“We are giants, lying here, who can make forests quiver”
– Virginia Woolf, The Waves
I am a Shakespearean researcher and teacher of English, based in Chelmsford, Essex. I believe in education, storytelling, and the power of literature to make giants of us all.
I studied English Literature at the University of Exeter, where I enjoyed the view so much that I decided to stick around for my MA and doctorate there too. I was awarded my PhD in 2015. My thesis, “Playing Dead: Living Death in Early Modern Drama,” looked at occurrences of “living death” – a liminal state that exists between life and death, and which may be approached from either side – in early modern English drama and combined a broadly historicist approach with explorations of dramaturgy, ideas of stagecraft and performance.
My current research interests are primarily to do with modern interpretations and adaptations of Shakespearean plays – particularly the ways in which early modern symbolism might be re-imagined for the present day in order to retain (or enhance) its original significance and effect on audiences. I have found processes of adaptation and modernisation especially relevant to my teaching practice, and am a strong advocate for the use of modern translations of E-M drama in the classroom and on the stage!
The purpose of this blog is sound off about the theatrical, literary, and educational matters that interest me. I write with no particular agenda, and – as in the classroom – aim to keep discussion as positive as possible. The best criticism, in my view, is always that which is constructive.
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Dr James Alsop