The recent Saturday Symposium on Shakespeare at the University of Delaware attracted a sold-out audience of friends and alumni, from seniors graduating this May to members of the Class of 1952.
The 80 participants spent the day attending lectures from leading Shakespeare scholars, touring the University of Delaware Library's rare Shakespearean books collection and watching a live production of Hamlet.
The play, performed by the University's Resident Ensemble Players, followed an earlier lecture in the day from University of Minnesota professor Thomas Clayton, who spoke on the three very different texts of Hamlet that exist from Shakespeare's day. Hamlet, he explained, is rarely performed in its fullest version, which would take nearly four hours.
A second lecture, delivered by Kent State University associate professor Don-John Dugas, examined "Shakespeare for Everyman," with particular emphasis on Sir Philip Ben Greet, a British actor who did more to popularize Shakespeare "than any man who ever lived." Among Greet's innovations: performing Shakespeare outdoors and, fittingly, offering performances of Shakespeare on university campuses.
The library tour included viewing the current exhibition on photography, as well as a special presentation of rare books that represent 400 years of Shakespeare publication history, including a Second Folio of Shakespeare's works. The Second Folio was specially purchased to commemorate the two millionth volume purchased by the UD Library.
"This is our sixth Saturday Symposium and, like the others, it was especially exciting to see the range of people who take advantage of this opportunity," said Matt Kinservik, professor and associate dean for the humanities for the College of Arts and Sciences.
The symposium was funded by the Charlotte Orth Shakespeare Fund, established by alumnus Orth, a member of the Class of 1964, and her husband Kenneth J. Reckford to promote regular celebrations of the works of Shakespeare and his contemporaries.