Shakespeare and Scandinavia: International Academic Conference

Event Date: 8 – 11 October 2015
Rose Theatre,
24-26 High Street,
Kingston, KT1 1HL


The Kingston Shakespeare Seminars present:

Shakespeare and Scandinavia

An International Academic Conference

The international academic conference on Shakespeare and Scandinavia (SaS) is an interdisciplinary exploration of Shakespeare in the North organised by a committee of Nordic and European Shakespeare scholars in collaboration with Kingston University, The Rose Theatre and David Garrick’s Temple to Shakespeare.

In the sixteenth century troupes of London actors toured around the Baltic, as Hamlet records. But it was Queen Anne of Denmark who may have been responsible for Kingston’s special Shakespeare and Scandinavia connection. Shakespeare’s Scottish play is believed to have premiered in 1606 at Hampton Court Palace during the state visit of her brother King Christian IV. Then, in 1767, another Danish king, the ‘mad’ young Christian VII, was entertained by David Garrick at his nearby Shakespeare Temple, and applauded his host’s interpretation of the Prince of Denmark. Today, both Kingston University and the Rose Theatre have strong links with Scandinavia.

Shakespeare and Scandinavia will celebrate these Kingston connections, but also the diversity of Shakespeare in study and stage across the Nordic nations. Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the plays were widely acted and adapted in the North, and Shakespeare translations of national significance appeared in Norway and Finland. Many of Scandinavia’s greatest modern cultural figures, such as Kierkegaard, Ibsen and Sibelius, took inspiration from Shakespeare. In the twenty-first century Nordic Shakespeare combines tradition and appropriation in highly distinctive ways, and acclaimed Shakespeare productions, such as those of the Icelandic ‘Vesturport’ company, perform regularly in the UK.

Shakespeare and Scandinavia will be the first event of its kind ever held in the UK. The conference will draw its inspiration from the rich history of Kingston cultural exchanges and historic encounters, but with contributions from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, will aim to reconsider the many Shakespearean connections between the UK and the Nordic countries, from the commissioning of Hamlet up to the present day. On the eve of Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary, Shakespeare and Scandinavia will be a fanfare for the Bard of the North.

Shakespeare and Scandinavia will be an interdisciplinary conference, and will consider cross-cultural Shakespeare connections from the perspectives of art history; literary criticism; drama, film, music and performance studies; philosophy; and translation and reception studies; as well as within wider discourses concerning constitutional history and national identity. The conference aims to map all these diverse aspects of Shakespeare in the North, but also to reinforce the current standing and development of Nordic Shakespearean and early modern studies.

Welcome and introduction by Professor Richard Wilson (Kingston):


Plenary talks:

At The Rose Theatre

Thursday 8 October 2015
Plenary 1: Gary TaylorHamlet, Macbeth & Nordic History


Friday 9 October 2015
Plenary 2: Sirkku AaltonenShakespeare and National Theatre


Plenary 3: Lisbet WaerpShakespeare in Scandinavian Drama


At Garrick’s Temple

Introduction by Frank Whatley (Kingston):


Richard Wilson (Kingston) – Christian VII in London

Anne Sophie RefskouThe Prince of Denmark in Nikolaj Arcel’s ‘A Royal Affair’

Plenary 4: Graham HoldernessShakespeare in Scandinavian Fiction


At The Rose Theatre

Saturday 10 October 2015
Plenary 5: Howard CaygillKierkegaard’s Shakespeare


Roundtable –  Translating Shakespeare
(Chair: Dominique Goy-Blanquet)

with: Niels Brunse (Denmark), Þóraninn Eldjárn (Iceland), Edvard Hoem (Norway), Alice Martin (Finland) and Eva Ström (Sweden).



Sunday 11 October 2015
Plenary 6: Eero TarastiShakespeare in Scandinavian Music


Plenary 7: Gunnar Sorelius – Shakespeare in Scandinavian Film and TV


Closing remarks by Richard Wilson (Kingston):



Download complete conference programme:

download Programme (.pdf)

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