The Alabama Shakespeare Project (ASP) is a performance-based research collective exploring early modern entertainments. To do so, we
- stage free readings of the plays by William Shakespeare and his contemporaries, performed by University of Alabama students and community members.
- facilitate performance-based research projects and experiments led by graduate students and faculty in the Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies.
- collaborate with art-makers and scholars in the American southeast in conditions digital and live.
In 1983, the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) came to New York for the first time, hosting a week of events that later came to be known as the Shakespeare Project. During the day they played host to workshops, panel discussions, and seminars for the general public, and in the evenings staged readings.
Inspired by this approach, a number of “projects” or staged reading series arose across the country, including the Shakespeare Project of Chicago, Back Room Shakespeare Project, Boston Shakespeare Project, and Portland Shakespeare Project, among others.
ASP is not the first of its kind in the American southeast, but arises from Improbable Fictions (IF), a staged reading series which ran from 2007 to 2019. Inspired by IF, at the center of ASP remains a year-long series free and open to the public. With a central question in mind — How did trap doors work? What makes a good ruler? — each season is curated under the advisement of undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty at UA.
We hope you’ll join us on this journey. Want to get involved? Have a play in mind? Get in touch! Until then, #RollethTide.
Site logo from Byam Shaw’s “Antony and Cleopatra, a set of seven original drawings” (c. 1900), Folger Shakespeare Library, ART Box s534 no. 2 part 1. Used with permission under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-SA 4.0).