Panels & Debates


Andrew Bretz (Pre-Season Insights [Guelph])
Andrew Bretz Forum
In 2012, the University of Guelph awarded Andrew his doctorate in English and Theatre Studies, where his dissertation was on the subject of the representation of rape on the early modern stage. His master’s work at the University of Calgary focused on how early modern playwrights dealt with the subject of prostitution. Andrew has presented previously at the Shakespeare Association of America, Renaissance Society of America, the Pacific Northwest Renaissance Society and the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and is a regular participant in the Digital Humanities Summer Institute at the University of Victoria. Previously, Andrew has worked as dramaturge for The Shakespeare Company of Calgary, Alberta, and dramaturged the first production of The Humorous Magistrate (Marriage Upon Marriage), a previously undiscovered, anonymous play manuscript dated to approximately 1630-50 from northern England. Though early modern drama is his primary area of interest, Andrew is deeply interested in 20th- and 21st-century mediations of early modern texts in audio formats such as the appropriations of Shakespeare on early American radio from 1925-40. He has previously been published in Modern Philology and Interdisciplinary Humanities and has a book chapter coming out in the collection Outerspeares, published by the University of Toronto Press. Andrew has taught courses in the history of Western civilization, poetry, modern drama, as well as Shakespeare and his contemporaries at the University of Guelph, University of Calgary and Wilfrid Laurier University.
Mark Fortier (Pre-Season Insights [Guelph])
Mark Fortier Forum
Mark Fortier is a professor of English and theatre studies at the University of Guelph. He has a PhD from York University and an LLB from the University of Toronto. Among his publications are Theory/Theatre: An Introduction, Adaptations of Shakespeare and Royal Subjects: Essays on the Writings of James VI and I (both with Daniel Fischlin), and The Culture of Equity in Early Modern England. He has also co-written a novel, Viva!, with Graziela Pimentel.

Jane Freeman (Pre-Season Insights [Toronto]; Table Talk, King Lear)
Jane Freeman Forum
Dr. Jane Freeman attended theatre school at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) and has completed a BA and a BEd in English and drama at Queen’s University, a master’s degree in English and European Renaissance drama at the University of Warwick and a PhD in Shakespeare’s rhetoric at the University of Toronto. Her areas of specialty are Shakespeare in performance, Shakespeare’s rhetoric, oral/written communication and classical rhetoric. She has worked on numerous theatrical productions in a range of capacities including actress, stage manager, adjudicator and director, and was the production coordinator for Robert Lepage’s production of Macbeth at Hart House Theatre. She taught Shakespeare at Acadia University in Nova Scotia for two years before returning to Ontario to join the faculty at the University of Toronto. She is the founding Director of the School of Graduate Studies’ Office of English Language and Writing Support, a Senior Fellow of Massey College and a member of the Massey Corporation. A frequent guest lecturer for the Stratford Festival and host of the annual Shakespeare Lecture Series at the Toronto Reference Library, Dr. Freeman is a member of the Festival’s Senate, the Chair of its University Task Force and past Chair of its Education and Archives Committee.

Michael Happy (Pre-Season Insights [Hamilton])
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Michael Happy teaches in the department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Mohawk College. His area of scholarship is Northrop Frye on Shakespeare. He took Frye’s Shakespeare course at the University of Toronto, where he received a BA in English. He worked for a number of years as a private investigator before returning to do graduate work in English at McMaster. While there, he was the Northrop Frye Graduate Fellow and served as a Research Assistant on the Collected Works of Northrop Frye. He currently runs a website dedicated to Frye, The Educated Imagination, hosted by the McMaster University Library.

Alexander Leggatt (Pre-Season Insights [Toronto]; Table Talk, A Midsummer Night's Dream)
Alexander Leggatt Forum
Alexander Leggatt is professor emeritus of English at University College, University of Toronto, and a frequent contributor of program notes and table talks to the Stratford Festival. He took his BA at the University of Toronto in 1962 and did his graduate work in England at the Shakespeare Institute, leading to a PhD in 1965. From 1965 to his retirement in 2006 he taught English at the University of Toronto. He has written many books and articles on English drama, particularly the work of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. His books include Shakespeare’s Comedy of Love (1974), Shakespeare’s Political Drama (1988), English Stage Comedy 1490-1990: Five Centuries of a Genre (1998) and Shakespeare’s Tragedies: Violation and Identity (2005). He is editor of The Cambridge Companion to Shakespearean Comedy (2002). He has given lectures and conference papers in several countries around the world. He has held the Guggenheim and Killam fellowships; in 1995 he was given an Outstanding Teaching Award by the University of Toronto Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and in 1998 the Faculty Award in the University of Toronto Faculty Association Awards of Excellence. In 2005 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Vivian Rakoff (Pre-Season Insights [Toronto]; Upon a Wheel of Fire)
Vivian Rakoff Forum
Born in South Africa. Early education: Cape Town, South Africa. Studied medicine in London, England. Completed psychiatric training at McGill University. Was professor and chairman of the department of psychiatry and Director and Psychiatrist-in-Chief of the Clarke Institute from 1980 to 1990. Has written many papers regarding general psychiatry, adolescence and children of Holocaust survivors. Outside psychiatry: numerous talks for radio and television, book reviews plays for radio and television and occasional – very occasional – poetry.

