Shakespeare at Notre Dame is a program that recognizes the centrality of the study of Shakespeare in humanistic pedagogy at the University of Notre Dame.
The creation of the “Shakespeare Initiative” in 2001 sought to broaden the Shakespeare offerings on campus and establish the permanence of this new tradition for an audience of students, faculty, the South Bend community at-large, and a national and international audience.
To that end, the current programs and future prospects that comprise Shakespeare at Notre Dame have created a regional center for Shakespearean scholarship, production, educational outreach, and academic research by enmeshing programs as far-reaching and diverse as Actors From The London Stage, the Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival, visiting guest artists and lecturers, touring productions, and new media library collections; ensuring Notre Dame’s status as a nationally visible—and the Midwest’s pre-eminent—venue for Shakespeare Studies.
Since 2000, major strides have been made in realizing the aims of the Shakespeare Initiative. The completion of the Marie P. DeBartolo Center for the Performing Arts in 2004 has also complemented this growth, furnishing Notre Dame with a world-class facility in which to explore Shakespeare in performance.
The appointment of Dr. Peter Holland as the McMeel Family Chair of Shakespeare Studies in 2002 has been a strong catalyst in the expansion of Shakespeare-related offerings at Notre Dame. His appointment has coincided with the development of Summer Shakespeare (now known as the Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival), the establishment of Notre Dame as the American base for Actors From The London Stage, the presentation of special events that are as varied as performances from Michael York and Claire Bloom and a residency by the Guthrie Theatre to a lecture by world-renowned Shakespeare scholar Stanley Wells, as well as the creation of a central administration—Shakespeare at Notre Dame—that coordinates all facets of these programs.
Shakespeare at Notre Dame consists of the McMeel Family Chair in Shakespeare Studies, the Ryan Producing Artistic Director, the Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival, Actors From The London Stage, ancillary lectures and events, library collections, and a core administrative staff comprised of an Executive Director, Audience Development Manager, and General Manager. Until 2007, the aforementioned programs and activities had been managed separately.
The consolidation of these programs under the organizational banner of Shakespeare at Notre Dame has provided Notre Dame and the wider community an on-campus culture steeped in the works of William Shakespeare – both on the page and on the stage.