Shakespeare Without Resources: Staging Shakespeare in the Midwest

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Make virtue of necessity: so says Boethius in The Consolation of Philosophy about how we should greet fortune’s slings and arrows, but the maxim well applies to campus theatre companies grappling with the challenges that they uniquely face. This chapter examines two different such “institutions”: the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Theatre Department, performing Shakespeare in both black-box and proscenium playhouses located within the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts (KCPA), and the student troupe What You Will, a self-administered and self-funded group made up of undergraduate directors and actors from a wide variety of majors and performing in ad hoc venues around campus. In the last few years, both institutions performed Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream; other recent performances include What You Will productions of Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and Antony and Cleopatra and a Theatre production of The Tempest. Drawing on personal memory, published reviews, directors’ notes, and interviews with directors and performers, I discuss those productions below. I am, however, less interested in comparing and contrasting representative performances than I am in exploring how each institution conceives of its own mission; defines artistic “success” and “failure”; imagines its audience; and negotiates – and in many cases, capitalizes upon – those constraints of time, money, space, personnel, and perception of audience expectations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationShakespeare on the University Stage
EditorsAndrew James Hartley
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781107262218
ISBN (Print)9781107048553
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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