A young black female stands on the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse stage.

Shakespeare and Race

Here at Shakespeare’s Globe, we have a responsibility to talk honestly about the period from which Shakespeare emerged, and to facilitate difficult conversations about the ways in which race is represented in theatre and Shakespeare Studies.

The theme of the Shakespeare and Race Festival 2022 is ‘Spoken Word(s)’, and we are delighted to announce that speakers and performers will include Terrance Hayes (award-winning Poet and Author), Karen Ann Daniels (Artistic Director, Folger Theatre), Iqbal Khan (Associate Director, Birmingham Rep), Cameron Knight (Head of Acting at Rutgers Conservatory), and Akiya Henry (Much Ado About Nothing, RSC), with more to be announced. The festival will also showcase new and exciting creative work from the Folger Institute, as well as ground-breaking research from Shakespeare and Race scholars from around the world. This year, the Festival is co-produced and co-sponsored by King’s College London.




Originally launched in 2018, our inaugural Shakespeare and Race Festival was conceived and curated by our very own Professor Farah Karim-Cooper to highlight the importance of race in the consideration of Shakespeare – not only in his time, but just as urgently, in our own – and to give a platform to scholars, actors, writers, theatre-makers and educators of colour.

The Festival will include readings, performances, round-table discussions, a two-day symposium, workshops, and more. As well as the publicly attendable events, poets, academics and practitioners will be running workshops and performance opportunities for students from the King’s K+ programme, undergraduates and postgraduates in Shakespeare Studies and related fields. Events will take place in our ‘magical’ Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, the historic Bush House at King’s College London, and the Globe Theatre.

The Festival opens as we launch the new Shakespeare Centre London, a joint initiative between Shakespeare’s Globe and King’s College London. This research centre will build on and formalise two decades of successful collaborations between our two renowned institutions, and particularly the Research and Higher Education Teams at Shakespeare’s Globe, and the London Shakespeare Centre at King’s.

Our collaborations so far have included the joint MA in Shakespeare Studies and our co-sponsorship of biennial postgraduate conferences, and most recently the Early Modern Scholars of Colour network. With its focus on critical knowledge, creative practice and social justice, the Shakespeare Centre London will strive to be an inclusive space for the study and dissemination of new research in Shakespeare and early modern studies, and especially premodern critical race studies. The Shakespeare and Race Festival 2022 is the first event to emerge from this exciting partnership.

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#SuchStuff S6 E1: Understanding whiteness and racism

Such Stuff S6 E2: How Whiteness dominates the study of Shakespeare
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Towards an Anti-Racist Academy: The Early Modern Scholars of Colour Network

Join us as we stream the official launch of the Early Modern Scholars of Colour Network, an anti-racist network that aims to create community amongst UK-based scholars of colour in Shakespeare and Early Modern studies, while actively working towards establishing greater inclusivity and decolonial transformation in the UK academy.

Opening Words

Sam Wanamaker Playhouse
Join us for the opening of the fourth Shakespeare and Race Festival, which will feature an exciting reading from the award-winning US poet Terrance Hayes. Our evening also marks the launch of a new research collaboration between Shakespeare's Globe and King's College London: The Shakespeare Centre London.

A Night with the Folger: Folios for a 21st Century America

Sam Wanamaker Playhouse
Artistic Director of the Folger Theatre in Washington DC, Karen Ann Daniels, will lead this special edition of our Research in Action workshops, discussing an upcoming commission which celebrates the First Folio in its 400th anniversary year.

Politics, Performance and the Poetics of Race: In Conversation with Theatre Practitioners/Artists

Sam Wanamaker Playhouse
This evening event will explore the ways in which theatre artists engage with questions of race, identity and politics as they stage Shakespeare in the 21st Century.

Academic Symposium: Shakespeare and Race: Spoken Word(s)

Nancy Knowles Lecture Theatre
This two-day symposium will see a range of presentations on the topics of Shakespeare, Race, and Poetics. Join academics from around the world at Shakespeare's Globe.

Closing Words

Join us for the closing of the Shakespeare and Race Festival: Spoken Word(s) and Academic Symposium. We will celebrate the week with readings by contemporary poets whose work responds to Shakespeare.