News release: Curtain rises on new Shakespeare society

Media and Promotion Office (2003) News release: Curtain rises on new Shakespeare society. Other. University of Central Lancashire, Preston.

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Academics from the University of Central Lancashire have played a major role in setting
up Britain's first organisation dedicated to the work of William Shakespeare.
Thanks to the work of Kenneth Branagh and recent films, such as Baz Lurhmann' s
'Romeo and Juliet', the popularity of the Bard in the box office is at an all-time high. With
this in mind, the organisation's founders- a country-wide network of scholars, actors and
directors- have agreed that the time is right to join countries such as Germany, France,
Japan and Brazil where enthusiasts meet regularly to honour the world's best known
UCLan Shakespearean scholars John Joughin and Stuart Hampton-Reeves have been
instmmental in setting up the British Shakespeare Association (BSA), launched recently at
a major conference held at De Montfort Uni versity in Leicester and attended by leading
actors such as Samuel West and directors Gregory Doran and Michael Bogdanov. Dame
Judi Dench, actress and star of the hit film "Shakespeare in Love' has agreed to be the
Association's patron.
"Shakespeare has never been more popular", says John Joughin, Head of the Humanities
Department at the University of Central Lancashire and Chair of the BSA. "We need to
make sure that this interest, promoted by recent box office hits, is kept alive. Shakespeare
is a global author who belongs to our past, present and future. It's strange that there hasn't
been an association before now."
-more follows-
He is keen to ensure that the four strands of the BSA-working with performers and
directors, the community, with schools and with academics- will enjoy the benefits of
increased co-operation during his forthcoming two-year stint as Chair. "We want to put
these existing constituencies in touch and exploit the synergies", he continued.
Membership of the British Shakespeare Association is open to anyone with an interest in
the Bard. It aims to hold a major conference every two years with meetings held around
the country in between. A website, originally set up by the University of Central
Lancashire,, contains more details about the society and is
intended to serve as an archive of expertise and a useful networking tool for all groups
involved in the staging, study and enjoyment of Shakespeare's work.
15 September 2003
Notes to editors:
1. Membership of the BSA costs £15 per year and is open to all. See the website for details.
2. John Joughin, Head of Department of Humanities, University of Central
Lancashire, can be contacted on 01772 893024.

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