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School of English and Drama

Annual Catherine Silverstone Lecture

Remembering Dr. Catherine Silverstone Homepage


The Annual Catherine Silverstone Lecture 2024

Tuesday 21 May 2024 at 6.45pm: Farah Karim-Cooper, 'The Ethics of Production: Re-casting Casting in 21st Century Shakespeare Performance' (for further details, see below)

Attendance is FREE -- all welcome. Booking is essential -- please book via Eventbrite.

This is an in-person event in the Arts Two Lecture Theatre, ArtsTwo Building on the Mile End Campus at Queen Mary. The venue is accessible. The lecture will be followed by a wine reception.


The Ethics of Production: Re-casting Casting in 21st Century Shakespeare Performance’

This talk will focus on the ways in which the development of casting has pushed the contemporary performance of Shakespeare into a contested space. Drawing on Catherine Silverstone’s interest in the ‘ethics of representation and spectatorship’, I want to examine the debates surrounding the different current modes of casting and highlight the ways in which identity-anxiety can serve regressively to neutralize race and other characteristics, such as gender and disability. I will draw from examples of contemporary productions of Shakespeare and early modern drama to argue for a multi-modal approach to casting, that considers the specificities of text, the trauma of differing communities and the position of Shakespeare in the UK as elite, white property.


About the Annual Catherine Silverstone Lecture

Those of us who had the pleasure to work with Catherine knew her to be an intuitive thinker, a brilliant doctoral supervisor, a generous, warm, and committed teacher, and a bold leader, notably in her tenure as Head of the School of English and Drama at Queen Mary. Catherine was a highly regarded scholar of contemporary queer and decolonial studies, including in Māori performance of Shakespeare in Aotearoa New Zealand, the films of Derek Jarman, and LGBTQIA culture broadly, including in relation to club performance, queer adolescence, and performances of queer affirmation and remembrance, trauma and death.

This named lecture was founded in 2021. It honours and celebrates Catherine’s legacy by inviting a speaker to present research that is distinguished for its reflection of some of the characteristics of Catherine’s own research: rigorous, passionate, and intellectually searching in its attention to theatre and performance; elegant in its interdisciplinarity; committed to challenging the authority of the canon, whether by disturbing the influence of historical texts and authorships or by trafficking seemingly “illegitimate” objects and practices into scholarship; and robustly inclusive in its concern for feminist, queer, trans, Indigenous, Black and Brown scholarship and practices, including in the Global South.

For more information about Catherine, please visit our tribute page.


Presenters of The Annual Catherine Silverstone Lecture (2021-)

2023: Clare Hemmings (LSE) "Accepting the Gifts: Reading Loss as Queer Feminist Method"

2021: Joshua Chambers-Letson (Northwestern University): 'Love Will Never Do: Black and Brown Love in a Queer Rhythm Nation' (26 May)

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