“Who’s there?”: Exploring Shakespeare’s Hamlet


Explore what is arguably Shakespeare’s most famous play, Hamlet, with Dr Lori Leigh, dramaturg for Wellington Summer Shakespeare. Through both seminar and interactive workshop, delve into the performance history, language and staging of this complex and moving play. Take a look behind the scenes at the rehearsal process and making of the 2019 Wellington Summer Shakespeare production of Hamlet, performed this February in the Botanic Gardens from 15 February-2 March.

Recommended reading:
Please read Shakespeare’s Hamlet, particularly an edited version such as the Arden, Oxford, or Norton Critical.

Target audience:
This course is for Shakespeare enthusiasts, theatre practitioners, readers, and audience members seeking greater insight into Shakespeare’s work, especially Hamlet.

Learning objectives:
By the end of this course you will:

  • Understand major staging conventions of Shakespearean theatre
  • Discuss the language, dramaturgy, and ideas in the play Hamlet
  • Evaluate character interpretations and performative approaches to Hamlet

Course outline:
The course includes lecture presentations, readings and interactive group discussion.

On Sunday 3 February there may also be an opportunity to see a preview of some scenes from Hamlet performed, followed by a discussion of what you have seen.

Morning tea is provided. You will need to bring your own lunch or you can buy it from nearby food outlets.

Lori Leigh is a senior lecturer and Programme Director of the Theatre Programme at Victoria University of Wellington. In 2015, she received an Early Career Teacher Excellence Award from the University in recognition of outstanding teaching.

Lori’s research focuses on Early Modern, particularly Shakespearean, stagecraft, performance, and dramaturgy—including gender in Shakespeare, representations of gender and sexuality in theatre. Lori has published chapters and articles on Shakespeare with Oxford University Press and Shakespeare, the journal of the British Shakespeare Association. She has published a full-length book with Palgrave McMillan titled Shakespeare and the Embodied Heroine. Her most recent publication is a chapter on queenship and theatricality in the Palgrave Handbook of Shakespeare’s Queens, 2018.

Lori works as a professional director, playwright, and dramaturg and has received several awards and nominations for her work. Lori’s Shakespeare work includes directing The Two Noble Kinsmen and Romeo and Juliet at Studio 77, The Winter's Tale for Wellington Summer Shakespeare, Twelfth Night and Much Ado About Nothing for Shakespeare Globe Centre's NSSP, and This Fair Verona, an improvised adaptation of Romeo and Juliet for PlayShop at BATS Theatre. She has also served as dramaturg for Auckland Theatre Company’s Romeo and Juliet, Wellington productions of Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Urban Dream Brokerage, and The Comedy of Errors with Wellington Summer Shakespeare. Lori is the dramaturg for this year’s female-led production of Hamlet.

Relevant links:
School of English, Film, Theatre and Media Studies
2019 Wellington Summer Shakespeare 
Performance tickets through Eventfinda

For further information:
Continuing Education, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington 6140.
Phone 04 463 6556,  Email: conted@vuw.ac.nz

Please note: Courses need a minimum number of enrolments to go ahead. If your course doesn’t reach the number required, we’ll have to cancel it. If this happens, we’ll contact you by phone or email about a week before the scheduled start date and arrange a full refund. Please check your emails regularly.