Shakespeare Summer Programme

2016 Shakespeare BR 200x155 72dpi

6 – 19 August 2017

We are now in the process of planning next summer’s programme. 2017 information will be available in November.The following Information relates to 2016 and will give you a general idea about what we offer.

Programme Director: Dr Fred Parker

This programme offers a rich collection of courses, lectures, and special events. You can explore the power, beauty, and meaning of Shakespeare's plays with leading academics; discover connections and the wider world of Elizabethan culture; and explore aspects of performance, including, if you wish, workshops led by a professional actor and director.

The academic programme

  • Four special subject courses
    (two for each week)
  • Plenary course RS0
    Exits and Entrances
  • Evening talks

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 - Warriors in love: Troilus and Cressida and Othello
Ra2 - Shakespeare on love. The Romances
Ra3 - Vaulting ambition: The Tragedy of Macbeth
Ra4 - Much Ado About Nothing. "A kind of merry war."

2.00pm – 3.30pm

Sa1 - King Lear in performance. "Meantime we shall express our darker purpose."
Sa2 - The later history plays: King Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 and King Henry V
Sa3 - Romanticising Shakespeare
Sa4 - Character and action in Julius Caesar

Week 2

Group Rb: 9.15am – 10.45am

Rb1 - Self and role: Richard II, Hamlet, Coriolanus
Rb2 - Shakespeare and the natural world
Rb3 - Antony and Cleopatra: a Roman thought about Egypt 
Rb4 - Shakespeare's season pairs - This course is no longer available

2.00pm – 3.30pm

Sb1 - King Lear in performance. "Meantime we shall express our darker purpose."
Sb2 - Measure for Measure and Julius Caesar: Ben Jonson responds
Sb3 - Shakespeare's evolving comedy
Sb4 - Justice and fortune in The Merchant of Venice

Plenary lectures and evening talks

The theme of the morning plenary lecture programme is Exits and Entrances. 2016 is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, that great exit which, according to one of the poems prefacing the First Folio, set up his re-entrance to the applause of posterity. Lectures will explore Shakespearean deaths, exits and entrances, literal and figurative, with an eye both to his stagecraft and to his works' reception between then and now. Invited speakers include:

Dr Fred Parker: "You that way; we this way"
Janet Suzman: Cleopatra's sisters
Dr Catherine Alexander: Eight entrances and an exit: stage directions in Shakespeare's late plays
Professor Catherine Belsey: The succession of voices in A Midsummer Night's Dream
Dr Emma Whipday: "I hear a knocking at the south entry": the home, the castle and the knocking at the gates in Macbeth
Dr John Lennard: Mistaken exits in Henry IV
Dr Fred Parker: Making a big exit: suicide in Shakespeare

Evening talks

Evening talks and events are broader in scope, aiming to stimulate new pleasures and insights through the exchange of experience and ideas. Invited speakers include:

Dr Fred Parker: Shakespeare: the reception
Julian Munby: From Florence to Galway: the European context for the towns of the British islands
Dr Catherine Alexander: Remembering Shakespeare
Dr Catherine Alexander: Introduction to Cymbeline
Louis de Bernières: A conversation with Louis de Bernières
Dr Alex Lindsay: Two Noble Kinsmen
Vivien Heilbron and David Rintoul: Exits and entrances

Martin Best, lutenist with the Royal Shakespeare Company will also give an evening recital.  

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 and accommodation fees available for this programme.

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

Information for applicants

Programme calendar (pdf version, 32KB)
Who can apply
How to apply (pdf version, 90KB)
What happens next?
Tuition and accommodation fees (pdf versions, 46KB and 42KB)
Language requirements
Visa guidance
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.