"Shaking Up Shakespeare" Podcast Series

Shaking Up Shakespeare Trailer

Cover image for "Shaking Up Shakespeare" podcast series hosted by Marlis Schweitzer, Hope Van Der Merwe, and Liam Lockhart-Rush.

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Marlis Schweitzer: [00:00:00] Welcome artists, scholars, bardolators, Shakespeare neophytes, and skeptics alike to the very first episode of Shaking Up Shakespeare. I’m Marlis Schweitzer, a professor of theatre and performance studies at York University in Toronto.

Hope Van Der Merwe: I’m Hope Van Der Merwe and I’m a recent graduate of York University’s BFA Acting Conservatory.

Liam Lockhart-Rush: And I’m Liam Lockhart Rush. I’m a recent graduate of York University’s theatre and performance program with a BFA [00:00:30] specializing in devised theatre. Both Hope and I have been research assistants on this project for the last two years. This brand new podcast series aims to examine the legacy of William Shakespeare’s work, specifically in the context of Canadian theatre culture and Canadian society more broadly.

Hope Van Der Merwe: Building on recent conversations about diversity and casting practices, colonial structures, and accessibility, this podcast brings together the voices of many individuals with diverse perspectives on Shakespeare.

Marlis Schweitzer: Between September, 2022 [00:01:00] and June, 2023, our team interviewed over 30 individuals who all have a connection to the Bard or have been impacted by his work in some way. We spoke with actors, directors, playwrights, dramaturgs, some people who are all of the above, as well as intimacy professionals, theatre students, scholars, critics, arts administrators, and educators. You’ll hear excerpts from these interviews throughout the series.

Patricia Allison: I am Patricia Allison,

Sturla Alvsvag: My name is [00:01:30] Sturla Alvsvåg

Roberta Barker: My name’s Roberta Barker

Raoul Baneja: My name’s, uh, Raoul Baneja

Dawn Jani Birley (interpreter): My name is Dawn Jani Birley

Peter Kuling: I’m, uh, Dr. Peter Kuling

Addy Dolha: Adelaide Dolha

Miriam Fernandes: My name is Miriam Fernandes

Karen Fricker: Karen Fricker

PJ Prudat: I’m PJ Prudat

Duncan Gibson-Lockhart: Duncan Gibson Lockhart

Barbara Gordon: My name is Barbara Gordon

Jeff Ho: I’m Jeff Ho

Christine Horne: I’m Christine Horne

Dante Jemmott: Dante Jemmott

Stephen Johnson: Steven Johnson

Erin Kelly: Erin Kelly

Ziyana Kotadia: My name is Ziyana Kotadia

Keira Loughran: I’m Kira Loughran

Jani Lauzon: My name is Jani Lauzon

Allyson MacMachon: Allyson MacMachon

Yvette Nolan: Yvette Nolan

Peter Parolin: I’m Peter Parolin

Laurel Paetz Smith: Laurel Paetz

Eli Pauley: I’m Eli [00:02:00] Pauley

Liz Pentland: Elizabeth Pentland

Jamie Robinson: My name is Jamie Robinson

Nassim Abu Sarari: my name is Nassim Abu Sarari

Alix Sideris: I’m Alix Sideris

Sara Topham: My name is Sara Topham

Jeff Yung: My name is Jeff Yung.

Liam Lockhart-Rush: This project springs from a desire to document the 2022 remounting of Why Not Theatre’s ground-breaking Prince Hamlet, A production adapted and directed by Ravi Jain, which originally premiered in 2017. Prince Hamlet is a bilingual, cross-cultural, and gender-bent adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic, which centers the story on [00:02:30] a Deaf Horatio, played by Dawn Jani Birley.

This podcast includes interviews with the 2022 Prince Hamlet Touring cast, conducted by Jeff Ho, who played Ophelia in the production.

Hope Van Der Merwe: Throughout our interviews, we found that there were certain topics which kept popping up in our conversations, ideas that seemed to be central to contemporary conversations about Shakespeare.

Marlis Schweitzer: Rather than celebrating Shakespeare, no questions asked, the series takes a critical perspective, acknowledging a host of issues including gender discrimination, [00:03:00] racism, and ableism, both in Shakespeare’s plays and in productions of his plays.

Hope Van Der Merwe: We acknowledge the role of educational institutions and theatre festivals in perpetuating Shakespeare’s cultural dominance in Canada and consider how this dominance reflects a larger colonial legacy that continues to harm so many lives today.

Liam Lockhart-Rush: We also shine a light on the artists who are grappling with Shakespeare, reworking and adapting his plays to meet the needs of contemporary audiences, including those whose stories have [00:03:30] existed in the margins for far too.

Marlis Schweitzer: Shaking Up Shakespeare coming Summer 2023 to a streaming platform near you.