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2020 BSA Conference Update

Dear Members,

In response to the very fast-moving public health crisis at a national and international level, our Events team have met with staff in Surrey and decided to cancel the BSA conference planned for July 16-18 in 2020.

We are very sorry to have to do this, as many of you have already undertaken work in preparation – none more so than the conference team at the University of Surrey led by Professor Marion Wynne-Davies. I would like to thank her and Professor Robert Shaughnessy, Emily Taylor and Jen Ratnayaka for everything they have done so far. There is a fantastic selection of panels and workshops organised from the papers and sessions that many of you have proposed.

Those members who have already registered for the conference will have your conference fees fully reimbursed. For those of you who have already made travel arrangements, the BSA can provide you with a formal letter explaining the cancellation of the conference in cases where this would help you to claim insurance for your cancelled conference travel and accommodation. Please email me directly — to request this.

I am very pleased to say that all the efforts to date will not be lost. The University of Surrey will host our re-animated BSA Conference ‘Shakespeare in Action’ next year from 5-7 August 2021. We have been given these dates by the Surrey conference office and, while we know we cannot be certain that things will be completely back to normal in 2021, we are planning ahead for then.

The Conference team are happy to accept all the papers and workshops proposed for this year as part of the 2021 programme. The team will contact you shortly, so please consider yourselves presenters-in-waiting. Once a new programme is drawn up, a second call for papers will be sent out to complete it.

In the meantime, we will be in touch with further events this year as and when the public health crisis permits. We will make arrangements to hold our AGM and our 2020 Honorary Fellowships Awards at such events, as soon as we are able, and hope that you will use this opportunity to make contact with each other.

Finally, I hope you will all keep safe and well over the coming months. Like Lennox in Macbeth I ‘advise you to a caution t’hold what distance / [your] wisdom can provide’ — and make your hand-washing better than Lady Macbeth’s! Robert Shallow reminds us ‘In these times, you stand on distance’ (MWW 1.1) but I hope this will not be for long.

With best wishes,

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