Shakespeare Summer Programme

Midsummer 200x155

31 July – 13 August 2016
Programme Director: Dr Fred Parker

This programme offers a rich collection of courses, lectures, and special events. You can discuss the power, beauty, and meaning of these plays with leading academics; discover connections and the wider world of Elizabethan culture; attend productions and recitals; and explore aspects of performance, including workshop exercises led by a professional actor and director.

More information about the 2016 programme will be available in the coming months. Last year's programme information is listed below.

The academic programme

  • Four special subject courses
    (two for each week)
  • Plenary course RS0
    Truth and Fiction
  • Evening lectures

Special subject courses

You choose two courses per week, each has five sessions. You are expected to engage in preparatory work to gain the greatest benefit from your studies.

Week 1

9.15am – 10.45am

Ra1 - The Falstaff plays: Henry IV and The Merry Wives
Ra2 - Slow reading: A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ra3 - Hamlet's problems
Ra4 - "Love is merely a madness": As You Like It

2.00pm – 3.30pm

Sa1 - "So much blood ...": Macbeth
Sa2 - The Taming of the Shrew and other early comedies
Sa3 - Romanticising Shakespeare
Sa4 - Mortality and mercy in Measure for Measure

Week 2

Group Rb: 9.15am – 10.45am

Rb1 - Shakespeare’s strange last plays
Rb2 - Shakespeare and the shapes of history
Rb3 - Antony and Cleopatra: a Roman thought about Egypt
Rb4 - Shakespeare’s troublesome endings

2.00pm – 3.30pm

Sb1 - 'So much blood …": Macbeth
Sb2 - Much Ado About Nothing and Othello
Sb3 - Nature and justice in King Lear
Sb4 - Shakespeare and friends

Plenary lectures

The theme of the morning plenary lecture programme is Truth and Fiction. Lectures will open up new connections both within and beyond the works. Speakers will include such eminent Shakespeareans as Catherine Belsey, Kate McLuskie and Catherine Alexander, as well as Martin Best, lutenist with the Royal Shakespeare Company..

Evening lectures

These evening lectures are broader in scope and include introductions to the optional excursions.

A typical day

On each weekday morning you attend a class from your Sa or Sb special subject course, followed by a plenary lecture. In the afternoons you attend a class from your Ra or Rb special subject course. One or two afternoon lectures are also scheduled. Subject specific and joint lectures are offered in the evenings.

College accommodation

Accommodation is available for participants who want to stay in a Cambridge College. Please see the accommodation options available for this programme.

Non-residential attendance is also available if participants prefer to find their own lodgings.

Information for applicants

Programme calendar
Who can apply
How to apply
Making choices
Programme options and fees
Language requirements
Booking terms and conditions


The quickest way to apply is by using our secure online booking system. You can also apply by downloading an application form (pdf) and sending it by post or fax.