights of Marlowe’s solioquising protagonists to the earthy wit of Jonson’s fraudsters. These plays present worlds that will seduce, excite and horrify in equal measure, but also perhaps offer a mirror for our own cultural moment.
The events are free and open to the public as well as students and academics. The Paper Stage is run by Dr Harry Newman, Lecturer in Shakespeare and Early Modern Literature at Royal Holloway, University of London. Those who would like to read a part (whether small, medium or large) at the next event should email firstname.lastname@example.org. Listeners are also very welcome.
19 May 2014 (CANTERBURY, UK): William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
23 June 2014 (CANTERBURY, UK): Christopher Marlowe, The Jew of Malta
15 Sept 2014 (CANTERBURY, UK): John Lyly, Gallathea
13 Oct 2014 (CANTERBURY, UK): Anonymous, Arden of Faversham
18 Nov 2014 (CANTERBURY, UK): Ben Jonson, Sejanus
8 Dec 2014 (CANTERBURY, UK): John Webster, The White Devil
2 Feb 2015 (CANTERBURY, UK): John Lyly, Endymion, or the Man in the Moon
16 March 2015 (CANTERBURY, UK): Thomas Heywood, A Woman Killed with Kindness
24 March 2015 (CANTERBURY, UK): Thomas Dekker, John Ford and William Rowley, The Witch of Edmonton (guest hosted by Dr Lucy Munro from King’s College London, using her forthcoming edition for Arden Early Modern Drama)
7, 14, 21 May 2015 (MANTUA, ITALY): William Shakespeare, Romeo e Giulietta, translated by Salvatore Quasimodo
15, 22 and 29 Sept 2015 (MANTUA, ITALY): Christopher Marlowe, Il Dottor Faust, translated by Nemi D’Agostino
12 Oct 2015 (CANTERBURY, UK): Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
27 Oct 2015 (SURREY, UK): Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
24 Nov 2015 (CANTERBURY, UK): Thomas Middleton, A Chaste Maid in Cheapside
14 Mar 2016 (SURREY, UK): William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 1 (part of Runnymede International Literary Festival 2016)
The Paper Stage is a research-driven project which uses practice-based methods to experiment with a wide variety of Renaissance drama and to bring scholars into a productive dialogue with students and members of the public. All participants are valued as co-researchers and given the opportunity to offer input. The following questions are central to our research aims:
Q. What can public play-readings teach us about the accessibility of Renaissance drama to modern society?
Q. What is the pedagogical/interpretive value of ‘embodying’ or ‘inhabiting’ dramatic texts through communal reading?
Q. What can we learn about the relationship between reading and performance, and the interpretive processes involved in reading out-loud to others, an activity which sits somewhere between silent reading and watching stage productions?
Q. How might we understand the play-reading group as a modern social and cultural phenomenon?
Q. How can play-reading groups benefit society by contributing to community formation?
STUDYING SHAKESPEARE AND RENAISSANCE LITERATURE AT ROYAL HOLLOWAY, UNIVERSITY OF LONDON
To find out about the study of Shakespeare and Renaissance literature at Royal Holloway, check out the undergraduate modules EN1106 Shakespeare, EN2011 Intensive Shakespeare: Comedy, History, Tragedy, EN2010 Love, Honour, Obey: Literature 1625-1670, EN3011 Advanced Shakespeare: The Problem Plays, EN3014 Early Modern Bodies, and the postgraduate MA in Shakespeare. More details are available on request from email@example.com.