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Trustee Elections: Meet the Candidates

Members of the BSA are asked to read the following candidate profiles carefully, before voting for up to six of the eight nominees. The password for access to the voting system will have been sent to all members in the most recent bulletin.

Voting closes at noon on 31st August.

VOTE

Candidates

Frank Bramwell

For over 30 years I have been an independent Consultant, providing an IT & Finance service to Local Authorities, Charities, and Housing Associations throughout the country. I have served as a Trustee for a number of public-sector organisations, and most recently I worked as the Secretary to the Trustees for a small Charity.

My passion for Shakespeare, and the effects his work continues to have on us, is quite intense and goes back many years. If elected I feel I could bring to the Association benefits arising out of my experience as an active independent Theatre Practitioner, as well as a Workshop facilitator of Shakespeare’s works:

I run my own Theatre company, inamoment theatre (www.inamoment.org.uk), writing, creating, directing and producing original plays for performance in Birmingham, Edinburgh, Buxton, London, Manchester, Bath and Bristol. Over the last 13 years I have written and produced 7 plays exploring the life and works of Shakespeare, using the themes, words, and characters from his plays.

Three years ago, I set up The AfterShakespeare Collaboration (www.aftershakespeare.co.uk) which seeks to better understand how, and why, Shakespeare achieved what he did, and also what his work has directly or indirectly inspired since his death.

I run weekly Shakespeare Play Reading group, and have found it to be a fascinating way of understanding and discussing his words and works. I also currently provide workshops and day sessions for groups of people to explore Shakespeare’s plays in more depth.

For me, Shakespeare belongs to everybody and, if elected, I would draw on my own experience and interest to help secure a higher profile for Theatre Practitioners and Community groups within the Association’s membership and activities, as I feel that with more involvement, these sectors could help the Association’s goal of making Shakespeare more accessible and available for all.

Karen Eckersall

Until last year, Karen Eckersall was a teacher and literature co-ordinator at a secondary school in inner-city Salford. As this school is the hub school for English School-Centred Initial Teacher Training in her area, she also lead sessions in active approaches to teaching literature there. She is passionate about innovative teaching and learning of Shakespeare’s work with her main focus being on Key Stages 3 and 4. She is an encourager of social mobility and an obsessive theatregoer. Karen co-runs the British Shakespeare Association Twitter account, and has tripled its size. She is currently using her years of teaching experience to create a set of resources aimed at Key Stages 3 and 4, focusing on Shakespeare’s work, with the aim of facilitating an engaging and varied learning experience for students and helpful and user friendly materials for teaching colleagues.

Elizabeth Glyn

Elizabeth Glyn is an investment manager who runs her own firm in London. She has nearly 20 years’ of experience in financial services, managing pension funds and hedge funds invested in Global Equity funds. She is a CFA charterholder and she has been very involved in the charitable sector in various ways. In her other life, she has a PhD on Shakespeare’s Queenship from Kings College London, where she has taught courses in Shakespeare and the Early Modern period, and a Masters in Medieval History. Her PhD specifically looked at Shakespeare’s most controversial queens and their techniques of influence; negotiation, intercession and obstruction.

Brett Greatley-Hirsch

In 2016, I moved from Australia to take up the position of University Academic Fellow in Textual Studies and Digital Editing at the University of Leeds. My research on Shakespeare and early modern drama is split between three complementary elements: textual studies (scholarly editing in print and digital formats, editorial and publishing history), computational stylistics (authorship attribution and other quantitative studies), and literary-cultural history (the early modern cultural appropriation of medieval antisemitic narratives and motifs). In addition to my ongoing work as a co-editor of the journal Shakespeare, I am eager to contribute to the international profile and outreach of the BSA as a Trustee, with particular responsibilities for website management and development. My relevant professional experience includes election to two terms as Vice President of the Australian and New Zealand Shakespeare Association (2010–12, 2014–16), one term as Treasurer of the Australasian Association for Digital Humanities (2014–16), and three terms as Secretary of the Perth Medieval and Renaissance Group (2012, 2013, 2014). I continue to serve on the ANZSA Executive Committee and as the Association’s Webmaster, as I have done since 2007.

Chris Green

Chris Green is head of the English and Drama faculty at a large secondary school in Cambridge, and is Director of Studies for an annual summer school (where there is a strong emphasis on the teaching of Shakespeare) run in Cambridge for overseas students. He is also Principal Examiner of the Shakespeare paper in the A-Level English Literature specification run by a major UK Awarding Body (for which he also produces training materials and resources). He is the author of several textbooks and teaching guides – and he has been fortunate to work using Shakespeare’s plays in a number of contexts around the world.

