Monday, April 13, 2009

John Shahan reports on Shakespeare Authorship Coalition


Note: Oberon will include a discussion of the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt at our Shakespeare's UN-birthday celebration on April 23, at the Farmington Community Library. LT

From Shakespeare Authorship Coalition Chairperson, John Shahan:

This Tuesday, April 14, will be the second anniversary of the launch of theDeclaration of Reasonable Doubt About the Identity of William Shakespeare. On that day in 2007, same-day signing ceremonies were held at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon, and at UCLA's Geffen Playhouse. Each event involved a Declaration signing by ten prominent authorship doubters, the most notable being former LA Times Arts Critic Emeritus Charles Champlin.

Since then, 1,470 people have signed the Declaration, including 263 current or former college and university faculty members. Of the total, 214 have doctorates, and 310 master’s degrees. Overall, 895 are college graduates, the largest number of them in English literature (244), followed by those in the arts (148), theatre arts (106), education (88), history (77), social sciences (76), math/ engineering/ computers (75), natural sciences (67), law (62), and medicine/ health care (61). Among faculty members, the largest category is also English literature (57). Thanks for helping the SAC get off to a good start toward achieving our goal of legitimizing the Shakespeare authorship question in academia by April 23, 2016!


SAC Patrons
We've always had the best arguments on our side, and now we have the best actors! Last year Mark Rylance won the Tony Ward for Best Actor in a Broadway Play. This year Sir Derek Jacobi won the Olivier Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Malvolio in Twelfth Night. Congratulations to Mark and Sir Derek for taking top honors on both sides of the Atlantic! W are also pleased to announce that actor Michael York has joined Mark and Sir Derek as a SAC patron. Michael has long advocated for the legitimacy of the authorship issue. He was the featured speaker at a reception at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles when the Shakespeare Association of America and World Shakespeare Congress met there in 1994. It was the first authorship-related event for some of us, and his enthusiasm was inspiring. Please join the Board in welcoming Michael. We hope this will portend good things for his career, too!


Notable Signatories
The SAC Board is also pleased to announce the addition of seven people to the list of “notable” signatories on our website. They join the previous ten, for a total of seventeen. It is always difficult to decide whom to include on this list because we have so many distinguished signatories. We have decided to set the bar high in keeping with the quality of the twenty outstanding past doubters named in the Declaration itself. The notables list now includes just 1.1% of current signatories. Keep in mind that all faculty members appear on the separate list of academic signatories. We trust you will agree that the following are all worthy additions:

  • Alan K. Austin – Producer of the documentary "The Shakespeare Mystery," Frontline (PBS). Author of novels "The Adago" and (due in 2010) "A Walking Shadow," involving Edward DeVere
  • Barry R. Clarke, M.Sc. – Daily Telegraph puzzlist; author, “Challenging Logic Puzzles Mensa” (Sterling: 2003), and “The Shakespeare Puzzle” (Lulu: 2008), which argues for Francis Bacon
  • Dr. Keir C. Cutler, Ph.D. – Actor, playwright; Ph.D. in theatre; adapted Mark Twain's "Is Shakespeare Dead?" Performed it across Canada, and it was televised nationally.
  • Mr. Gareth L. Howell, J.D. – President World Affairs Council, Greater Cincinnati, formerly Director of Programs, United Nations International Training Center, Torino, Italy
  • Dr. Mark Andrew Morris, Ph.D. – Visiting Scholar-in-Residence, Faculty of Arts, University of Alberta. As Canada's most-performed librettist, I cannot believe Shakspere was the author.
  • Michael D. Rubbo, M.A. – Director, "Much Ado About Something," award-winning documentary on the case for Christopher Marlowe; co-winner, Hoffman prize. Former lecturer on film, Harvard.
  • Prof. Jack M. Shuttleworth, Ph.D. – Professor of English, Emeritus, US Air Force Academy; long time Oxfordian; currently editing the Oxfordian edition of Hamlet

We should note that Professor Shuttleworth is also a retired Air Force general, and a former Chairman of the English Department at the Air Force Academy.


Signatory recruitment letter
We have asked our patrons and Academic Advisory Board membersto help recruit additional signatories by sending letters to prominent doubters and others they know. We would like to ask each of you to do the same. Please try to recruit at least one new signatory this year. We have created a draft letter you can revise and send. Feel free to change the names at the top to names of other signers who may be known to those to whom you send letters. Please include copies of the Declaration and signing form from our downloads page. You can also copy the text of the letter into an email and send it that way, if you prefer. Thanks for helping to recruit new signatories. We hope to have another high-profile media event this year, possibly on September 8, the second anniversary of the Doubters’ Day signing event in Chichester. We want to maximize the number of new signers we announce this fall.


Donations
Finally, please make a tax-deductible donation to the SAC. We depend on your donations to operate our website, disseminate the Declaration, recruit signatories, organize signing events, and keep our tax-exempt status. Donors of $40.00 or more ($50.00 outside U.S.) are eligible to receive a Declaration poster like those used in signing ceremonies.

Sincerely,
SAC Bard of Directors,
John Shahan, Chairman

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