Casting women in men’s roles may seem like a radical innovation of our times. So might portrayals of early modern characters by trans and non-binary actors. Yet playing with gender was in fact an exciting feature of early modern theatre practice across Europe.
“Engendering the Stage in the Age of Shakespeare and Beyond” is an international research project dedicated to exploring resonances between the history of gendered performance on the early modern stage and our contemporary drive to achieve gender equity in today’s professional theatre industry.
Taylor Conference Fall 2018
Part I (Stratford Lab: Performance as Research Workshop)
The Stratford Festival is already engaging with how the possibilities of cross-casting help us explore more complex undertandings of gender. This year’s Taylor Conference begins with a week-long workshop in Stratford’s Theatre Laboratory involving actors from the company, two indigenous artists, a trans actor from England, a local non-binary performance artist and a carefully assembled group of international scholars. Lab events will focus on scenes from lesser known plays that feature sword-wielding women and reveal the largely unacknowledged presence of trans identities in early modern Europe. Our workshop centres on a two-way exchange between actors and scholars: actors will be exposed to little known histories of the early modern stage and scholars will see how this work plays out in the context of a contemporary rehearsal.
Part II (Events at McMaster University)
Mon. 24 Sep. 2018
On Monday September 24, following the workshop, international scholars will come to McMaster with artists and directors from the Stratford company to report on the project, sharing insights and discussing next steps forward. Martha Henry and Seana McKenna who both play roles written for men in this year’s season will close the conference with an open forum talk in the evening, generally hosted by the Socrates Project. All events will be held in the R.L. Wilson building and are open to the public.