About the Project
Applications are invited for an AHRC-funded collaborative doctoral award, to run from October 2015 to October 2018, on the Royal Shakespeare Company’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation.’
In 2016, as part of its celebrations of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) will mount a nationwide tour of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in which a different set of local amateur actors will impersonate the play’s ‘rude mechanicals’ at every venue it visits. This ambitious and high-profile event, called ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation’ (see http://www.rsc.org.uk/explore/projects/a-midsummer-nights-dream-a-play-for-the-nation.aspx), arises from the ‘Open Stages’ outreach project, launched in 2011, during which amateur companies performing Shakespeare all around the United Kingdom have been contacted, assisted and showcased by the RSC.
The Shakespeare Institute of the University of Birmingham and the RSC propose to embed a doctoral student with ‘A Play for the Nation’ to research this rich and complex artistic and social event. Granted access to planning meetings, rehearsals, documentation and performances, the student will study the methods and processes of the RSC and its amateur partners and produce a PhD thesis about their interactions: at the same time the student will be trained in academic theatre history and cultural studies by the university.
‘A Play for the Nation,’ as well as being a landmark in theatre history, will be a test-case in cultural policy, and it demands investigation and analysis as both. Over the three years of the studentship, the doctoral research produced by this student will contribute to a fuller understanding of the place of Shakespeare in the workings of national and local communities.
The student will be co-supervised by Professor Michael Dobson, Director of the Shakespeare Institute, and by Erica Whyman, Deputy Artistic Director of the RSC and director of ‘A Play for the Nation.’
The successful candidate will be expected to have training in a relevant discipline (preferably theatre studies), a serious and informed interest in arts policy, and a deep familiarity with A Midsummer Night’s Dream. A Masters degree is desirable.
Candidates should submit an application for a PhD in Shakespeare Studies before 12pm GMT on Friday, 17 April 2015.
Applicants MUST also apply directly to Professor Dobson at: [Email Address Removed] by the same date, providing a covering letter, CV, research proposal (1000 words max.) and a writing sample (e.g. MA dissertation), to ensure that their applications are considered for this specific opportunity.