Shakespeare in East Asian Education

Supervisor: Dr Sarah Olive

A) Rationale for the project

Shakespeare in East Asia is a celebrated phenomenon in Shakespeare Studies. However, it tends to focus on translation and performance, rather than on Shakespeare in educational settings e.g. schools and higher education institutions as well as theatre education departments. I am currently working with colleagues in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Vietnam to redress this imbalance, including writing a co-authored monograph on the subject with Adele Lee (Emerson, USA), Kohei Uchimaru (Toyo, Japan) and Rosalind Fielding (Birmingham, UK/Waseda, Japan) for Palgrave, as well as book chapters and journal articles. A current focus for me is the Chinese University Shakespeare Festival, held annually in Hong Kong between 2003-14. I would welcome proposals which wish to explore this, using the online (YouKu) videos of all ten seasons, as well as other such student Shakespeare Festivals. I am additionally interested in countries other than the above-mentioned, globally.

B) References that should be read (if you do not have access to these, please email

For example:

  • British Shakespeare Association’s free online magazine
  • Teaching Shakespeare (particularly issues 6, 7, 9, 13, dedicated to East Asia)
  • Andrew Dickson, World’s Elsewhere
  • Leung Che/Miriam Lau and Wing Bo/Anna Tso, Teaching Shakespeare to ESL Students
  • Andrew James Hartley, Shakespeare on the University Stage
  • MIT Global Shakespeares website
  • Martin Orkin, Local Shakespeares

C) Research aims / questions

To explore a currently under-researched aspect of Shakespeare in East Asian education, making an original contribution to Shakespeare studies, educational research and research in East Asia. Research to have potential to impact on stakeholders including educators, education and arts policy makers, students, arts and cultural organisations. Research questions to be determined by the student, through reading and supervision.

D) Methods

To be determined by the student, through reading and supervision. Much of my own research has dealt with the cultural value of Shakespeare in the English education system, with a focus on close-reading education policy documents, educational polemic, press releases from education ministries and pedagogic resources written by teachers, theatre and heritage education professionals.