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Shakespeare at Notre Dame hosts world-renowned historian

Author: Arts and Letters


Shakespeare scholar Stanley Wells will explore issues of sexuality in the age of the Bard in a lecture March 31 (Monday) at 5p.m. in the Philbin Studio Theatre of the University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Center for the Performing Arts.

Sponsored by the Deborah J. Loughrey Endowment for Excellence in Shakespeare Studies and Shakespeare at Notre Dame, the event is free and open to the public. Tickets are required and may be reserved by calling the center’s box office at 574-631-2800.

Titled “Sex and Literature in Shakespeare’s Time,” Wells’ talk will discuss sexual behavior and attitudes toward sexuality in Stratford and London, with emphasis on theater and the court, in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, and examine some of the ways Shakespeare and his contemporaries made use of sexual subject matter. The discussion will be candid and the event is not intended for young or sensitive audiences.

Following Wells’ lecture, guest artist Eunice Roberts will present a performance of “…one, two, three…,” a one-woman show she developed based on Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.” Roberts is an associate director of Actors From The London Stage, an international touring theater troupe based at Notre Dame.

A prolific writer and editor, Wells has served since 1978 as the general editor of “The Complete Oxford Shakespeare.” He also has served as co-editor of “The New Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare Studies” and co-author of “William Shakespeare: A Textual Companion.” His books include “Literature and Drama,” “Royal Shakespeare: Studies of Four Major Productions at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre,” “Looking for Sex in Shakespeare,” and “Is it True What they Say About Shakespeare?”

Wells serves as chairman of the Trustees of Shakespeare’s Birthplace and is emeritus professor of Shakespeare studies at the University of Birmingham and honorary emeritus governor of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

Shakespeare at Notre Dame presents year-round programming, including the upcoming Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival, previously known as Summer Shakespeare. Now in its ninth year, this season will feature a mainstage performance of Shakespeare’s “MacBeth” from Aug. 19 to 31 in the Decio Theatre of the performing arts center; performances of Thomas Middleton’s “The Witch,” performed from July 19 to Aug. 15 in various outdoor locations by the Young Company, featuring students from Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s College; and the return of “ShakeScenes,” a collection of short scenes taken from the works of Shakespeare and performed by local community members, and high school and grade school students, July 19 and 20 in Washington Hall.

In addition to the Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare at Notre Dame also includes the McMeel Family Chair in Shakespeare Studies and Actors From The London Stage. The mission of Shakespeare at Notre Dame is to establish the University nationally and internationally as a center for the study of Shakespeare in performance.

Contact: Aaron Nichols, Shakespeare at Notre Dame, 574-631-3777,

Originally published by Julie Hail Flory at on March 25, 2008.