Shakespeare

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Judi Dench talks to Richard Eyre

Shakespeare 450 – Exits and Entrances

Hay Festival 2014, 

The actress talks about her Shakespearean work and celebrates her album of great speeches, Exits and Entrances.

Judi Dench talks to Richard Eyre

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Stephen Fry

Shakespeare 450 – Shakespeare and Love

Hay Festival 2014, 

The writer and actor, hailed in the West End and on Broadway for his Malvolio, talks about the Bard and Love.

Stephen Fry

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Germaine Greer

Shakespeare’s Women

Hay Festival 2015, 

The inspiring and provocative writer and scholar talks about Juliet, Beatrice, Ophelia, Cleopatra, Ann Hathaway and the Dark Lady of the Sonnets with festival director Peter Florence.

Germaine Greer

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Jeanette Winterson

The 2016 Raymond Williams Lecture – Shakespeare 400

Hay Festival 2016, 

The novelist and essayist celebrates the work and gift of the playwright. Her latest novel The Gap of Time is a retelling of The Winter’s Tale. “A book of considerable beauty…a fine invitation into this deeply Shakespearean vision of imagination as the best kind of truth-telling” – Rowan Williams, New Statesman.

Jeanette Winterson

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Richard Eyre

Shakespeare 450 – The Hollow Crown

Hay Festival 2014, 

The theatre and film director discusses his film versions of Shakespeare’s History plays, and their role both in Shakespeare’s canon and in our understanding of Britain’s identity.

Other events in the Shakespeare 450 series - 34, 55 and 235

Richard Eyre

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Germaine Greer

Shakespeare 400: The Sonnets

Hay Festival 2016, 

As part of Hay Festival’s big Shakespeare 400 Celebrations, the writer and lecturer discusses the playwright’s poetry.

Germaine Greer

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Toni Morrison talks to Jerry Brotton

Shakespeare 450 – Desdemona

Hay Festival 2014, 

The novelist talks about her play written in response to Shakespeare’s Othello. Her workis an intimate dialogue of words and music between Desdemona and her African nurse Barbary. Morrison gives voice and depth to the female characters, letting them speak and sing in the fullness of their hearts.

Other events in the Shakespeare 450 series - 34, 55 and 446.

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James Shapiro talks to Jerry Brotton

Talking About Shakespeare: 1606: William Shakespeare and the Year of Lear

Hay Festival 2016, 

The Samuel Johnson Prize-winning author of 1599 offers an intimate portrait of one of Shakespeare’s most inspired moments: the year of King Lear, Macbeth and Antony and Cleopatra. 1606, while a very good year for Shakespeare, is a fraught one for England. Plague returns. There is surprising resistance to the new king’s desire to turn England and Scotland into a united Britain. And fear and uncertainty sweep the land and expose deep divisions in the aftermath of a failed terrorist attack that came to be known as the Gunpowder Plot.

James Shapiro talks to Jerry Brotton

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Jerry Brotton

Shakespeare 450 – ‘Was Mohammed inspiréd with a dove?’

Hay Festival 2014, 

In this first of Hay Festival's 2014 sessions celebrating the 450th birthday of the playwright, the Renaissance scholar explores Shakespeare’s relationship with the Islamic world in the history plays and in his tragedies.

Jerry Brotton

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Howard Jacobson talks to John Mullan

Shylock is My Name

Hay Festival 2016, 

With an absent wife and a daughter going off the rails, wealthy art collector and philanthropist Simon Strulovitch is in need of someone to talk to. So when he meets Shylock at a cemetery in Cheshire’s Golden Triangle, he invites him back to his house. It’s the beginning of a remarkable friendship. The Man Booker winner’s version of The Merchant of Venice bends time to its own advantage as it asks what it means to be a father, a Jew and a merciful human being in the modern world.
#TALKINGABOUTSHAKESPEARE

Howard Jacobson talks to John Mullan

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Abigail Rokison

Shakespeare 450 – Romeo and Juliet, Interpretation and Adaptation

Hay Festival 2014, 

The eponymous lovers have become synonymous with intense young love, and the image of a young man wooing his love at a balcony is now iconic. The Shakespeare scholar will explore a range of stage productions and adaptations of Romeo and Juliet, aimed specifically at young people.

