Yasmin Arshad, a PhD student in the English Department, recently discovered a portrait of a Jacobean lady in costume as Cleopatra.
It is inscribed with lines from Samuel Daniel’s Tragedie of Cleopatra (1594), a work which almost certainly influenced Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra. It belongs to a genre known as ‘closet drama’, plays performed in country house settings in which women were active.
Yasmin and her supervisor, Professor Helen Hackett, drew together a talented team comprising both students and alumni who are professional actors to put on Daniel’s play, on 3rd March 2013.
This Jacobean-style performance aimed to shed light on female participation in drama in Shakespeare’s time, and on early modern ideas of female heroism. It also set out to illuminate the history of perceptions of race; and, since the play draws on classical and French sources, the importance of international influences in shaping the English Renaissance.
Yasmin, Helen, and the two lead actors discuss the challenges and pleasures of staging the play and the insights gained.
The presentation will be illustrated by live performance and by extracts from the DVD of the production.
- Visit Yasmin Arshard's profile
- Visit Professor Helen Hackett's profile
Followed by a drinks reception.