Dissertation: Who Barded? The Neglected Olfactory in Shakespeare Education
Current pedagogical trends focus on incorporating the senses into Shakespeare education, but the olfactory has often been disregarded. My thesis (termed a dissertation in the UK) concentrates on establishing the value that Shakespeare was likely to have placed on the senses given his cultural context and his wording of the texts. It next suggests scent-based learning activities and offers demonstrations of their effectiveness in several classroom environments. Full text will be linked after the April submission date.
Shakespeare and Pedagogy
Utilizing members of the education department of the Royal Shakespeare Company (including Miles Tandy, Tracy Irish, Rachel Gartiside, Lynn Darnley, and Cicely Berry) I was able to examine the elements of Shakespeare's work that are taught and the methods and resources used to teach them. I prepared teaching activities for multiple age levels and discovered techniques that are both practical and enchanting.
Under the guidance of Kathleen McLuskie, close reading of several texts allowed me to consider the theatrical function and distinctive qualities of Shakespeare's language. Examination of Elizabethan and early Jacobean stages, as well as Shakespeare's medieval inheritance, informed inquiry into the contemporary and continuing theatrical life of the plays.
Shakespeare and Text
Here, tutored by John Jowett, one of the editors of the Oxford Shakespeare's Complete Works, I examined the textual foundations of Shakespeare's plays. Topics covered included: the relationship between a modern edition of a play and the earliest printed texts, the nature of the printing process that first made the plays available to readers, the characteristics of Shakespeare's dramatic composition, the treatment of the text in the theatre (including censorship, revision and adaptation), and Shakespeare as a collaborator.
Through a series of practical workshops and performance assignments directed by Jacquelyn Bessel, I explored different approaches to performing the language of Shakespeare: the first approach was rooted in the verse and text work of John Barton, Peter Hall, and Giles Block; the second approach explored the legacy of Stanislavski in the Shakespearean work of 20th/21st century practitioners in Europe and the United States; the third approach brought the devising techniques of prominent physical theatre practitioners to a creative examination of Shakespeare's text.