Shakespeare's Staging
1590 to 2005
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Wednesday, 16 March 2005 12:09


As You Like It (I.2): The wrestling scene, at the Drury Lane Theatre, London, 19th century.


One of the principal implications of the following entries, and the relevant illustrative material in the Performance Galleries, is that each age stages and perceives the character of Shakespeare's plays as refracted through its own values and conventions, not just in terms of religious, political, social and aesthetic values, but even in terms of acceptable costumes and scenery. The effects of such refractions of the texts usually involve drastic cuts, emendations, and re-editing. This type of modification has long been identified in such periods as the Restoration, with its reinforcement of neoclassical norms, such as the unities of time, place and action, and the preference for purity of genres such as tragedy and comedy. However, it is now generally perceived that, while the nineteenth century restored much of the original scripts to the stage, these more authentic versions had still to be trimmed severely to accommodate handling of the complex, historically elaborate scenery then fashionable. Act V of Beerbohm Tree's Henry VIII disappeared entirely.

Awareness of such modifications by past authorities should alert us to the treatment accorded to Shakespeare's scripts by academic and theatrical powers in our own time, who reconstruct Shakespeare to suit modern tastes, often excused by these precedents of earlier performances. Editors now often extend such radical instability of text to Shakespeare's own time on the basis of divergences between quarto and folio editions. For example, there are now often supposed to be at least two pairs of Shakespearean plays called Richard III and King Lear respectively. The name of the character we have known as Falstaff has disappeared from the script of Henry IV, Part 1 in the Oxford Complete Works of Shakespeare. These local revisions, originally often resulting from adjustments to temporary conditions of original performance, are now held to discredit the integrity of the playwright's text, so that any divergence from printed scripts is nowadays both inevitable and properly unlimited, though the result may still be advanced under the banner of "Shakespearean." However, in a broader context, modern adjustments may seem as localized as those of the neoclassicists or the Victorian historicists. If this website has any larger implication, it is to undercut the definitiveness of many local perspectives, interpretations, and performances, and instead suggest the need to recognize, with most popular audiences, the underlying humane consistencies by which Shakespeare's plays have successfully defied historical distortion.




Aebischer, Pascale, Edward Esche, and Nigel Wheale, eds. Remaking Shakespeare: Performance Across Media, Genres, and Cultures. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2003.


Agate, James E. Brief Chronicles: A Survey of the Plays of Shakespeare and the Elizabethans in Actual Performance. London: Jonathan Cape, 1943.

Agate, James E., ed. English Dramatic Critics: 1660-1932: An Anthology. London: Arthur Barker, 1932 [reprint: New York, 1958].

Arnott, James Fullarton, and John William Robinson. English Theatrical Literature 1559-1900; A Bibliography incorporating Robert Lowe's "A Bibliographical Account of English Theatrical Literature," [1888]. London: Society for Theatrical Research, 1970.

Aykroyd, J. W. Performing Shakespeare: A Guide. London: French, 1979.



Bate, Jonathan, and Russell Jackson, eds. Shakespeare: An Illustrated History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.

Berry, Ralph. Shakespeare in Performance: Casting and Metamorphosis. London: Macmillan, 1993.

Birmingham Public Library. Shakespeare and the Stage, Series 3, Part 1: Prompt Books and Related Materials [Frank Benson, Gordon Crosse, etc.; 10 microfilm reels]. Brighton: Harvester Microform, 1986.

Brook, Donald. A Pageant of English Actors. London: Rockliff, 1950.

Bruster, Douglas, and Robert Weimann. Prologues to Shakespeare's Theatre: Performance and Liminality in Early Modern Drama. London: Routledge, 2004.



Cobb, Christopher J. The Staging of Romance in Late Shakespeare: Text and Theatrical Technique. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2007.

Conolly, Leonard W., and J. P. Wearing, eds. English Drama and Theatre, 1800-1900: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1978.

Cook, Dutton. A Book of the Play: Studies and Illustrations of the Histrionic Story, Life and Character. London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington, 1881.

Crane, Mary Thomas. "The Shakespearean Tetralogy." Shakespeare Quarterly 36, no. 3 (1985): 282-99.



Dawson, Anthony B. Watching Shakespeare: A Playgoers' Guide. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1988.

Dessen, Alan C. Rescripting Shakespeare: The Text, the Director, and Modern Productions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

Dibdin, Charles. A Complete History of the Stage. 5 Vols. London: Charles Dibdin, 1800.

