Past Events

September 5, 2021

Co-sponsorship of Hattiloo Theatre’s Now I Am Alone, written by William Shakespeare; conceived by Geoffrey Owens.

Hattiloo continues the 200-year-old tradition of producing Shakespeare's work with Black actors. Shakespeare’s complex creations — men and women, kings and beggars, villains and heroes — stand alone and speak aloud their inmost thoughts. Although Geoffrey Owens is best known for his TV and film performances, he has appeared on Broadway in Romeo and Juliet, and in Julius Caesar at the Shakespeare Theater Company in Washington, D.C. He has done roles—including Romeo, Richard the Third, Othello and Puck—at numerous theaters, including the New York Shakespeare Festival  the Long Wharf TheatreHartford Stage, and the Williamstown Theatre Festival. For student tickets, please email

Spring semester 2021
Artists and scholars e-visited our Midsummer Night’s Dream seminar
February 4, 11, 18, 25Nick Hutchison on rehearsing/directing the play
March 4Emma Smith on “What is a Source” 
March 9Julia Gaisser on Apuleius
March 11Jonathan Bate on Ovid
March 16Misha Teramura on Chaucer
March 18Charlotte Artese on the folktale
March 23John Guillory on Milton’s “Comus” 
March 25Vanessa Rogers on Purcell’s opera
March 30Michael Hoffman on his 1999 film
April 6Ned Canty on Britten’s opera
April 8Rob Myles and Amelia Parillon on TSMGO
April 13Sukanta Chaudhuri on his Arden edition of the play
April 15Don Rodrigues on queer theory and The Phoenix and the Turtle
April 20Henry Turner on his book Shakespeare’s Double Helix
April 22Margo Hendricks on Race, Empire, and Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream
April 27Mya Gosling on her stick figure adaptation

January 9, 2021
Co-sponsorship of Swingin’ the Dream, with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Young Vic, and Theatre for a New Audience presenting a concert of a work in progress including original music and songs from the 1939 production. Streamed live from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, this jazz-infused version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream opened on Broadway with an all-star cast, including Louis Armstrong and Maxine Sullivan, along with musical contributions from Count Basie and Benny Goodman.

September 18, 2020
Caroline Randall Williams, Vanderbilt University Writer-in-Residence, discussed her book Lucy Negro, Redux, which plays on the so-called Dark Lady of Shakespeare's sonnets. This Zoom event was co-sponsored by the Rhodes College Pearce Shakespeare Endowment and Jack D. Farris Visiting Writers Series.

September 2020
Digital residency with visiting artist Nick Hutchison
Nick Hutchison worked closely with Rhodes students on interpreting Shakespeare’s sonnets. 

April 23–24, 2020 [Postponed due to COVID]
Law and Literature Symposium 
This free public symposium convenes scholars of early modern law and literature, working primarily but not exclusively in the field of English. Invited speakers will take into account questions of form and content, both legal and literary; temporalities and periodization; space, mobility, and motion; and slavery, personhood, and the laws of property. Lorna Hutson (Oxford University) will deliver the keynote on April 23, followed by a pedagogy workshop and panel presentations on April 24 by Penelope Anderson (Indiana University); Alison Chapman (University of Alabama—Birmingham); Stephanie Elsky (Rhodes College); Bernadette Meyler (Stanford University); and Cassander Smith (University of Alabama—Tuscaloosa). The symposium will conclude with Rhodes Theatre’s production of Qualities of Mercy: Scenes of Law & Justice on the Shakespearean Stage. Co-sponsored by the Office of Academic Affairs and the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law

February 15 – March 6, 2020
Residency with visiting artist Nick Hutchison
Nick Hutchison is a directoractor, and lecturer. His work covers television, film, theatre, voice-over, and radio, working for the BBC, ITV, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal National Theatre, and Shakespeare’s Globe. 
As with past residencies, Nick is available for class visits and workshops.

