The Emancipated Shakespeare: or, What You Will

  • Stephen Bottoms


This chapter reflects on the continuing prevalence of Shakespeare’s drama in the twenty-first century, and queries some of the assumptions behind the dominant staging approaches to Shakespeare in Anglophone cultures, as epitomized the UK’s Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company. Noting the integral relationship between our attitudes to Shakespeare and the ways in which his plays are taught in education contexts, the chapter draws on Jacques Rancière’s essay ‘The Emancipated Spectator’ and the earlier work that informs it, ‘The Ignorant Schoolmaster’, in order ask how the question of learning relates to contemporary Shakespearean staging approaches. Using Julius Caesar as a linking text, the chapter examines Tim Crouch’s I, Cinna (The Poet) (2012) and Toneelgroep Amsterdam’s Roman Tragedies (2008) to argue for an ‘emancipated’ approach to working with Shakespeare in the twenty-first century.


Shakespeare Julius Caesar Tim Crouch Ivo van Hove Jacques Ranciere Drama in education 


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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen Bottoms
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Arts, Languages and CultureUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK

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