Shakespeare at the Pop Up Globe

The Pop Up Globe, as seen on the walk from my hotel to the conference venue.

Earlier this month work sent me to a conference in Auckland. This isn’t something which would normally make the pages of this blog – which I intentionally keep quite separate from my working life – except for the fact that the conference in question was being held at the Ellerslie Events Centre in Auckland. The hotel at which I was staying was about five minutes’ walk away, and in between lay something which I’d longed to visit ever since I first heard of it – the Pop Up Globe. Continue reading “Shakespeare at the Pop Up Globe”

Treasure Trove: This Really Cool ‘Prize Bound’ Book Awarded By My Old High School Nearly A Hundred Years Ago

While browsing one of the second-hand book-stalls at my local market, as I am wont to do on a Saturday morning, I found… THIS!


The cover caught my eye immediately: while my school crest has changed over the last hundred years, the school name – Wanganui Girls’ College – hasn’t. (The spelling of ‘Whanganui’ has changed, but that’s a don’t-mention-the-War kind of thing). Continue reading “Treasure Trove: This Really Cool ‘Prize Bound’ Book Awarded By My Old High School Nearly A Hundred Years Ago”

Much Ado About Joss Whedon

If you’re sitting there thinking ‘Joss who?’ you’re probably not alone, but Joss Whedon is the reason I was never able to take the Twilight series of books and movies seriously. Because Whedon is the man behind the 1990s TV hit show Buffy The Vampire Slayer (Buffy would have kicked Edward Cullen’s arse. Don’t believe me? Someone made it happen), as well as spinoff show Angel; cult sci-fi shows Firefly and Dollhouse; and the trope-tastic horror movie The Cabin in the Woods. He’s been involved with a number of other big name movies as well, but what I didn’t know, until very recently, is that in 2012 he adapted for the screen, produced, and directed a movie adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.

Continue reading “Much Ado About Joss Whedon”

Young Shakespeare Regional Festival

‘to enrich and enhance life skills through the study, production and performance of Shakespeare’s works’.

Aim of the Regional and National University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival

Earlier this month I happened to see an article in my local free paper about the regional secondary school’s Shakespeare Festival, which was to be held that Sunday. As it was Shakespeare, and as it was being held in my old school hall, and as tickets were only $5, I decided to head it along and check it out.

Shakespeare SGCNZ Sheilah Winn Continue reading “Young Shakespeare Regional Festival”

On Whose Authority? The King James Bible Part 1: Family Tree

Bible_KJV 1Also known as The Authorised Version, the 1611 translation of the Christian Bible which is today most commonly referred to as the King James Version is perhaps the only book to have had a greater influence on the English language than the works of William Shakespeare. For a book ostensibly intended to bring the Good News of God’s love and peace it has a history rich in controversy, conflict and bloodshed, because the King James Version (or KJV) was far from the first translation of the Bible into the English language. Continue reading “On Whose Authority? The King James Bible Part 1: Family Tree”

Shakespeare in the Park: Macbeth

Thou hast it now: king, Cawdor, Glamis, all as the weird women promised, and, I fear, thou play’dst most foully for’t. – Act 3, Scene 1

Macbeth poster

On Saturday night I had the all-to-rare opportunity to attend a local production of one of Shakespeare’s plays, Macbeth. Although I’ve read the play, I’d never seen it performed before, and at $20 a ticket it was too good to miss. Continue reading “Shakespeare in the Park: Macbeth”

Author Profile: William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Tonight I’m off to an open-air performance of Macbeth, so what better time to post a profile of its writer?

Shakespeare first folio
Engraving of Shakespeare from the First Folio.

Over the course of his career The Bard wrote or collaborated on over 30 plays (the usual count is 38, although the authorship of some is contested), 154 sonnets, two longer poems, and an uncertain number of other verses. His keen insight into human nature and the human condition meant that his plays never fell neatly into the Classical divisions of tragedy and comedy: quite apart from his historical plays, his tragedies almost invariably contain moments of comedy, while one frequently encounters moments of tragedy in his comedies. Perhaps because of this, his are the most performed plays in the world, translated into every major language; it is sometimes said that not a single day goes by without one of his plays being performed somewhere in the world. Continue reading “Author Profile: William Shakespeare (1564-1616)”

Shakespeare’s Legacy

William Shakespeare

Let’s ‘give the devil his due’ (Henry IV Part I), in the history of the English language only the King James Bible has had the same influence as the works of William Shakespeare. In 1623, just a few years after his death in 1616, two members of Shakespeare’s playing company (The King’s Men) published the First Folio, a collection of all the extant plays Shakespeare had written in his lifetime. Continue reading “Shakespeare’s Legacy”

English Literature in 10 Classic Reads

The French may have a reputation for making the best wine. The Italians and the Dutch may have been renowned for centuries as the world’s finest artists. Germany may have produced some of history’s greatest composers. But when it comes to words, no-one does it quite like the English. Continue reading “English Literature in 10 Classic Reads”