Email: m dot e dot shewring at warwick dot ac dot uk
Margaret Shewring is an Emeritus Reader in Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Warwick. Her teaching, research and recent publications concentrate on the performance context for Shakespeare and his contemporaries, Renaissance and Early Modern European Festivals, and the design of space for performance on the contemporary stage. She is a co-founder of the Society for European Festivals Research and co-general editor, with J.R. Mulryne and Margaret M. McGowan of the European Festival Studies Series 1450-1700 Series, originally with Ashgte Publishing and now with Routledge. Her edited collection of essays, Waterborne Pageants and Festivities in the Renaissance, was published by Ashgate, in November/December 2013.
Margaret joined the staff of Theatre Studies in Autumn 1978. She took her undergraduate degree in English Language and Literature at the University of Birmingham (1971–74). Her doctoral research, at the Shakespeare Institute (University of Birmingham), concentrated on a critical edition of The Great Favourite; or, the Duke of Lerma (1668), attributed to Sir Robert Howard. A revised and updated version of this thesis was published by Garland publishing, New York, in 1988.
Margaret's research has developed in three main directions:
- Renaissance Festivals.
- Shakespeare in Performance including work towards a monograph on Design for Shakespeare.
- Performance spaces including the Guildhall in Stratford-upon-Avon from the late medieval period to the 18th century and today.
Margaret's single-author publications include a book on Richard II for the Manchester University Press Shakespeare in Performance Series (1996). She was Associate Editor for fifteen volumes in this series. She has also published articles on Shakespeare and his contemporaries as well as on Max Reinhardt. She is currently writing a book on Design for Shakespeare and contributed a paper concerned with design in recent productions of Richard II to a seminar at the International Shakespeare Conference in Stratford-upon-Avon in August 2008.
In December 2008, she gave a paper on ‘Hamlet in performance in the 21st Century in Great Britain and abroad’ for a Colloquium hosted by S.I.R.I.R. at the Sorbonne. (S.I.R.I.R. is an interdisciplinary research centre concerned with the Renaissance and with Renaissance plays in the context of subsequent performances.) A revised version of her paper will appear as a chapter in Silence au temps de la Renaissance, edited by Margaret Jones-Davies (Brepol: forthcoming).
With Professor Ronnie Mulryne she has co-edited several multi-author volumes on aspects of performance in the European Renaissance:
- Theatre and Government under the Early Stuarts (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993; reprinted in paperback, 2009)
- Italian Renaissance Festivals and their European Influence (Edwin Mellen Press: Lampeter, 1992)
- Theatre of the English and Italian Renaissance (Macmillan: London, 1990)
- War, Literature, and the Arts in Sixteenth-Century Europe (Macmillan: London, 1989)
One of their most recent multi-author volumes is Shakespeare and the Japanese Stage (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998).
Margaret Shewring and Ronnie Mulryne own a small, independent publishing company based in Stratford-upon-Avon. Their publications, devised and edited by themselves, concern recent developments in theatre and performance:
- This Golden Round: The Royal Shakespeare Company at the Swan (1989: in collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company)
- Making Space for Theatre: British Architecture and Theatre since 1958 (1995: in collaboration with the British Council)
- Shakespeare's Globe Rebuilt (1997: in association with Cambridge University Press; reprinted in paperback, 2009)
- Infinite Riches in a Little Room: scenography and performance at the Cottesloe Theatre, 1977-98 (1999, in association with the Royal National Theatre)
Teaching and supervision
Margaret welcomes applications from graduate students for research degrees particularly from students specialising in performance spaces, in Renaissance and Early Modern Festivals, in the theatre of the English and European Renaissance, and in the work of Shakespeare and his contemporaries in performance on the 20th and 21st century stage in Britain and abroad. She also has a particular interest in dance.
J.R.Mulryne and Margaret Shewring, eds, Making Space for Theatre: British Architecture and Theatre since 1958 (Stratford-upon-Avon: Mulryne and Shewring, 1995).
Margaret Shewring, Shakespeare’s Richard II in Performance (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1996; reprinted in paperback, 1996).
J.R.Mulryne and Margaret Shewring, eds, Shakespeare’s Globe Rebuilt (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press with Mulryne and Shewring, 1997; reprinted in paperback, 2009).
Takashi Sasayama, J.R.Mulryne and Margaret Shewring, eds, Shakespeare and the Japanese Stage (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999).
