York St John University sponsors Shakespeare Festival

Published: 13 April 2024
Reporter: David Chadderton

Artists from the UK, the United States, Ukraine, Japan, Bulgaria, France and Turkey will arrive in York for 10 days of Shakespeare-related events this month at the York International Shakespeare Festival.

York St John University has begun a three-year sponsorship of the festival linked to its School of Humanities and School of the Arts.

Events include the UK première of Becoming Othello: A Black Girl’s Journey, written by and starring Debra Ann Byrd, Founding Artistic Director of the Harlem Shakespeare Festival, who will also give a Symposium Keynote Lecture about Shakespeare and Identity.

There will also be a collaborative project produced by the Festival and the National Theatre of Ivano-Frankivsk from Ukraine featuring artists from York’s Ukrainian community, Twelfth Night, the first full Shakespeare production performed in the UK by Footsbarn Travelling Theatre in over 15 years, and the world premiere of Hamlet: Double Bill from Italy’s La Ribalta Teatro, which provides the viewpoints of the gravediggers and the Players on Shakespeare’s tragedy.

Dr Saffron Vickers Walkling, Festival Advisor and Senior Lecturer in English Literature at York St John University, said, “alongside our hosting of premières, workshops, readings, talks and exhibitions we’re bringing together practitioners, educators, students, local and global festival contributors to participate in panel discussions and Q&As, covering a wide range of ways in which Shakespeare can be central to the way we develop an understanding of ourselves.

“This festival aligns closely with York St John University’s commitment to social justice, inclusion and diversity, and we’ll be interrogating the ways in which Shakespeare can sometimes exclude, but also how Shakespeare can be appropriated and reconfigured to speak to us all as diverse individuals and as societies.”

The York International Shakespeare Festival 2024 runs from Thursday 18 to Sunday 28 April 2024.

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