Dictionary of National Biography, edited by Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900.

Dixon, Luke. The Performance of Gender with Particular Reference to the Plays of Shakespeare. Middlesex University, 1998.

Dobbs, Brian. Drury Lane: Three Centuries of the Theatre Royal 1663- 1971. London: Cassell, 1972.

Dobson, Michael. Shakespeare and Amateur Performance: A Cultural History. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011.

Dunn, Esther Cloudman. Shakespeare in America. New York: Macmillan, 1939.



Engler, Balz. "'Else my project fails': Applause and the Authority of Shakespeare's Texts." Cahiers Elisabethains 44 (1993): 23-31.

Esche, Edward J., ed. Shakespeare and His Contemporaries in Performance. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000.

Escolme, Bridget. Talking to the Audience: Shakespeare, Performance, Self. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2005.

Evans, Gareth and Barbara Lloyd. The Shakespeare Companion. New York: Charles Scribner, 1978.



Fischlin, Daniel, and Mark Fortier, eds. Adaptations of Shakespeare: An Anthology of Plays from the Seventeenth Century to the Present. New York; Milton Park, UK: Routledge, 2000.

Flaschmann, Michael. Shakespeare in Performance: Inside the Creative Process. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2011.

Folger Library. Shakespeare and the Stage: Series 1: Prompt Books from the Folger Shakespeare Library [86 microfilm reels]. Brighton: Harvester Microform, 1985.



Gale, Maggie B. and John Stokes, eds. The Cambridge Companion to the Actress. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007

Gilman, Ernest B. "History as Spectacle in Shakespeare." Susquehanna University Studies 11, no. 4 (1982): 183-91.

Goldman, Michael. Shakespeare and the Energies of Drama. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1972.

Gonzalez Fernandez de Sevilla, Jose Manuel. "Vicisitudes y desventuras del Shakespeare espanol." Shakespeare en Espana (1993): 17-38.

Gooch, Bryan N. S., and David Thatcher. A Shakespeare Music Catalogue. 5 vols. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991.

Grebanier, Bernard. Then Came Each Actor. New York: David McKay, 1975.

Gross, John, ed. After Shakespeare. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.



Haberman, Ina. Staging Slander and Gender in Rarly Modern England. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003.

Halstead, William P. Shakespeare as Spoken: A Collation of 5000 Acting Editions and Promptbooks of Shakespeare. 12 Vols. Ann Arbor: University Microfilms International, for the American Theater Association, 1977-80.

Hamilton, Fiona. "Dig at New Theatre Site Reveals Shakespeare's First Playhouse." The Times, London, August 6, 2008.

Harvard University. Shakespeare and the Stage: Prompt Books from the Harvard Theatre Collection [34 reels of microfilm]. Reading: Research Publications, 1988.

Highfill, Philip, et al. A Biographical Dictionary of Actors, Actresses, Musicians, Dancers. 16 vols. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1991.

Hirsch, James E. Shakespeare and the History of Soliloquies. Madisdon, NJ: Farleigh Dickinson University, 2003.

Hitchcock, Robert. An Historical View of the Irish Stage; From the Earliest Period Down To the Close of the Season 1788. Interspersed With Theatrical Anecdotes, And An Occasional Review Of The Irish Dramatic Authors and Actors. Dublin: Marchbank, 1788-94.

Hoenselaars, Ton. Shakespeare's History Plays: Performance, Translation and Adaptation in Britain and Abroad. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Hodgdon, Barbara, and W. B. Worthen, eds. A Companion to Shakespeare and Performance. Oxford: Blackwell, 2005.

Homan, Sidney, ed. Shakespeare's "More Than Words Can Witness": Essays on Visual and Nonverbal Enactment in the Plays. Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 1980.

Huang, Alexander, C. Y. Chinese Shakespeares: Two Centuries of Cultural Exchange. New York: Colombia University Press, 2009.



Iser, Wolfgang. Staging Politics: the Lasting Impact of Shakespeare's Histories. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993.

Irace, Kathleen O. Performing the Bad Quartos: Performance and Provenace of Six Shakespeare First Editions. Newark: University of Delaware, 1994.

Ireland, Joseph N. Records of the New York Stage, From 1750 to 1860. 2 Vols. New York: Morrell, 1866.



Jewkes, Wilfred T. Act Division in Elizabethan and Jacobean Plays: 1583-1616.