Abigail Rokison

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Ben and David Crystal

The Shakespeare Dictionary

Hay Festival 2015, 

Shakespeare is the best and most creative writer of the English language of all time. He deploys the widest and most thrilling vocabulary, drawing on classical and biblical scholarship and the keenest ear for human speech ever bent. And where the words he needed didn’t exist, he invented them. The classical actor and his father, the great Linguistics professor, entertain us with the most vital language ever used.

Ben and David Crystal

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Simon Schama

Talking About Shakespeare: This Blessed Plot, This Earth, This Realm, This England

Hay Festival 2016, 

The historian was set alight by Shakespeare’s muse of fire when he first saw Henry V as a child. He examines Shakespeare’s making of the myths of England. He hymns the Histories, the kings and the commoners, the band of brothers, and the spirit of Shakespeare’s greatest knight, Sir John Falstaff.

Simon Schama

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Gregory Doran talks to Clemency Burton-Hill

Talking About Shakespeare

Hay Festival 2016, 

The Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and this year’s Richard Dimbleby Lecturer, discusses Shakespeare’s legacy in 2016, the 400th anniversary of his death. The RSC’s celebrations in Stratford-upon-Avon include two major new productions to be directed by Doran: King Lear with Antony Sher, and a ground-breaking production of The Tempest with Simon Russell Beale, in collaboration with Intel and The Imaginarium Studios.

Gregory Doran talks to Clemency Burton-Hill

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Stanley Wells and Margaret Drabble

Shakespeare’s Circle

Hay Festival 2016, 

Wells introduces his anthology of essays about the actors, playwrights and family members around the bard, throwing new light on Shakespeare’s wealth, his family and personal relationships, his working life and his social status. Wells is one the world’s greatest Shakespeare experts, editor of both the Penguin and OUP editions of his work, President of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and author, most recently of Shakespeare, Sex and Love and Great Shakespeare Actors. He is joined by the great novelist and essayist, Margaret Drabble, who started her working life as an actress at the RSC, and is a contributor to Wells’ new book, The Shakespeare Circle: An Alternative Biography.

Stanley Wells and Margaret Drabble

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Emma Smith

Shakespeare’s First Folio

Hay Festival 2016, 

In late November 1623, the publisher Edward Blount finally took delivery at his bookshop, at the sign of the Black Bear near St Paul’s, of a book that had long been in the making: Mr. William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies. Professor Smith tells the story of that first collected edition of the plays, and follows the journeys of individual copies now located around the world with their tell-tale annotations, wine stains, provenance and uses.

Emma Smith

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Nicholas Hytner talks to Clemency Burton-Hill

Balancing Acts

Hay Festival 2017, 

You start with a vision, and you deliver a compromise. You want a play to be challenging, ambitious, nuanced and complicated. You also want it to sell tickets. You want to make art, and you know you’re in show-business. The inside story of 12 years at the helm of The National Theatre is a story of lunatic failures and spectacular successes. Its cast includes the likes of Alan Bennett, Maggie Smith, Mike Leigh, Daniel Day-Lewis, Michael Gambon, Helen Mirren and, of course, William Shakespeare.

