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Disability and Shakespearean Theatre – registration now open

Registration is now open for the Disability and Shakespearean Theatre symposium, supported by the British Shakespeare Association. Please visit the conference’s Eventbrite page to register – all welcome!

Location: Sir Alwyn Williams Building (L5), Lilybank Gardens, University of Glasgow

Date: Wed 20th April 2016

Attendance: £25 full, £15 concession, free for British Shakespeare Association members


This symposium draws together growing research interest in disability studies and Shakespearean theatre. In discussing the depiction, treatment, and uses of disability in Shakespeare’s work (and that of his contemporaries) alongside analysis of the role of disability in staging of his plays, we hope to encourage interaction between creative practitioners, historians, and literary scholars. Playwright and disability studies scholar Prof. Chris Mounsey (University of Winchester) will give the keynote address on “VariAbility in Shakespeare”, in which he will explore alternative ways of responding to the question of the existence of disability in the Early Modern period, and to one of Shakespeare’s most infamous characters: Richard III.

The symposium venue, the Sir Alwyn Williams Building, is fully accessible, and the symposium will include accommodations such as pre-circulated papers and discussion topics, ending with an interactive roundtable discussion. For more information on access, transport, and the venue please visit the website. Thanks to funding from the British Shakespeare Association, this symposium will be free to attend for BSA members. Symposium attendees are welcome to join the BSA in advance of the event or on the day. School teachers attending the final session of the day (the presentation from Shakespeare Schools Festival) are not required to pay a fee.

If you have any questions, please email the symposium team at, or contact them via @Disability&SS.


Symposium Schedule:

08.30 – 09.15  Registration and coffee

09.15 – 09.20  Opening remarks

09.20 – 10.20  Keynote address: Prof. Chris Mounsey (University of Winchester), ‘VariAbility in Shakespeare’

10.20 – 10.40 Break (order lunch options)

10.40 – 12.00 Panel 1: Contemporary Rereadings of Shakespeare

  • Sarah Olive, University of York. ‘“Miching Mallecho. It means mischief”: problematising representations of actors with learning difficulties in Growing up Downs’
  • Katarzyna Ojrzyńska, University of Łódź. ‘Hamlet in a Wheelchair – a Much Needed Icon?’
  • Jessica Parrott, University of Warwick, ‘Shakespeare with Chairs – The Bard, Disability and London 2012’

12.00 – 13.00  Lunch (delivered but not included in conference fee)

13.00 – 14.20 Panel 2: Contexualising Early Modern Disabilities on Stage

  • Jennifer Nelson, Gallaudet University. ‘Turn a Deaf Ear: The Literary Function of Deafness in Shakespeare and Early Modern England’
  • Angelina Del Balzo, UCLA. ‘Limping Witches: Colley Cibber’s Richard III and the Untimely Deformed Woman’
  • Kaye McLelland, UCL. ‘Spiritual and Musculoskeletal Integrity in Shakespeare and Early Modern Sermons’

14.20 – 14.40 Break

14.40 – 15.30 Panel 3: Theorising Disability and Stagecraft in Shakespeare

  • Morwenna Carr, Lancaster University. ‘The Dramatic Prosthetic: Shakespearean Disability as Stagecraft’
  • Christine Gottlieb, UCLA. ‘King Lear as Dismodern Tragedy’

15.30 – 16.45 Wine reception and presentation from Shakespeare Schools Festival

16.45 – 17.15 Move to Gilmorehill Theatre (post-conference performance of Let Her Come In, limited tickets available)

17.30 – 18.30 Performance of Let Her Come In, a one act rewriting of Hamlet, focused on mental illness, gender, and disability, followed by dramatist/director’s Q&A with Molly Ziegler.

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