Ilmington Parish Council



Shakespeare Club rosette, 1930s.


2017-8  194th season of the Club
President Michael Wood
Life Vice President: Roger Pringle

The Club meets monthly eight times a year between October and May.
All meetings are held at the Shakespeare Institute, Mason Croft, Church St., Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6HP. Meetings begin at 7.45 unless otherwise stated. Parking is available at the rear of the building with access from Chestnut Walk. For more information email
Minutes of past meetings this season may be found here

7.15 Annual General Meeting
Followed by Gary Watt, Professor, Warwick University School of Law. “Sound Rhetoric  from Caesar to Theresa”
Professor Watt will show how Shakespeare uses sound effects in Julius Caesar to produce embodied sensations that move us as music does. We will discover subtle techniques by which Shakespeare’s language works rhetorically to win hearts and minds, and will note how similar techniques are employed on the political stage today. Gary Watt is a Professor in Law at the University of Warwick and in 2009 was named UK “Law Teacher of the Year”. He has delivered workshops for the Royal Shakespeare Company and his interest in performance and the relationship between action and word informed a recent book as well as the Shakespeare-themed show “A Strange Eventful History”.

Michael Wood
Presidential Evening: “Shakespeare’s Memory”
Studies of Shakespeare’s background tend to  focus on his  education and  his early experiences in drama. But what were the primary  influences on him as a young man,  the ones that came from family and community?    In this illustrated talk Michael Wood looks at Shakespeare’s local roots  in Warwickshire,  and especially at his parents’  generation in a time of great  social, economic and religious change.
Film maker broadcaster and historian Michael Wood is the author of  In Search of Shakespeare, and a recent study of Shakespeare’s mother Mary Arden in  The Shakespeare Circle, ed Paul Edmondson.

Mark Carey
Into the Breach: a one-man show
George Crocker is keen to liven up his dull life so he decides to join the Village Drama Club. What happens then turns his world upside down. Set during the Second World War this nostalgic, funny and moving story will appeal to all, from ten years and up. It is a vivid portrait of village life with all seventeen colourful characters played by one man. A heart-warming drama of love, war, odd jobs - and Shakespeare.

Philip Breen, Theatre and Television Director and Writer
“Shakespeare is difficult, but then again so is life (largely so).”
RSC director Phillip Breen reflects on a his lifelong love of Shakespeare and his first few imperfect goes at actually directing it. The focus of the talk will be on how Shakespeare plays get ‘reputations’, (Measure for Measure is a ‘problem’ play, Merry Wives a ‘paraiah play written in haste’ and so on) and how those reputations are often unfounded. He will talk about what the structure of these myths say about the people who created and perpetuated them and how a 21st century audience goes about understanding Shakespeare.

Robert Lister
“An Actor’s Life for me”
Robert has made his living as an actor for very nearly 50 years.  Approximately 2/3 of that time has involved the words and work of Will Shakespeare.  "An Actor's Life for Me" is an evening of anecdotes in which he shares that experience (and the occasional insight) with you, his audience.

Rev  Dr. Paul Edmondson, Head of Research,  The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust , and
Ewan Fernie, Professor and Fellow of Shakespeare Studies, The Shakespeare Institute.
“New Places: Shakespeare and Civic Creativity”
Paul and Ewan will discuss their joint efforts to bring Shakespeare into the public sphere beyond the theatre, the seminar room and the private study.  They will draw from and reflect on the distinguished but typically underestimated history of civic Shakespeare as this is exemplified in Stratford (by, among other things, the Shakespeare Club itself) and elsewhere, including Italy, Germany and America.  They will share details of new projects which turn Shakespeare into liturgy, opera, pageant and political intervention.

Nigel Wood, Professor of Literature, Loughborough University
“Shakespeare and the Digital Revolution”
Professor Wood will look at how playtexts and the editing of them have been affected by technical developments.   If we think of electronic texts instead of folio and quarto,  then we need to reappraise our sense of permanence.  In Shakespeare’s case this is doubly relevant as we need to remind ourselves that the dramatic writings are reconstructions intended not only to commemorate but also to suggest.  This talk will propose ways of approaching the playtexts taking into account the dramatic approach to adaptation in the modern age.  Is there one version that is the best?

Glyn  Jones, Head of Gardens. Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
“Plans for the five gardens associated with Shakespeare's life.”
Before coming to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Glyn Jones spent 17 years at the National Trust’s Hidcote Manor Gardens where he oversaw a major renovation of the garden, its structures and features. At the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust he is responsible for the gardens attached to houses that had an influence on Shakespeare's life and will be speaking about his role in helping visitors gain a greater understanding of Shakespeare’s life and works through both period and contemporary horticulture.

Quick Links

The Story of the Shakespeare Club of Stratford-upon-Avon
'Long life to the Club call'd Shakspearean'

By Susan Brock and Sylvia Morris
Order here.