Nicholas Hytner talks to Clemency Burton-Hill

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Simon Callow, Rachael Jolley, David Aaronovitch, Alexa Huang

Global Shakespeare: Protest, dissent and slipping by the censors

Hay Festival 2016, 

All over the world, Shakespeare’s plays find an audience, but often hidden within productions are thought-provoking, often controversial themes, about corruption, overthrowing power or teenage love. These areas of debate might rarely get staged, were it not for the cloak of Shakespeare’s ‘respectability’.  This session discusses how Shakespeare slips by the censors, both historically and today. Simon Callow is an actor and writer.  David Aaronovitch is a journalist who writers for The Times. Rachel Jolley is the editor of Index on Censorship. Alexa Huang teaches at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C

Simon Callow, Rachael Jolley, David Aaronovitch, Alexa Huang

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Jerry Brotton

Band of Brothers: Shakespeare’s Agincourt, 1599

Hay Festival 2015, 
On the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt, Jerry Brotton shows how Shakespeare’s Henry V now defines how we see this momentous event in English history. The play is often regarded as a straightforward celebration of English nationalism, the story of England’s tiny ‘band of brothers’ defeating the overwhelming might of the French. Brotton questions this assumption by recreating the historical moment in which Shakespeare wrote his play, with military disaster in Ireland, Queen Elizabeth’s power in decline, and the Essex Rebellion just about to engulf her. He argues that the result allows politicians on the left and the right to lay claim to the play and its account of Agincourt, along the way explaining how Olivier, Branagh and Spielberg are all part of the story.
Jerry Brotton

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Salman Rushdie, Kamila Shamsie, Valeria Luiselli, Juan Gabriel Vasquez

Talking About Shakespeare: Lunatics and Lovers 3

Hay Festival 2016, 

Daniel Hahn is joined by novelists from Britain, Mexico and Colombia to celebrate the 400th anniversaries of Cervantes and Shakespeare and the stories that they have written around them.

Supported by The British Council and Acción Cultural Española

Salman Rushdie, Kamila Shamsie, Valeria Luiselli, Juan Gabriel Vasquez

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Chris Laoutaris

Shakespeare and the Countess: The Battle That Gave Birth to The Globe

Hay Festival 2015, 

In November 1596 a woman signed a document which would nearly destroy the career of William Shakespeare… Who was the woman who played such an instrumental, yet little known, role in Shakespeare’s life? Never far from controversy when she was alive – she sparked numerous riots and indulged in acts of bribery, breaking-and-entering, and kidnapping – Elizabeth Russell has been edited out of public memory, yet the chain of events she set in motion would be the making of Shakespeare as we all know him today.

Chris Laoutaris

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Jonathan Bate

The British Academy Lecture: William Shakespeare 1616-2116

Hay Festival 2016, 

Why are we celebrating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death? Who and what are we celebrating? How did Shakespeare get from there (the Elizabethan and Jacobean stage) to here (the global icon) and where will he go in the next hundred years? The eminent Shakespeare scholar is the author of The Genius of Shakespeare and Soul of the Age: The Life, Mind and World of William Shakespeare. He is Professor of English at the University of Oxford. Chaired by Jerry Brotton.

Jonathan Bate

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Pamela Butchart

To Wee or Not to Wee!

Hay Festival 2016, 

Take a fresh look at Shakespeare with the Blue Peter Award-winning author  as she gives action-packed retellings of Macbeth, HamletA Midsummer’s Night Dream and Romeo and Juliet.

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Pamela Butchart

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Preti Taneja

We that are young: Imagining King Lear in India

Hay Festival 2017, 

Taneja's debut novel We That Are Young sets Shakespeare’s King Lear in contemporary India, where the clash of youth and age, the rise of the religious right wing, the repression of free speech and civil conflict in Kashmir are ongoing. She discusses the hidden history, politics and urgent contemporary relevance of Shakespeare’s plays in India. Chaired by Anil Dharker, Founder & Director of Tata Literature Live! the Mumbai LitFest

Preti Taneja

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Sara Kestelman, Jonjo O'Neill, Clemency Burton-Hill, Sean McCann and Peter Florence

The Josephine Hart Poetry Hour: The Shakespeare Show

Hay Festival 2016, 

An hour of the most important speeches and sonnets written by the greatest writer of all time.