Kathman, David. Biographical Index of English Drama Before 1660[: a Complete Annotated List of All Playwrights, Actors, Patrons, Musicians, and Miscellaneous Other People Active in English Drama Before 1660].

Kelly, F. M. Shakespeare Costume for Stage and Screen. London: Adam and Charles Black, 1938. Revised by Alan Mansfield, 1970. Reprinted and corrected, 1973.

Kiefer, Frederick. Shakespeare's Visual Theatre: Staging the Personified Characters. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003.

Knapp, Richard J. A Consideration of the Relationship Between Performance and Criticism in the Work of Shakespeare. Bristol: University of the West of England, 2005.



Lamb, Charles. "On the Tragedies of Shakespeare Considered with Reference to Their Fitness for Stage Presentation." In Shakespeare Criticism, edited by D. Nichol Smith, 190-212. London: Oxford University Press, 1919.

Langbaine, Gerald. An Account of the English Dramatick Poets, [Oxford, 1691]. New York: Garland, 1973.

Langbaine, Gerald. The Lives and Characters of English Dramatic Poets, edited by Gildon, 1699. New York: AMS Press, 1976.

Legatt, Alexander. Jacobean Public Theatre. London; New York: Routledge, 1992.

Levine, Laura. Men in Women's Clothing: Antitheatricality and Effeminization 1579-1642. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994.

Lowe, Robert, James Arnott and John Robinson. English Theatrical Literature, 1559-1900: A Bibliography. Incorporating Lowe's A Bibliographical Account of English Theatrical Literature [1888]. London: Society for Theatre Research, 1970.

Luckhurst, Mary, and Jane Moody, eds. Theatre and Celebrity in Britain, 1660-2000. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.



Marshall, Gail, ed. Lives of Shakespearian Actors. 3 vols. Williston, VT: Ashgate, 2007.

Marshall, Norman. The Producer and the Play. London: MacDonald, 1958. Revised, 1962.

McGuire, Philip C., and David Samuelson, eds. Shakespeare: the Theatrical Dimension. AMS Studies in the Renaissance, Vol. 3. New York: AMS Press, 1979.

Merchant, W. Moelwyn. Shakespeare and the Artist. London: Oxford University Press, 1959.



Nagler, A. M. A Source Book in Theatrical History. New York: Dover, 1952.

Nelson, Alan H. Early Cambridge Theatres: College, University and Town Stages 1464-1720. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994.

Nelson, Paul, and Jane Schlueter, eds. Acts of Criticism: Performance Matters in Shakespeare and his Contemporaries. Cranbury, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2006.

Nordlund, Marcus. Shakespeare and the Nature of Love: Literature, Culture, Evolution. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2007.



Occhiogrosso, Frank, ed. Shakespeare in Performance: a Collection of Essays. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2003.

Orlin, Lena Cowan and Miranda Johnson-Haddad, eds. Staging Shakespeare: Essays in Honor of Alan C. Dessen. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2007.

Orrell, John. The Theatres of Inigo Jones and John Webb. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985.

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, edited by Colin Matthew and Brian Harrison. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.



Palfrey, Simon, and Tiffany Stern. Shakespeare in Parts. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

Pane, R. U. English Translations from the Spanish, 1484-1943. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1944.

Pemble, John. Shakespeare Goes to Paris: How the Bard Conquered France. London, New York: Hambledon, 2005.

Playfair, Nigel Ross. The Story of the Lyric Theatre. London: Chatto & Windus, 1925.

Poel, William. Shakespeare in the Theatre. London: Sidgwick and Jackson, 1913.

Potter, Lois. "The Second Tetralogy: Performance as Interpretation." In A Companion to Shakespeare's Works, Volume II: The Histories, edited by Richard Dutton and Jean E. Howard, 287-307. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2003.

Potter, Lois and Arthur F. Kinney, eds. Shakespeare: Text and Theatre: Essays in Honor of Jay L. Halio. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1999.

Pujante, Angel-Luis, and Ton Hoenselaars, eds. Four Hundred Years of Shakespeare in Europe. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2003.



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Rabkin, Norman. Shakespeare and the Problem of Meaning. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1981

Richman, David. Laughter, Pain and Wonder: Shakespeare's Comedies and the Audience in the Theatre. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1990.

Richards, Sandra. The Rise of the English Actress. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 1993.

Richmond, Hugh M. "The Dark Lady as Reformation Mistress." Kenyon Review 3, no. 2 (Spring 1986): 91-105.

Roach, Joseph, The Player's Passion: Studies in the Science of Acting, Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1985.