J.R.Mulryne, Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly and Margaret Shewring, eds, Europa Triumphans: Court and Civic Festivals in Early Modern Europe, 2 vols (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing, 2004; published as an e-book, 2009).
Margaret Shewring, ed, Waterborne Pageants and Festivities in the Renaissance (Farnham and Burlington , VT : Ashgate, 2013).
Chapters in books and journal articles
'Richard II for the New Millennium’ in Jeremy Lopez, ed, New Critical Studies: Richard II ( New York and London : Routledge, 2012), pp.135-62.
‘The Royal Shakespeare Company at the Swan: the first 25 years’, in Peter Holland, ed, Shakespeare Survey ( Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2013), pp. 413-28.
‘The Repertoire of the Travelling Players at the Guild Hall in Stratford-upon-Avon in the late-sixteenth century’, in J.R.Mulryne, ed, The Guild and Guild Buildings of Shakespeare's Stratford: Society, Religion, School and Stage (Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2013), pp. 225-61.
Digitisation of Renaissance and Early Modern Festival Books in the Collections of the British Library, March 2005: www.bl.uk/treasures/festivalbooks/homepage.html
As a member of Warwick’s Centre for the Study of the Renaissance from 1978, Margaret contributed to the development and implementation of the MA Course in English and European Drama (1978-2000) and the MA Course in the Culture of the European Renaissance that replaced the MA in English and European Drama from 2000. She was MA Course Director and Examinations Secretary in the Centre for much of her career at Warwick (until 2003). She helped to devise the first graduate level ERASMUS programme to be funded by the EU and was co-organiser of fifteen research conferences for the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance, University of Warwick, in collaboration (variously) with: the Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham; the European Humanities Research Centre, University of Warwick; the School of Theatre Studies, University of Warwick; the University of Oxford; the University of Leicester; Columbia University, New York; Cambridge University Press; and The European Science Foundation.
Margaret was a member of the steering group for a major international research project for the AHRC Centre for the Study of Renaissance Elites and Court Cultures (based in Warwick's Centre for the Study of the Renaissance). This ambitious project, entitled 'Europa Triumphans', was concerned with the translation, introduction, annotation and analysis of clusters of Renaissance Festival Books, situating them in their historical, political, and performance contexts. The project resulted in a two-volume collection, edited by J. R. Mulryne, Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly and Margaret Shewring, Europa Triumphans: Court and Civic Festivals in Early Modern Europe (Aldershot and Burlington VT: Ashgate, 2004). This collection sold out within eighteen months and, with Ronnie Mulryne, Margaret prepared an electronic edition of the two-volume collection, with additional introductory material and an enhanced Index, published by Ashgate in late 2009.
Margaret was also co-director, with Professor Ronnie Mulryne, of a project (funded by the AHRB/C) that, in collaboration with the British Library, made available in fully-searchable, digitised form 253 Renaissance Festival Books from the British Library's collections. The site can be accessed at www.bl.uk/treasuresinfull.
Margaret continues to organise and take part in conferences relating to Renaissance Festivals and Performance. She has recently organised interdisciplinary, international conferences at Warwick's Palazzo in Venice in 2010 and 2013, at the Warburg Institute (University of London) in 2011, at the University of Bergamo in May 2012 and in collaboration with the city of Mons, the University of Leuven and the Low Countries Sculpture Society, to mark Mons' year as European City of Culture (Mons, 2015).
Margaret is a member of the Society for Theatre Research, the Malone Society, the International Federation of Theatre Research, the International Shakespeare Association, the Society for Renaissance Studies and The Theatres Trust. She is an associate member of the Association of British Theatre Technicians.
She was a member of the AHRC Peer Review College until 2016 and is a peer reviewer for the European Science Foundation (School of Humanities).
BA, PhD (Birmingham)
Meetings and supervisions by appointment.
MA and PhD supervior
Margaret Shewring and Ronnie Mulryne interview Jonathan Slinger about his portrayl of King Richard in the RSC History Cycle's production of 'Richard II'. (Approx. 30 minutes)
Margaret Shewring in conversation with Michael Billington, Writers at Warwick Series, March 2008
Looking at a performance of Richard II by the Berliner Ensemble in 2006 with contributions from two people involved in staging the play and from Margaret Shewring in relation to the plays historical and cultural context