November 16, 2019 (7:30am-5:00pm, English Commons, 312 Southwestern Hall)
Marathon reading of “Paradise Lost”
Join the “fit audience . . . though few” who have read Paradise Lost. We commence early (7:30am) with coffee and pastries for your eager appetite, break for noontide repast (a.k.a. pizza), rashly eat fair enticing fruit around 3pm, and take our solitary way after 5pm.
Drop by for just a few lines, or stay for all 10,565!

October 21, 2019 (7:30pm, McNeill Concert Hall, free admission)
Luna Nova Music presents An Evening of Music and Shakespeare
Featuring music by Claude Debussy, Juan Maria Solare, John Dowland, G. P. Telemann, Roger Quilter, and Erich Korngold, performed by Daniel Gilbert, violin, Kelly Hermann, flute, Ben Minden-Birkemaier, guitar, Brian Ray, piano, and Paul Murray, baritone – 901-493-0958

October 4, 2019 (noon-2pm, Hyde Hall, Catherine Burrow Refectory)
The Art of the Sonnet — discussion with Stephanie Burt
Burt is a poet, scholar, and critic. Co-sponsored by Rhodes College Creative Writing and the University of Memphis Naseeb Shaheen Memorial Lecture Series

February 21, 2019: Lecture by Prof. Michelle Dowd, director of the Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies at the University of Alabama.

March 15, 2018 (7pm, Blount): Lecture on Islandology by Marc Shell (Harvard University), co-sponsored by English, Environmental Studies & Sciences, Latin American and Latinx Studies, Modern Languages and Literatures, Phi Beta Kappa, Political Economy, and the Project for the Study of Liberal Democracy

March 2, 2018: SONNET CONTEST! Shelby County students are invited to submit their original composition for Rhodes College's inaugural Sonnet Contest, sponsored by the Department of English's Creative Writing Program and the Pearce Shakespeare Endowment. Winners will receive a prize book and have their poem published in Rhodes' literary magazine, The Southwestern Review. Rhodes English Professors will select the top sonnet in two categories: Shakespearean sonnet (14 lines of iambic pentameter with an ABABCDCDEFEFGG rhyme scheme), and non-Shakespearean sonnet (where the only constraint will be 14 lines). Sonnet submissions must include name, age, school or home school, grade, and contact information, and must be e-mailed by Friday, March 2, 2018 to Lorie Yearwood.

January 25, 2018 "Why the Reformation Still Matters," lecture by Brad Gregory (Notre Dame), co-sponsored by the Batey Lecture with Search, Religious Studies, History, and West Tennessee Churches of the ELCA

November 2, 2017 (7pm, Hardie): Phi Beta Kappa lecture on Shakespeare and Race by Ayanna Thompson (George Washington), co-sponsored by Phi Beta KappaAfricana Studies, English, Theatre

October 26—28, 2017 (8pm, Ewing Studio): SHAKESPEARE'S WOMEN, staged reading directed by Rhodes alumna Leslie Reddick ’82

February 22, 2017: Jews and Muslims in Shakespeare's World, a conversation between Michael Leslie (Rhodes), James Shapiro (Columbia), and Ayanna Thompson (George Washington). Co-sponsored by Communities in Conversationrecorded here.

April 21–22, 2016: 1616 Symposium, with a keynote address (Thomas Christensen, author of 1616: The World in Motion), the regional premiere of a show based on the last days of Shakespeare′s life (by UK artist Gareth Somers), and lectures by scholars ranging across the liberal arts: Mark Algee-Hewitt (Stanford) on print culture c. 1616; Owen Gingerich (Harvard) on Galileo; Roland Greene(Stanford) on Cervantes; Heather Miyano Kopelson (Alabama) on the origins of slavery in the Bermudas; Michael Legaspi (Penn State) on the genesis of biblical hermeneutics; Gideon Manning(USC) on early modern medicine; William Newman (Indiana), on alchemy and chymistry; Catherine Swatek (UBC), on Tang Xianzu and Kun opera; Henry Turner (Rutgers) on the early modern corporation; Wendy Wall (Northwestern) on recipes and knowledge. As part of the symposium, Barret Library displayed 1616-related items from our special collections. At the University of Mississippi, a copy of Shakespeare′s First Folio was on display from April 11–May 1, 2016. The 1616 symposium was co-sponsored by Asian Studies, Barret Library, Biology, Chemistry, English, History, International Studies, Latin American Studies, Modern Languages & Literatures, Physics, Political Economy, Psychology, Religious Studies, and Theatre, as well as the Associated Colleges of the SouthCommunities in Conversation, and the Confucius Institute.

