This event has now finished.
  • Date and time: Friday 14 February 2020, 8pm to 9.30pm
  • Location: Blackbox Theatre, School of Arts and Creative Technologies East, Campus East, University of York (Map)
  • Audience: Open to alumni, staff, students, the public
  • Admission: Free admission, booking required

Event details

Shakespeare’s Rivals

This event has been postponed and will now be held during York Festival of Ideas in June 2020.  Please accept our apologies for any disappointment. 

This lecture-performance is a sequel to the very popular first Shakespeare’s Rivals event last term. Like its predecessor, it continues, via a mini-lecture and fully rehearsed performance sequences, to explore the achievements of the finest of Shakespeare’s contemporaries. This time the focus is on his greatest competitor, Ben Jonson. Famous today for Volpone and The Alchemist, he wrote a rich array of other brilliant plays, all of which place distinctive demands on their actors. He also worked to micro-manage the detail of the way in which they should be performed. With the involvement of the same team of talented student actors who worked with him last term, Michael Cordner will demonstrate the variety and inventiveness of Jonson’s creative genius, in plays whose settings range from Ancient Rome to some of the seedier areas of early Jacobean London. This will be a unique opportunity to see performance sequences from extraordinary plays rarely staged today.

About the speaker

Professor Michael Cordner

Michael Cordner is Ken Dixon Pofessor of Drama in the Department of Theatre, Film, Television and Inter-Active Media. He is the founding General Editor of Oxford University Press’s Oxford English Drama series, has himself published editions of seventeen seventeenth- and eighteenth-century comedies, and frequently directs plays from the early modern repertoire on the Department’s main stages. Films of five of these productions can be viewed at He also frequently advises professional companies who are staging plays from this repertoire. Most recently, he worked on the Royal Shakespeare Company’s highly successful 2019 production of Vanbrugh’s The Provoked Wife, a play he also directed in York in 2014 and has edited for Penguin Books.

Venue details

  • Wheelchair accessible
  • No hearing loop