Our new honorary fellows!
22nd September 2016
At our Hull conference, we awarded honorary fellowships to John Barton and Ann Thompson. The following post gives a little more information about each new fellow.
For over fifty years John Barton has been at the forefront of Shakespearean thinking and performance. When he joined Peter Hall as co-founder of the RSC, they began a journey which utterly transformed the theatre’s thinking on how Shakespearean verse should be spoken. After Peter Hall left the Company, John continued there as both an Associate Director and as its leader in the further teaching and understanding of that exploration. He is unique. He combines what no-one else of his generation has been able to achieve. The co-existence of scholarship with the understanding and practise of concrete theatrical release. So many, many Directors and actors have been transformed and transported by his passion and perception. He is undoubtedly one of the greats of Shakespearean theatre. His influence is unquantifiable.
Professor Ann Thompson has produced a wealth of pioneering work in making feminist approaches an essential dimension of Shakespeare studies in the academy.
Her New Cambridge Shakespeare edition of The Taming of the Shrew (1984), produced when she was at Liverpool University, was groundbreaking in the ways it maintained a tradition of scrupulous research and scholarship in Shakespeare editing, going back to the work of figures like John Dover Wilson, C Walter Hodges, Kenneth Muir, and yet broke away from that by prioritising the problem of the ‘barbarous and disgusting’ quality of the taming plot and offering a relevatory reading of Katherina’s final speech and previous critical and theatrical responses to it. Ann’s subsequent work as a General Editor of Arden Shakespeare, including the three-text edition of Hamlet, edited with Neil Taylor, has not only provided a model of excellent editorial practice in itself, but has been an inspiring source of editorial excellence in others, bringing an unprecedented number of women into the field of editing Shakespeare.
Professor Ann Thompson’s work on Shakespeare’s language, starting with Shakespeare, Meaning and Metaphor, co-authored with her husband John and ongoing (with the 2012 article on metonymy in Henry V) represents a body of work that has informed academic researchers, teachers and performers. Professor Thompson’s enthusiasm for watching and learning from Shakespeare in performance, on stage and on film has led to an unwavering support for practitioners, ranging from endeavours at the Globe and the Sam Wanamaker theatre in the UK to sitting under rugs and blankets to watch a Czech version of I and II Henry IV at the World Shakespeare Congress in Prague.
To find out more about the honorary fellows of the BSA, visit out fellows pages.