Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Dr David Taylor to curate new RSC exhibition

cartoon‘Draw New Mischief’: 250 years of Shakespeare and Political Cartoons is a new exhibition hosted by the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford upon Avon running 25 February – 15 October 2017.

The exhibition will be curated in partnership with the RSC by Dr David Francis Taylor, associate professor of English at the University of Warwick. David is currently researching how political cartoonists of the eighteenth century make use of classic works of English literature.

Dr David Francis Taylor, associate professor of English at the University of Warwick,

"I'm thrilled to be working with the Royal Shakespeare Company on this exhibition. It's been an exciting journey bringing this collection of cartoons together and we're also commissioning new work for current cartoonists that will be added to the exhibition over the course of its run.

“My research into political cartoons is driven by two overarching insights; first, that political cartoons cry out for close literary analysis and, second, that texts by Shakespeare and others shape the way we understand contemporary politics in profound ways that we're often unaware of. When I embarked on this project a number of years ago I felt strongly that the questions it was raising could be effectively presented through an exhibition and the RSC have proved to be the perfect partners in making this happen."

Shakespeare’s plays have long shaped the way we understand and engage with contemporary politics and nowhere is this more clearly seen than in the works of political cartoonists. Celebrating more than two centuries of political cartoons inspired by Shakespeare and to coincide with its forthcoming Rome Season, the Royal Shakespeare Company opens a new free exhibition ‘Draw New Mischief’, from the 25 February 2017 in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre’s PACCAR room.

The exhibition will include historical works from key political moments in time such as the 1846 cartoon ‘The Fall of Caesar’ showing Prime Minister of the day Robert Peel, who had just been forced to resign, as Caesar being murdered by his former allies. More contemporary works include Peter Schrank’s 2015 depiction of Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon as the star crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet, and Morten Morland’s cartoon of David Cameron as Hamlet gazing at Boris Johnson’s skull from April 2016.

Prospero on the enchanted island

Alongside the exhibited works, the Royal Shakespeare Company has commissioned five current cartoonists to create new works that use Shakespeare’s Rome plays to respond to political events happening during the time of the exhibition. These new cartoons will be produced and exhibited over the period of the exhibition from February 2017. The commissioned artists are:

  • Steve Bell one of the Guardian’s chief cartoonists, where he has been producing cartoons since 1981. He has won numerous awards, including the Political Cartoon Society Cartoonist of the Year (2005, 2007), and the Channel 4 Political Humour Award (2005).
  • Christian Adams a political cartoonist at the Daily Telegraph, for which he has worked since 2005. He previously worked at the London Evening Standard from 1994 to 2002.
  • Ann Telnaes a political cartoonist at the Washington Post. In 2001 she won the Pulitzer Prize for her work. A solo exhibition of her cartoons appeared at the Library of Congress in 2004.
  • Victor Ndula a political cartoonist for the Kenyan national newspaper the Star. In 2012 he won first prize in the United Nations/Ranan Lurie Political Cartoon Awards.
  • Lorna Miller a political cartoonist whose work has appeared in Private Eye and the Morning Star. Lorna has been nominated for the 2016 Political Cartoon of the Year Award.

The Royal Shakespeare Theatre Rome season includes Shakespeare’s most political and bloody plays, set in and around ancient Rome. Beginning with Julius Caesar, which opens for previews on the 3 March 2017, the season also includes Antony & Cleopatra, Titus Andronicus and Coriolanus.


Dr David Francis Taylor is available for interview.

The University of Warwick is home to the acclaimed Warwick Writing Programme, the largest and most comprehensive of its kind in Europe, which is currently home to renowned authors such as: Will Eaves, Maureen Freely, Michael Hulse, A.L.Kennedy, Tim Leach, David Morley, Sarah Moss, Ian Sansom, Jonathan Skinner, and David Vann.

This year the University of Warwick was named a national 'centre for excellence' in the field of Creative Writing by the Sunday Times in the latest Good University Guide. Approximately 500 UK and EU applicants apply every year, making Creative Writing at Warwick one of the most popular arts degree courses in Europe. The course also attracts many young writers from the Americas, China, Singapore, India and Africa.

Warwick's Creative Writing students win prizes in international writing competitions and are published in major journals. Seven students have won an Eric Gregory Award for a collection by poets under the age of 30 from The Society of Authors. Past winners of this award include Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes and Jackie Kay. Last year, two graduates won the Costa Award for Poetry and The Carnegie Medal.

Find out more about English and Comparative Literature Studies at the University of Warwick


Alex Buxton
Media Relations Manager
Tel: 02476 150423
Mob: 07876 218166