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Holland completes book series on British theater history

Author: Arts and Letters

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Peter Holland, McMeel Family Professor in Shakespeare Studies and acting dean of the Graduate School at the University of Notre Dame, recently published the final two volumes of his five-book series “Redefining British Theatre History.”

The series brings together more than 60 major practitioners in theater history to examine the ways in which previous assumptions need fundamental questioning and to initiate new directions for the field. It seeks to establish a new future for theater history by making theater historians aware of their own history, current practice and future.

The final volume released this month, “The Performing Century,” includes a wide-ranging collection of essays from leading scholars in Britain and the U.S. It examines modes of performance and forms of theater in 19th century Britain and Ireland, placing drama and performance in the social and cultural contexts of the rapid transformations in 19th century society.

In “Players, Playwrights, Playhouses,” published in October, leading theater historians identify and exemplify a variety of new approaches to the investigation of plays, players, playwrights, playhouses and other aspects of 18th century theater.

Published by Palgrave Macmillan in association with the Huntington Library in Pasadena, Calif., the series’ other volumes are: “From Performance to Print in Shakespeare’s England” (2006), “From Script to Stage in Early Modern England” (2004), and “Theorizing Practice” (2003).

“This marks the end of a seven-year project,” said Holland, who served as general editor of the series and co-editor of each volume. “Each book began as a conference I organized at the Huntington Library in a rare example of a project suggested by the library and publisher, for which each conference took place with the volume already planned.”

An internationally renowned Shakespearean scholar, Holland currently is chair of the Department of Film, Television and Theatre and also holds a concurrent appointment in the Department of English. He serves as academic director of Actors From The London Stage, the touring Shakespeare theater company that makes its U.S. home at Notre Dame.

Holland, who earned his doctorate at the University of Cambridge, came to Notre Dame in 2002. He previously served as director of The Shakespeare Institute at Stratford-upon-Avon, England, and professor of Shakespeare studies at the University of Birmingham. He is a textual scholar whose edition of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is considered one of the finest in modern times.

Acclaimed for his performance-oriented Shakespearean criticism, Holland currently is president of the Shakespeare Association of America and editor of Shakespeare Survey, one of the world’s leading journals in the field.

Contact: Peter Holland, 574-631-0476,

Originally published by Shannon Chapla at on November 29, 2007.