Spring 2020

Shakespeare: Media, Technology, and Performance

Listed in: English, as ENGL-432


Amanda K. Henrichs (Section 01)


[Before 1800] In 1623, what we now call Shakespeare’s First Folio was printed. As a printed book, it represented an object made with some of that culture’s very latest media technology, namely the printing press. Shakespeare’s plays depict technologies: characters use compasses and astronomical charts, for example. His plays were also staged using technology: set design included pyrotechnics, costuming, and the other necessities of putting on a good show. This course will ask, how did Shakespeare’s plays both represent technology in fiction and require it in performance? In order to investigate Early Modern technologies of performance, we will read selections from Shakespearean plays and poems, as well as Renaissance treatises on science and technology.

Of course, technology plays a large role in modern productions. Whether through discussing the advent of electric lights in playhouses, to film adaptations and high-budget productions from the Royal Shakespeare Company, to digital editions of the plays, to experimental augmented reality interfaces, we will critically engage with the technologies of Shakespearean performance in the past, present, and even future. As a final project, students will complete a multimedia project on a chosen play, combining historical research with digital, creative, and experimental practices.

Open to juniors and seniors. Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Visiting Professor Henrichs.

If Overenrolled: Preference given to junior and senior majors.


Artistic Practice, Attention to Issues of Gender and Sexuality, Attention to Issues of Race, Attention to Research


2020-21: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020