Podcasts: Shakespeare and Company

Sylvia Rosenblum at Eastside Radio and I have done another series of podcasts (which seems to have become an annual thing). This one looks at the working conditions of theatres in Shakespeare’s day. The episodes are only around twelve minutes long, so great for a short commute, and can be played via the Eastside website or downloaded on iTunes.

The way we broke down this series was:

  • How did professional theatre in London begin? What were the companies and how did they work?
  • The star system in Shakespearean England
  • Boy players
  • What part did women play in the theatrical world?
  • Shakespeare’s sources and the adaptation/collaboration system
  • Respectability at last! How this new profession influenced social status, and what happened when Shakespeare retired

When Sylvia and I make these recordings we do significant prep, but then we pretty much sit down and plough straight through, in one or two sessions, with no re-takes. This suits us because we’re both pretty chatty and focused, but sometimes I do listen back and wish I’d brought in other things, or spun a different emphasis. In this round I’m somewhat disappointed with my handling of the segment on Shakespeare’s sources. We got very involved in talking about the History plays, and vital people like Ovid, Montaigne, Boccaccio, Plutarch and Chaucer all fell by the wayside. But I only had ten minutes!! So please take this as in introduction to the introduction to the sources, and I may make my own little supplementary episode when time permits.

Keeping in mind that this series was designed for people who have an interest rather than an expertise in Shakespeare, it all adds up to a little over an hour of lively surveying of the landscape that shaped Shakespeare’s work.


To recap, my previous podcasts with Sylvia have been:

Sixteenth-Century map of London

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