‘Shakespeare on the Road’ is the story of Shakespeare in contemporary North America told through an epic road trip in the summer of 2014.
In July and August, our team visited a range of Shakespeare festivals across the length and breadth of the US (with one notable Canadian incursion). We touched down on the 4th July at the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival in Kansas City and ended in Washington DC in early September. Over 63 days, we traveled over 10,000 miles (mostly by road), saw 42 Shakespeare productions and interviewed hundreds of the people who – year in, year out – make Shakespeare happen across the continent.
The material we gathered will be used for multiple outcomes: podcasts, radio and online documentaries, a co-authored book and solo-authored chapters and case studies. The road trip was mapped on this digital platform with roughly one hundred interviews, photos and short blogs to give a sense of the journey as it unfolded.
The easiest way to get an overview of the website’s content is to CLICK HERE or on ‘Shakespeare Festivals’ in the bottom right box below; on each company or festival’s page you will see hyperlinks to all the postings pertaining to the visit and a small selection of photographs.
LISTEN TO OUR RECENTLY MADE AUDIO TRAILER ON SOUNDCLOUD! This is a soundscape of some of the Shakespearean voices we heard during our 2-month trip. In order of speaking: Antoni Cimolino from the Stratford Shakespeare Festival; Clare Moncrief from New Orleans Shakespeare Festival at Tulane; Barbara Gaines from Chicago Shakespeare Theatre; Tina Packer from Shakespeare & Co.; Ellen Geer from Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum; Fred Adams from Utah Shakespeare Festival; Kevin Asselin from Montana Shakespeare in the Parks; Debra Ann Byrd from Harlem Shakespeare Festival; Cynthia Rider from Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Aaron Scott from Shakespeare in the Parking Lot, New York City; Diane Fraher from Amerinda Inc.; Earnestine Phillips from Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum; E. Brooke Flanagan from Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. Many thanks to Nick Jewers of Quidem for producing the soundscape of voices.
The project was managed by Dr Susan Brock (University of Warwick) and the traveling team consisted of: Dr Paul Edmondson (Head of Research and Knowledge at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon), AJ Leon (Founder and Chief Maker of Trouble at Misfit), Melissa Leon (Chief of Staff at Misfit) and Dr Paul Prescott (Reader in English at the University of Warwick, UK), upon whose original idea the project is based.
“I’m thrilled to hear of your undertaking the strenuous and brilliant idea of Shakespeare on the Road. I’ve spent the past three years reflecting on Shakespeare in America and one of the things I learned in the course of my research is that the Shakespeare festivals that stretch across my homeland are, and for many decades have been, at the heart of Shakespeare in America. Yet their story remains untold and for the most part unknown. Your project will not only be a boon to scholars, but also a major contribution to public awareness, on both sides of the Atlantic. You have my thanks and support in pursuing this wonderful story.”
James Shapiro Larry Miller Professor of English Columbia University