Global shakespeare, intercultural performance and festival tourism

Lay Summary 

Within the field of global Shakespeare, the connections between intercultural stage performances and the international tourism industry they are part of is under-examined. To date, scholars have focused on how England's claim to Shakespeare as its "National Poet" has been both strengthened and undermined by tourism and by intercultural productions staged at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre (London) and the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in Stratford. Yet, despite the ties between performance and tourism, well-established theoretical concepts in tourism studies have yet to be fully applied to Shakespeare scholarship. My project will refine the conceptual basis of this literature and broaden its scope by enhancing current theoretical approaches to global Shakespeare, cultural globalization, intercultural theatre, and tourism, leading to potential benefits for the tourism sector. Using two overlooked aspects of live performance, I will examine the ways that Shakespearean intercultural performances engage with issues of national identity and the sharing of cultural knowledge across borders. I will analyze how the stage action in intercultural productions at the RSC and the Globe relate to tourist practices built around these companies' venues. I will also describe how theatre festivals outside England use the prestige of Shakespeare and intercultural performance to sustain national/local identities through tourist attractions connected to these festivals. To achieve this, I will conduct archival and experiential research at festivals in five countries, attending performances and the tourism activities connected to them to devise a more theoretically robust and geographically diverse image of intercultural Shakespeare performance and tourism than currently exists. My knowledge mobilization plan — including international specialist conferences, a book chapter, an article, a monograph, a blog, enhanced curriculum, a public exhibit, and a summary report for the Canadian Tourism Commission — was designed to reach scholars, students, artists, festival administrators, and the public to achieve maximum impact. My enhanced theoretical and methodological models will offer scholars new means of analyzing how festivals in different locales use Shakespearean theatre as one of many tourist diversions to foster local and global identities. There are dozens of festivals around the world where scholars could apply these approaches. I will integrate the archival material I gather into a 4th-year Shakespearean adaptations course, which will enhance students' understanding of course material while improving their research abilities through experiential learning in Memorial's archives. I designed my student training plan (1 PhD, 3 MAs) with professionalization and transferable skills in mind, leveraging both this project and institutional programs to provide a knowledge and experience set not typically seen in graduating students. For example, in addition to gaining skills in archival research and analysis, conference presentations, journal article writing, public engagement, and translation, my thesis students will come away with structured professional development experience in leadership and management, integrity and ethics, global and intercultural awareness, and societal and civic responsibility, amongst others, experience that will help them in both the academic and private sectors. Through this work and my summary report, those in the heritage tourism sector will learn how they can best employ Shakespeare's prestige, and local and global cultural forms and expectations, to develop identities for their attractions, identities that can lead to more richly meaningful experiences for theatregoers and tourists.


Adapted from

English Language and Literature
Social Sciences And Humanities Research Council
Newfoundland and Labrador
United Kingdom
Start date 
1 Jan 2016