Sunday, March 25, 2012

Mark Anderson will keynote Toronto Shakespeare authorship seminar April 7, 2012

York University, Toronto (Center for Film & Theatre on left)

Professor Don Rubin of the York University Department of Theatre in Toronto, Canada has sent information about the public seminar titled "Shakespeare:  The Authorship Question" scheduled for 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on April 7, 2012 at the Joseph G. Green Studio in the Centre for Film and Theatre at York University. The Toronto seminar is the culmination of a new, one-semester, three-credit, seminar for fourth-year students offered by the York University Department of Theater titled "Shakespeare: The Authorship Question". The class began in January 2012. The deadline for reserving a place at the seminar is April 2, 2012. Professor Rubin shared the following accommodation recommendation for those who are traveling to the event:                                               
I checked out the Novotel on Park Home Avenue in Toronto. It is less than 15 minutes from the campus and about the same to downtown. It is right off Yonge Street, Toronto's main drag. lots of shops and restaurants (although who knows what will be open Easter weekend). But more than on the campus, I think. The hotel is comfortable and convenient. They have a room and breakfast deal for about $126 plus tax (another $15). So for $140 you get a good room (single or double) in a good hotel and a  buffet breakfast. The only catch is that it is prepaid and non-cancellable. You need to book it more than three days in advance. So if that works, I suggest it.  
"Shakespeare: the Authorship Question"
11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
April 12, 2012
Joseph G. Green Studio, York University, Toronto
This is the question that won’t go away even after 400 years: who really wrote the plays and poems that were performed and published under the name “William Shake-Speare?”  Could it have been a pen name? And if a pen name, why? And if a pen name, who was the real William Shake-Speare?
Over the last century and-a-half numerous scholars, artists and those who are simply curious have looked at the issue and have suggested quite publicly that the Bard of Avon may not be who we have long thought he was. Among these doubters have been Sigmund Freud, Mark Twain. Henry James, Orson Welles, Helen Keller and, more recently, major artists such as Mark Rylance (first Artistic Director of the rebuilt Globe Theatre), Jeremy Irons and Sir Derek Jacobi. Even a judge from the US Supreme Court – after hearing the arguments in a legal framework – said there were certainly grounds for reasonable doubt.
In recent years dozens of books have been published interrogating these and related questions arguing for against everyone from the standard candidate – the actor-manager from Stratford-upon-Avon William Shaksper (that is indeed how he generally spelled his name) -- to  Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford (the current most favoured candidate) to Italian-born and English-raised lexicographer John Florio. And just this past fall, Sony Pictures released a major film dealing with the subject called Anonymous that attracted a wide public into the discussion.
York University will hold a day-long conference on the subject open to the public on Saturday, 7 April (the Saturday of Easter Weekend) sponsored by the York University Department of Theatre in association with York’s Faculty of Fine Arts, Winters College, Stong College, the Division of Humanities and the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies Research Fund.  Cost for the day is $30 which will include a light lunch. Reservations must be made but one can pay at the door.
Numerous people of note have already committed to it. The keynote speaker will be Mark Anderson from Massachusetts, author of the critically-acclaimed volume Shakespeare By Another Name which argues the case for Edward de Vere. Anderson’s own website on the subject is called His paper will be entitled: "The Bard's New Clothes: Shakespeare's Autobiography and Why the Authorship Controversy Matters."
The conference will begin at 11 a.m. on April 7 with a welcome by Professor Don Rubin (a former Chair of the Department of Theatre and Founding Director of the MA and PhD Programs in Theatre Studies) who is currently directing a fourth year seminar at York on the authorship question. Prof. Rubin is also the series editor of Routledge’s six volume World Encyclopedia of Contemporary Theatre and President of the Canadian Theatre Critics Association.
The events themselves will be launched with a one-hour performance based on Mark Twain’s comic examination of the question, Is Shakespeare Dead? This professional one-man show will be presented by Montreal actor Keir Cutler who has performed the show all across North America in recent years.
Culmination of the day will be a 90 minute panel debate on the subject chaired by Prof. Rubin. Among the participants will be Mark Anderson, Keir Cutler, Italian-born scholar and editor Lamberto Tassarini of Montreal (a major proponent of John Florio), York’s own Canada Research Chair in Theatre Prof. Christopher Innes of the Department of English (arguing for William of Stratford), David Prosser (Communications Director and former Literary Manager of the  Stratford Festival) and Dr. Michel Vais, editor of the Quebec theatre journal Jeu. The panel will include questions and answers from the audience 
The conference has already attracted wide interest across Canada and from abroad.

For additional details, for registration or to support this event please contact Prof. Don Rubin ( or Tasha Gallant (publicity committee) at
Shakespeare: The Authorship Question
Saturday, 7 April 2012
Joseph G. Green Studio, York University, Toronto, Canada

11 a.m.          Welcome    Don Rubin, Department of Theatre
11:15             Mark Twain’s  Is Shakespeare Dead
                      a solo performance starring Keir Cutler
12 to 12:15   Coffee break
12:15             Keynote Address (followed by question and answer)
                      "The Bard's New Clothes: Shakespeare's Autobiography and      
                      Why The Authorship Controversy Matters."            
                       Mark Anderson, author Shakespeare By Another Name
1:30-2:00       Lunch break (lobby)
2:00 to 3:00   The Shakespeare Conspiracy (video starring Sir Derek Jacobi)
                       followed by a reading of Shakespeare in Space, a short poem
                       by poet and York Creative Writing Professor and theatre critic
                       Patricia Keeney
3:00 to 4:30    Panel discussion: So Who Did Write Shakespeare?
                        Chair, Prof. Don Rubin
                        Mark Anderson,  author
                        Keir Cutler, actor
                        Lamberto Tassinari, author The Case (and rap) for John Florio                                          
                        David Prosser, Literary Manager, the Stratford Festival
                        Michel Vais, editor of the Quebec theatre journal, Jeu
                        Prof. Christopher Innes, Department of English and
                                  Canada Research Chair in Theatre, York University
4:30 to 6:30    Special conference showing of the film Anonymous (if enoughj interest)