November 8, 2015: the Pearce Shakespeare Endowment partnered with the Indie Memphis Film Festival for a screening of Orson Welles’ classic “Chimes at Midnight (a.k.a. “Falstaff”), celebrating the 50th anniversary of its 1965 release, as well as the 100th anniversary of Welles’ 1915 birth. The screening was be preceded by arias from Falstaff operas, and followed by a discussion with Welles scholar Marguerite Rippy (Marymount). Film Studies and CODA co-sponsored this event.

September 28–October 23, 2015: artistic residency with British actor and director Nick Hutchison, who visited dozens of classes as well as worked closely with students in rehearsal. Hutchison's visit culminated in a free public Symposium on Shakespearean Comedy, co-sponsored by the Departments of English and Theatre. In addition to Hutchison’s direction of student scenes, Fiona Ritchie (McGill) discussed “Gender, Shakespeare, and Emotion on the Eighteenth-Century Stage.” Her visit was co-sponsored by Rhodes' Gender & Sexuality Studies program.

April 23, 2015: Shakespeare′s Birthday Lecture by John Guillory (NYU), who will discuss "Monuments and Documents: On the Object of Study in the Humanities" (6pm, Blount). Guillory reflected upon Erwin Panofsky′s use of the terms ′monument′ and ′document′ to describe the works of art studied by the art historian or critic, and on the utility of these terms in describing the object of study across humanities disciplines generally. Co-sponsored by English, Art, and the Search Program. Guillory  also discussed his pre-circulated paper on the Common Core State Standards Initiative (3:30pm, Palmer 203).

November 1, 2014: Regional premiere of Romeo and Juliet in Harlem at Indie Memphis Film Festival (9:45pm, Hattiloo Theatre; reception 9:00pm), with director Aleta Chappelle and actor Harry Lennix. Co-sponsored by the Rhodes Africana Studies Program, Rhodes Office of Multicultural Affairs, Rhodes Film Studies, CODA, and the African and African American Studies Program at the University of Memphis.

March 27, 2014: Phi Beta Kappa lecture by Marjorie Garber: "Occupy Shakespeare: Shakespeare and/in the Humanities." Interview in Chapter 16; Memphis Flyer "Shakespeare Our Contemporary"; "Occupied Shakespeare." Co-sponsored by the Rhodes College chapter of Phi Beta Kappa; the Department of English; the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program; Greek & Roman Studies; the Search Program; and the Spence L. Wilson Chair in Humanities.

November 2, 2013: Regional premiere of H4 at the Indie Memphis film festival (Playhouse on the Square). H4 is the first black Shakespeare film, transporting the Henry IV plays to contemporary Los Angeles to explore political struggles in the African American  community. Actor/producer Harry Lennix and scholar/screenwriter Dr. Ayanna Thompson (George Washington University) attended the screening as well as engaged in an informal discussion with Rhodes students, faculty, and staff (3:30pm, Rhea Lounge). Interviews with Lennix:; Ferdy on Films; JET. Reviews: Show Biz Chicago; Antagony & Ecstasy; Memphis Flyer; The Bloodshot Eye.