Chris has enjoyed being a co-opted Teaching Trustee of the British Shakespeare Association for the past 18 months – attending meetings and conferences in Stratford, Hull and York. He organised and chaired a panel for the BSA (about teaching Shakespeare from Primary to University level) at the ‘Shared Futures’ conference in Newcastle. He also liaised with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust – on behalf of the BSA – to plan a summer school for teachers of English and Drama. He works with another of the Board’s trustees to run the BSA’s education network blog.

Chris has a strong belief in the importance of making Shakespeare’s work accessible to a wide readership and audience (both on the page and on the stage) and of using the scripts to encourage creativity and ‘play’ in students right across the age range.

Tracy Irish

The intersecting worlds of working with Shakespeare I inhabit are education, theatre, and academia, and my interest in becoming a trustee for the BSA is in promoting better connections and understanding between these three worlds. I am particularly interested in the new Performance and Media sub-committee, which seeks to represent and support the theatre community, and the potential this has for cross-overs with education.

Following fifteen years as a teacher of English and drama in the UK and internationally, and a year gaining an MA from the Shakespeare Institute, I have worked with the RSC for the last ten years as a practitioner, project manager and researcher. Six of those years were full-time and included leading the education project for the World Shakespeare Festival. The last four years have been as an Associate Practitioner, alongside completing my PhD at the University of Warwick (exploring the value of theatre-based practice for education). All this has given me wide experience of working with different artists and organisations and some understanding of arts funding and policies.

My key passion is in exploring how Shakespeare’s language communicates and how his plays can support intercultural understanding.  Through my association with the RSC I have met many talented artists, often with a strong interest in the educational value of their work. I also work closely with Butterfly Theatre Company who specialise in site-specific Shakespeare, calling on a large ensemble of young actors, directors and designers who are passionate about supporting audiences to value and enjoy the plays. Other artists I know use Shakespeare to inspire their filmmaking, music, poetry and visual arts. I would love to help the BSA support greater recognition of the breadth of this creative work.

Helen Mears

My relationship with Shakespeare is experiential rather than academic as I am a teacher with strong links to theatre. First encounters with Shakespeare are crucial as they shape a person’s experiences with his work, building foundations for future perceptions. It is, therefore, important that these encounters in our schools are stimulating, engaging and active. I have completed a Masters in the Advanced Teaching of Shakespeare which has made me acutely aware of the dynamic ways in which Shakespeare can be taught and I use such approaches in my teaching. I believe that Shakespeare should be introduced into the curriculum as early as possible through drama-style activities. These can be the first steps into a lifelong, positive relationship with Shakespeare. Encounters with Shakespeare at the theatre are equally important. Theatres are at the forefront in engagement with Shakespeare, also offering opportunities for positive engagement. As a volunteer steward at Shakespeare’s Globe and a keen patron of the RSC I have seen most of Shakespeare’s plays performed and see the variety of ways in which they can be presented as crucial in keeping his legacy fresh and relevant. I have also attended education workshops at both of these theatres and see the importance of their education and outreach work in reaching out to new, younger audiences, something that I believe is essential in creating the next generation of Shakespeare enthusiasts and scholars and I would like to see the BSA work on these links to widen interest and participation with his plays. I have been part of the BSA’s Education Committee since 2016 and I have written for Teaching Shakespeare magazine as well as other educational publications. I presented a paper on performing Shakespeare for the BSA’s most recent conference and represented them at the recent English Association Shared Futures Conference.

Eleanor Rycroft

I am a lecturer in Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Bristol. Originally a theatre director, I have extensive industry-based and academic experience of theatre, having played a key role in large-scale practice-based research projects such as ‘Staging the Henrician Court’ and ‘Staging the Scottish Court’. My expertise in this area is evidenced by a number of publications and performances, most recently a co-guest edited special issue of Shakespeare Bulletin on ‘(Re)constructed Spaces for Performance: Research in Practice’, and a Research-in-Action workshop for Shakespeare’s Globe entitled ‘Walking the City in the Indoor Playhouse’.  In my role at Bristol I teach and practice early modern drama, programme seasons for the Wickham Theatre, and frequently engage with theatre-makers in Bristol and beyond.

However my interest extends beyond my job: I am a lifelong theatre-goer as much interested in contemporary drama as I am early modern. I attend theatre festivals from Edinburgh Fringe to Mayfest, and travel widely to see important theatre productions. I am also committed to attending live streamed plays and think these constitute a fundamental shift in the consumption of Shakespeare. During the twenty-first century a seismic change has occurred not only to early modern theatre but UK performance at large, in which there has been a move away from ‘text-based’ drama to more director-led and experimental performance – detectible in the works of European directors such as Ivo van Hove and British directors such as Katie Mitchell and Robert Icke (please see my review of Hamlet). While I do not always agree with critiques levelled at ‘traditional’ means of performing Shakespeare I am well placed to discuss them, and believe I can bring a great deal of professional expertise to the Performance and Media sub-committee should I be fortunate enough to be appointed trustee.

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