Graham Roebuck (Pre-Season Insights [Hamilton])
Graham Roebuck Forum
Professor emeritus at McMaster University, Graham Roebuck is a scholar of early modern literature, history and aspects of mathematics and science. He has taught and written on the “Golden Age” of English literature and historiography – the age of Shakespeare, Donne, Milton, Jonson, Bacon, Clarendon and other writers and thinkers of that era of astonishing achievement in the humanities and nascent sciences. At the Stratford Festival he has presented Table Talks, foyer talks and program essays on a wide range of the drama produced on Stratford’s stages. As Director of the McMaster Stratford Seminars on Shakespeare and the Theatre, now in its 54th successive season, he conducts lectures and discussions among a gathering of people from varied backgrounds and locations, drawn together by love of theatre and the life of the mind that theatre fosters. In addition to presentations on Shakespeare’s plays, he has discussed works by Aeschylus, Beckett, Boucicault, Wilde, Shaw, Coward, Frayn, Goldsmith, Wycherley and Pinter, among others. A past President of the John Donne Society and of the Toronto Renaissance and Reformation Colloquium, he organizes the John Donne Society’s participation in the Renaissance Society of America. He is a Visiting Research Fellow at the Center for Renaissance Studies, University of Massachusetts at Amherst. His work in progress is an edition of the poems and translations of Sidney Godolphin, who died in battle in the Civil Wars of the 1640s – renowned in his own time for his poetic, philosophical and political genius. An essay on Donne’s influence on the philosophy of the Anglican “Great Tew” circle that promoted religious toleration and liberal politics appears in The John Donne Journal, 2013.
Philippa Sheppard (Pre-Season Insights [Toronto])
Philippa Sheppard Forum
Philippa Sheppard received her BA with an English specialization and a French minor with high distinction from the University of Toronto. She then did her MA in Shakespeare studies at the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-on-Avon. After that, she received her DPhil in English Renaissance drama from the University of Oxford, where she was a Commonwealth Scholar. Since then, Dr. Sheppard has taught both Renaissance drama and modern drama at the university level for 15 years. She has taught at Memorial University in Newfoundland, University College Dublin, and now with the Department of English at the University of Toronto. She is currently completing her book on film adaptations of Shakespeare. She has published chapters in the books Approaches to Teaching Renaissance Drama, Latin American Shakespeares, Renaissance Medievalisms, Faithand Fantasy in the Renaissance, Who Hears in Shakespeare and in an upcoming collection of essays on Macbeth to be published by Arden. She has articles about Shakespeare and adaptation printed in the journals The Shakespeare Bulletin and Literature/Film Quarterly. Dr. Sheppard also writes for the popular press (The Globe and Mail, the National Post, Quill and Quire) and has appeared on television and radio discussing literature.
Mary Silcox (Pre-Season Insights [Hamilton])
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Mary Silcox teaches Renaissance literature, including Shakespeare, in the English and Cultural Studies Department at McMaster University. Her research interests focus mostly on 16th- and 17th-century emblem books and poetry, and as one of the leading scholars in English emblem studies she has published several books and articles on them. Her current major project is a book on the intersection of death, the self and symbolic universes in early modern emblems. She is the Chair of Graduate Studies for the department and has therefore not had the opportunity to teach Shakespeare for a couple of years, so she's really happy to be talking about King Lear!

Ann Wilson (Pre-Season Insights [Guelph]; Table Talk, Alice Through the Looking-Glass)
Ann Wilson Forum
Ann Wilson is the Associate Dean, Academic in the College of Arts and a member of faculty in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph. Her academic work focuses on representations of gender and sexuality, with a particular focus on Canadian theatre and works produced in Edwardian England. Additionally, she has directed a number of productions in the Theatre Studies program at the University of Guelph, including Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

2014 Playbill List King LearCrazy for YouA Midsummer Night's DreamThe Beaux' StratagemMan of La ManchaAlice Through the Looking-GlassHay FeverKing JohnMother Courage and Her ChildrenAntony and CleopatraChristina, The Girl KingA Midsummer Night's Dream - a chamber play2014 Season

Sustaining support for the Forum
is generously provided by
Kelly & Michael Meighen and
the T.R. Meighen Foundation

Support for the 2014 Forum is
generously provided by
Nandita & Julian Wise


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