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Admittedly, I’ve neglected these Bardathon-related posts, but I’m hoping this grave error will be mitigated in light of my having neglected practically everything else in my life—I’m submitting my (Shakespearean) PhD thesis/dissertation in less than two months, and I’ve been working consecutively on revisions since 1 January. Yup, that’s 24 days and counting… On the bright side, my (crazily self-imposed) timeline means February will be relatively less insane, which means more time for Bardathoning (and also, well, laundry)—happy days ahead!

But back to the Bard! On the 400th death anniversary of the guy indirectly responsible for feeding and housing me, I’m fortunate enough to be living in the UK, at least until May. And golly, there are certainly quite a few events happening in the upcoming year!

Benedict Cumberbatch as Richard III in the upcoming BBC War of the Roses tetralogy.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Richard III in the upcoming BBC War of the Roses tetralogy.

Arguably one of the most widely available of these is BBC’s Shakespeare Festival 2016, which includes: a live TV celebration on 23 April (Shakespeare’s death day), hosted by David Tennant, and featuring great Shakespearean guests such as Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ian McKellen, and Joseph Fiennes; a special episode of Horrible Histories; Russell T. Davies’s TV adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream; the long-awaited second tetralogy of The Hollow Crown: The War of the Roses; and many, many more!

On the publishing front, there are two forthcoming books based on Shakespeare’s plays: a collection of short stories, Monstrous Little Voices: New Tales From Shakespeare’s Fantasy World, by Jonathan Barnes, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Emma Newman, Kate Heartfield, and Foz Meadows (8 March 2016); and the novel Shylock Is My Name by Howard Jacobson (9 Feb 2016). I’ve been given a galley copy of Monstrous Little Voices, and will post my review here when done.


Other ‘live’ Shakespearean events include the ever-lovely offerings of the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon and the Globe in London. Of particular note is the Globe’s staging of Shakespeare’s late plays (Pericles, Cymbeline, The Winter’s Tale, and The Tempest) as part of its winter season, ending on 21/22 April. I’m flying to London for a long weekend to catch all four—with the cheapest, standing tickets, of course, since Shakespeareans-in-training are poor folks indeed. If you’re in/near London, I’d definitely recommend checking out a Globe production (or four), and there’s no time like now!

Even more locally (if you happen to live in Northern Ireland/Belfast), Terra Nova Productions is a theatre company putting together Belfast Tempest, which is community- and volunteer-based, and in which everyone can participate. The performances are on 20-23 April, and you can grab your tickets here. The Ulster Orchestra is performing evening (15 April) and lunchtime concerts (20 April) with Shakespeare-inspired music, and as well as at a free, hour-long ‘Literary Lunchtime’ talk about Shakespeare and Music, which I’m presenting (13 April).

If you’ve got an academic interest in Shakespeare, there’s certainly a lot going on this year, too! The Shakespeare Association of America is holding its annual meeting/conference in New Orleans (23-26 March), complete with a jazz funeral for the Bard. The International Shakespeare Association is hosting its tenth World Shakespeare Congress, a massive, week-long series of events in Stratford-upon-Avon and London (31 July to 6 August). There’s also an awesome conference I’m hoping to attend (pending funding) in Kronborg Castle, Denmark, entitled the ‘Elisnore Conference’—yup, that’s the castle from Hamlet. The conference focuses on ‘the next 400 years’, which I think is a super duper important topic, especially if we want to keep the Shakespeare love alive.


The Kronborg Castle, aka Elsinore on a sunny day.

Phew, that was quite a mouthful—but it’s certainly a great time to be a Shakespearean! If you know of any upcoming events in your area or otherwise, or if you’re involved in anything, please let me know and I’ll be more than happy to mention it in the next monthly roundup!

Now, it’s time for you to share your Shakespearean adventures over the past month! As I’d mentioned in the Bardathon Challenge sign-up post, I’m hosting monthly, worldwide giveaways for everyone who’s participated in some sort of Shakespearean activity over the past month. January’s ‘prize’ is one of the Shakespeare postcards I picked up when in Stratford—I’ll try to make sure the winner gets a suitable design, depending on the entry.

To enter, all you have to do is fill out the form below, with a link to a blog post/Goodreads review/Tweet/etc about how you’ve participated in the Bardathon Challenge this month, and your thoughts about the experience. Entries are accepted until 1 February 2016, and the winner drawn at random shortly thereafter. If you have any questions, please do drop me a line. Good luck!

And of course, if you know anyone who might be interested in participating in the Bardathon Challenge, please do give him or her a wee nudge—the more the merrier!