Salgado, Gamini. Eyewitnesses of Shakespeare: First Hand Accounts of Performances 1590-1890. London: Chatto & Windus, for Sussex University Press, 1975.

Schmidgall, Gary. Shakespeare and Opera. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990.

Shakespearean Criticism: Excerpts from the Criticism of William Shakespeare's Plays and Poetry, from the First Published Appraisals to Current Evaluations. Detroit: Gale Research, 1984- Volumes 11-26: perfomance history of plays via reviews and other eyewitness accounts.

"Shakespeare in Performance," a Special Issue of Shakespeare Quarterly, vol. 62, no. 3 (Fall 2011).

Shattuck, Charles H. "'Shakespeare's Plays in Performance from 1660 to the Present." In Riverside Shakespeare, second edition, 1905-31. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.

Shattuck, Charles H. Shakespeare on the American Stage: From the Hallams to Edwin Booth; and From Booth and Barrett to Sothern and Marlowe. 2 vols. Washington: Folger Shakespeare Library, 1976 and 1987.

Shattuck, Charles H. The Shakespeare Promptbooks: a Descriptive Catalogue. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1965.

Soloski, Alexis. "Once More Into the Breeches." Arts and Leisure: New York Times, 10/6/13, p.4.

Speaight, Robert. Shakespeare on the Stage: An Illustrated History of Shakespearian Performance. London: Collins, 1973.

Sprague, Arthur Colby. Shakespeare and the Actors: The Stage Business in his Plays (1660-1905). Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1945. Repr., New York: Russell and Russell, 1963.

Sprague, Arthur Colby. Shakespearian Players and Performances. London: Adam and Charles Black, 1954.

Sprague, Arthur Colby. Shakespeare's Histories: Plays for the Stage. London: Society for Theatre Research, 1966.

Stamm, Rudolf. Shakespeare's Word Scenery with Some Remarks on Stage History and the Interpretation of His Plays. Zurich and St. Gallen: Polygraphischer Verlag, 1954.

Stern, Tiffany. Rehearsal from Shakespeare to Sheridan. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Stribrny, Zdenek. The Whirligig of Time: Essays on Shakespeare and Czechoslovakia, edited by Lois Potter. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2007.



Tanitsch, Robert. A Pictorial Companion to Shakespeare's Plays. London: Muller, 1982.

Teague, Frances. Shakespeare and the American Popular Stage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

Teague, Frances. Shakespeare's Speaking Properties. Cranbury, NJ: Bucknell University Press, 1991.

Thompson, Marvin and Ruth, eds. Shakespeare and the Sense of Performance: Essays in the Tradition of Performance Criticism in Honor of Bernard Beckerman. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1989.



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Vaughan, Virginia Mason. Performing Blackness on English stages, 1500-1800. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Van Lennep, William, Emmett L. Avery, Arthur H. Scouten, George Winchester Stone, Jr., and Charles Beecher Hogan, eds. The London Stage, 1660-1800: A Calendar of Plays, Entertainments and Afterpieces, together with Casts, Box-Receipts and Contemporary Comment, Compiled from the Playbills, Newspapers and Theatrical Diaries of the Period. 5 parts. Carbondale, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1960-1968.

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Wanko, Cheryl. Roles of Authority: Thespian Biography and Celebrity in Britain. Lubbock, Texas: Texas Tech University Press, 2003.


Ward, A. C., ed. Specimens of English Dramatic Criticism XVII-XX Centuries. London: Oxford University Press, 1945.

Watkins, Ronald. On Producing Shakespeare. London: Michael Joseph, 1950. Reprint: New York: Benjamin Bloom, 1964.

Weingust, Don. Acting from Shakespeare's First Folio: Theory, Text and Performance. New York and Milton Park, UK, 2006.

Wells, Stanley and Sarah Stanton, eds. The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare on Stage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

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Williams, Simon. Shakespeare on the German Stage: 1586-1914, volume 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Winter, William. Shakespeare on the Stage. New York: Moffat, Yard, 1911 (First Series); 1915 (Second Series); 1916 (Third Series).

Worthen, W. B. Shakespeare and the Authority of Performance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

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Xavier University Library. Shakespeare Editions and Adaptations.



Yates, Frances. Theatre of the World. London: Routledge Kegan Paul, 1969.



Zesmer, David M. Guide to Shakespeare. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1976.



The rebuilt Globe Theatre stands as a link between Shakespeare's time and our own.

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