October 10–11, 2013: "The Past and Future of the Book" symposium on the latest developments in book history as well as innovative digital approaches to interpreting Shakespeare. Lukas Erne discussed "Disseminating Printed Shakespeare in Early Modern England”; Michael Witmore addressed "Writing Literary and Cultural History at the Level of the Sentence”; Robert Darnton responded to these presentations, and engaged in a roundtable discussion with Erne and Witmore. Darnton also lectured at the University of Memphis: "Digitize and Democratize: Libraries, Books, and the Digital Future". Facebook event page; Flyer interview; Counterpoint interview; Smart City Memphis; Intermission Impossible; Commercial Appeal; event poster (pdf).

April 12–13, 18–21, 2013: Production of As You Like It, with the return of visiting director Nick Hutchison. Interview with the director; review in the The Memphis Flyer; view photos. This production garnered nine Ostrander nominations for most outstanding college drama, winning awards for Supporting Actress in a Drama (Madison Tallant) and Supporting Actor in a Drama (Stephen Brown).

October 5, 2012: Symposium on "Global Hamlets," with Alexa Huang, Nick Hutchison, Margaret Litvin, and David Schalkwyk. Media: poster (PDF); lobby placard (PDF); Smart City Memphis; Memphis Flyer; WKNO interview.

November 10-11, 2011: Symposium on "The King James Bible′s 400th Anniversary," with Robert Alter, Hannibal Hamlin, Ena Heller, Naomi Tadmor, and Vincent Wimbush. Media: flyer; poster; schedule; facebook page; Chapter 16 interview with Alter; Counterpoint interview with Alter; Commercial Appeal review of Alter′s book; Memphis Flyer interview with Alter; article on symposium; Faith in Memphis entry on "Manifold Greatness" exhibit; Manifold Greatness blog entry and follow up; The Bible and Interpretation blog.

April 1-2, 14-17, 2011: Production of Twelfth Night, in celebration of the McCoy Theatre′s 30th anniversary season, with visiting director Nick Hutchison. Review in The Memphis Flyer; this production garnered eight Ostrander nominations for most outstanding college drama, winning awards for Leading Actress (Kilby Hodges), Leading Actor (Stephen Brown), and Supporting Actor (Donald Jellerson).

January 23, 2011: Panel discussion of the history and practice of adapting Shakespeare′s works to music, with Rhodes professors Donald Jellerson (English) and Vanessa Rogers (Music). Presented in conjunction with Opera Memphis′ production of a new musical version of A Midsummer Night′s Dream (Playhouse on the Square).

March 26, 2010: Symposium on "Green Shakespeare: Environmental Studies and the Bard," with a keynote lecture by Robert Watson was followed by a roundtable discusion on the "state of the field" with Dan Brayton, Simon Estok, Sharon O′Dair, Karen Raber, and Robert Watson. Co-sponsored by the Rhodes College Environmental Program, with additional support from the Associated Colleges of the South (ACS) and the Rhodes College Center for Outreach in the Development of the Arts (CODA). Press release; newspaper article; Memphis Flyer recommendation; Smart City blog posting; Counterpoint radio program; Watson′s lecture handout. 

October 20, 2009: Concert: Music of Shakespeare′s England, performed by The City Musick.

April 24, 2009: Lectures on The Taming of the Shrew by Dympna Callaghan and Leah Marcus, co-sponsored by the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program.

October 3, 2008: Lecture on As You Like It by Paul Kottman, co-sponsored by the Department of Political Science and by CODA.

January 25, 2008: Symposium on Macbeth, “Shakespeare in Color” (PDF), with Aleta Chappelle, Wallace Cheatham, Peter Erickson, Harry Lennix, Marguerite Rippy, Amy Scott-Douglass, and Ayanna Thompson. Co-sponsored by CODA, the African American Studies program, and the Departments of English and Theatre. This event was held in conjunction with the production of the play at Hattiloo Theatre, directed by Professor Cookie Ewing, and Verdi′s Macbett by Opera Memphis. Lectures from the symposium (by Wallace Cheatham, Peter Erickson, Harry Lennix, Marguerite Rippy, Amy Scott-Douglass, and Ayanna Thompson) have been published in an expanded collection of essays, Weyward Macbeth.