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Shakespeare on the Brain

As part of International Brain Awareness week, a free public event using Shakespeare to explore the workings of the brain is being held at the University of Warwick next week.

From the depression of Hamlet to the guilt of Lady Macbeth, academics and actors will come together at Warwick Arts Centre on Monday 16 March to explore issues such as depression, schizophrenia and anxiety through the Bard’s work.

The evening will feature performances of brief excerpts from some of Shakespeare’s best known plays, including Hamlet and Macbeth. Themes illustrated by these excerpts will then be discussed by an expert panel of academics.

The project, which will run from 7.30pm until 9.30pm, is a collaboration between a wide range of departments at the University, including the CAPITAL Centre, Warwick Medical School and Biological Sciences.

The actors taking part are Warwick students, directed by Jonathan Heron, Artistic Director of Fail Better, Resident Company at The CAPITAL Centre, a collaboration between the University of Warwick and a range of theatre partners including the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Professor Carol Rutter is Director of the CAPITAL Centre and she will be taking part in the panel discussion. She said: “Shakespeare is an expert on the workings of the brain.  Writing scenes of troubled thought, madness, grieving, sleepwalking, he lets us see the 'miraculous organ' in states of trauma that portray its awesome complexities. Our excerpts from the plays will offer the neuroscientists on our panel case studies to look into the human mind.”

There will be opportunities for the audience to put questions to the panel during the performance, and to mingle afterwards with both literature experts and neuroscientists to explore informally the themes raised.

Tickets are free and can be obtained by either visiting or calling Warwick Arts Centre Box Office on 02476 524 524. For more information contact 

Notes to editors
For more information contact Kelly Parkes-Harrison, Communications Officer, University of Warwick,, 02476 150483, 07824 540863