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Millburn Research Seminar - John Wyver - Screening the RSC: thoughts on researching the company's 107-year adaptation history


The earliest screen adaptation to be shot from the Stratford stage was a 22-minute film of Frank Benson's production of Richard III. The most recent was Coriolanus presented by RSC Live from Stratford-upon-Avon in October. Between these two an extraordinarily rich adaptation history embraces feature films, television presentations, documentaries and recordings for education, marketing and other purposes, some of it of full productions, some of only fragments. And tantalisingly there are some screen versions known to have been made but of which no copies can now be found (including a University of Warwick recording of Buzz Goodbody's The Other Place production of King Lear). Yet with only a few notable exceptions, such as Peter Brook's feature films and the recent "event cinema" broadcasts, these film and television translations have attracted little scholarly attention. This seminar explores aspects of my current research for a book about the RSC on screen and proposes why it may be productive to consider a company's adaptation history across more than a century.

John Wyver is a writer and producer with the independent media production company Illuminations. He is Director, Screen Productions for the Royal Shakespeare Company and Principal Research Fellow in the School of Media, Arts and Design at the University of Westminster. For the RSC he produces the RSC Live from Stratford-upon-Avon "event cinema" broadcasts and in 2016 he oversaw the television and cinema presentation to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, Shakespeare Live! From the RSC. His productions have been honoured with a BAFTA, an International Emmy and a Peabody Award. His book The RSC on Screen will be published as part of The Arden Shakespeare series in 2018.

Tags: Research

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