ShakespeareFest runs throughout April

Shakespeare Festival logoOn April 23, 2014, William Shakespeare is turning 450 years old. As one of the most influential writers in English, his birthday is a special occasion to celebrate. Join the Department of English in the College of Liberal Arts for ShakespeareFest, which will take place in Auburn throughout April and culminate in a week-long interdisciplinary celebration of the life, work, and art of William Shakespeare from April 21-26, 2014. Among the events during ShakespeareFest will be performances of scenes and songs from his plays, readings of sonnets, presentations of research papers, Flashspeare: 24-Hour Theater Festival, and much more!

Calendar of events for ShakespeareFest:

April 1-30  

  • The Ralph Brown Draughon Library will be participating in ShakespeareFest throughout the month of April. There will be a display of a selection of Shakespeare’s works, adaptations, and the works his contemporaries during the month of April and this collection will be located in front of Caribou Coffee. Students (as well as faculty and staff) will be encouraged to check out any of the books they find interesting. 
  • Special Collections & Archives will host several display cases of works published in the Shakespeare era.

April 8-13  

  • Theatre production: “Desdemona: A Play about a Handkerchief,” directed by Tessa Carr, Auburn University Department of Theater. “Desdemona: A Play about a Handkerchief” is written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel. It is a contemporary retelling of Shakespeare’s tragedy “Othello.” Vogel re-imagines the tale of an innocent bride’s betrayal as a funny, provocative, and feminist take on women living in a world ruled by men. The production runs from April 8-12 at 7:30 p.m. with a matinee performance April 13 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets may be purchased online at, or by phone at 334-844-4154. Tickets to “Desdemona: A Play about a Handkerchief” are free to Auburn University students with ID and $15 for the general public.

April 14-17  

        Undergraduate students’ presentations at Research Week: 

  • Andrea Gonzalez,  “Cross-Dressed, Cross-Sexed: The implications of dress in Twelfth Night and She's the Man
  • Darcy Corbitt Hall, “Message in the Madness: Shakespeare's Hamlet and Saxo's ‘The Life of Hamlet.’”
  • Shelby Hancock, “Feminine Performance and Imprisonment in Saxo Grammaticus’ The Danish History and William Shakespeare’s Hamlet
  • Haley Petcher, “From Honor to Disease: Revenge in Saxo’s Life of Hamlet and Shakespeare’s Hamlet
  • Alyson L. Smith, “From Life of Amleth to Shakespeare’s Hamlet: An Evolution of Morality”

 ShakespeareFest Week:

April 21  

  • “Shakespeare’s Fantastic Garland: A Selection of Elizabethan Herbs” Presented by the Wiley Women Weed Club, Donald E. Davis Arboretum, from 1 – 2 p.m. In addition to hearing a brief talk about herbs in Shakespeare’s works, attendees will be encouraged to see, touch, and smell some of the herbs highlighted in the presentation.  The group also plans to introduce the story of “Four Thieves Vinegar,” an herb-infused vinegar that purportedly kept four thieves from contracting the Bubonic plague.
  • Staged Reading of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, English Graduate Association, 3218 Haley, 4-9 pm (precise time TBA)


April 22  

  • “Preventing a Pox on Your Houses: Four Thieves Vinegar” Presented by the Wiley Women Weed Club, Plant Sciences Research Center, from 1 – 3 p.m. This presentation will involve a discussion and demonstration of how to make “Four Thieves Vinegar.” After the demonstration, participants will be encouraged to visit the Medicinal Plant Collection located across the street from the Plant Sciences Research Center.


April 23  

  • The Sonnet Project (Cater Hall lawn), from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • O-Day Table: The English Club, “Shakespeare’s Birthday Booth,” 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on the concourse.


April 24  

  • Poem-In-Your-Pocket day
  • Performances on Cater Hall lawn (ENGL 4610, Dr. Anna Bertolet) 11- 12
  • Screening of Hamlet (David Tennant), Haley 3195; 5:30-9:30


April 25  

  • Performances on Cater Hall lawn (ENGL 4620, Dr. Craig Bertolet) 11 – 12
  • Professor Tom Aulino’s class performances and Dr. Matthew Hoch’s vocal performance at St. Dunstan’s 4 - 6 p.m.


April 25-26 (evening)   

  • Flashspeare: 24-Hour Theater Festival (led by Dr. Lindsay Doukopoulos). Flashspeare is theatre written, staged, and performed within 24 hours. On Friday night, artists will gather for a brief meeting. 24-hours later, they will present an evening of short plays – all written, cast, rehearsed, and fine-tuned in time for Saturday night. Start at St. Dunstan’s at 6 p.m.; performances next day at the Amphitheater 6 p.m.

For more information about ShakespeareFest, please contact Dr. Anna Riehl Bertolet, Department of English,  844-9006

And find Shakespearfest on Facebook.

Anna Riehl Bertolet is an organizer of Shakespearfest and specializes in early modern literature and culture, particularly Shakespeare and Elizabeth I. She is the author of The Face of Queenship: Early Modern Representations of Elizabeth I and a co-editor of Tudor Court Culture. Her current book project, Written in Thread, explores needlework, literacy, and production of femininity in the 17th century England. Her other works in progress include co-editing A Biographical Encyclopedia of Early Modern Englishwomen, 1500-1650: Exemplary Lives and Memorable Acts, to be published by Ashgate; and co-editing Creating the Premodern in the Postmodern Classroom, an essay collection on creative approaches to teaching medieval and early modern periods. She is a co-director, with Craig Bertolet, of the AU Summer in London Program. To hear our Re:Research podcast interview with her, please click here.

Last Updated: August 06, 2014