Global Shakespeares (Film/Theatre)

Annotated Bibliography Compiled by Ira Sen, SAA Graduate Student Assistant, 2022-23.

All abstracts are from the publisher’s website.


Rothwell, Kenneth S. A History of Shakespeare on Screen: A Century of Film and Television. Cambridge University Press, New York, 2004.

A History of Shakespeare on Screen: A Century of Film and Television chronicles how film-makers have re-imagined Shakespeare’s plays from the earliest exhibitions in music halls and nickelodeons to today’s multi-million dollar productions shown in megaplexes. Topics include the silent era, Hollywood in the Golden Age, the films of Laurence Olivier and Orson Welles, the television scene to include the BBC plays, the avant-garde cinema of Jarman and Greenaway, and non-Anglophone contributions from Japan and elsewhere … An up-to-date filmography, bibliography, and index of names make it invaluable as a one-volume reference work for specialists, while the accessible style will ensure that it also appeals to a wider audience of Shakespeareans and cinephiles.

Kidnie, Margaret Jane. Shakespeare and the Problem of Adaptation. United Kingdom, Routledge, 2009.

Margaret Jane Kidnie argues that ‘play’ and ‘adaptation’ are provisional categories – mutually dependent processes that evolve over time in accordance with the needs of users. This theoretical argument about the identity of works and the nature of text and performance is pursued in relation to diverse examples, including theatrical productions by the Royal Shakespeare Company, the BBC’s ShakespeaRe-Told, the Reduced Shakespeare Company, and recent print editions of the complete works.

Loomba, Ania, and Orkin, Martin. Post-Colonial Shakespeares. United Kingdom, Routledge, 1998.

This study explores the colonial and racial discourses emerging in early modern Britain; how the Shakespearean text later became a colonial battlefield; how Shakespeare circulates in our post- and neo-colonial world today. This collection of new essays traces the connections between early modern and contemporary vocabularies of colonization, ‘race’ and nationhood.

Massai, Sonia. World-Wide Shakespeares: Local Appropriations in Film and Performance. Routledge, 2005.

Drawing on debates around the global/local dimensions of cultural production, an international team of contributors explore the appropriation of Shakespeare’s plays in film and performance around the world. In particular, the book examines the ways in which adapters and directors have put Shakespeare into dialogue with local traditions and contexts. The contributors look in turn at ‘local’ Shakespeares for local, national and international audiences, covering a range of English and foreign appropriations that challenge geographical and cultural oppositions between ‘centre’ and ‘periphery’, and ‘big-time’ and ‘small-time’ Shakespeares. Responding to a surge of critical interest in the poetics and politics of appropriation, World-Wide Shakespeares is a valuable resource for those interested in the afterlife of Shakespeare in film and performance globally.

Rowe, Katherine, and Cartelli, Thomas. New wave Shakespeare on screen. United Kingdom, Wiley, 2007.

Drawing on developments in Shakespeare studies, performance studies, and media studies, the book integrates text-based and screen-based approaches in ways that will be accessible to teachers and students, as well as scholars. The study maps a critical vocabulary for interpreting Shakespeare film; addresses script-to-screen questions about authority and performativity; outlines varied approaches to adaptation such as revival, recycling, allusion, and sampling; parses sound as well as visual effects; and explores the cross-pollination between film and other media, from ancient to cutting-edge. New Wave Shakespeare on Screen emphasizes how rich the payoffs can be when Shakespeareans turn their attention to film adaptations as texts: aesthetically complex, historically situated, and as demanding in their own right as the playtexts they renovate.

Della Gatta, Carla. Latinx Shakespeares: Staging U.S. Intracultural Theater. United States, University of Michigan Press, 2023.

The book’s focus is on textual adaptations or performances in which Shakespearean plays, stories, or characters are made Latinx through stage techniques, aesthetics, processes for art-making (including casting), and modes of storytelling. The case studies range from performances at large repertory theaters to small community theaters and from established directors to emerging playwrights. To analyze these productions, the book draws on interviews with practitioners, script analysis, first-hand practitioner insight, and interdisciplinary theoretical lenses, largely by scholars of color. Latinx Shakespeares moves toward healing by reclaiming Shakespeare as a borrower, adapter, and creator of language whose oeuvre has too often been mobilized in the service of a culturally specific English-language whiteness that cannot extricate itself from its origins within the establishment of European/British colonialism/imperialism.

Chakravarti, Paromita, et al. Asian Interventions in Global Shakespeare: ‘All the World’s His Stage’. United States, Taylor & Francis, 2020.

This volume critically analyses and theorises Asian interventions in the expanding phenomenon of Global Shakespeare. It interrogates Shakespeare’s ‘universality’ from Asian perspectives: how this has been modified or even replaced by the ‘global bard’ as a recognisable brand, and how Asian Shakespeares have contributed to or subverted this process by both facilitating the worldwide dissemination of the bard’s plays and challenging and resisting the very templates through which they become globally legible. Critically acclaimed Asian productions have prominently figured at premier Western festivals, and popular Asian appropriations like Bollywood, manga and anime have created new kinds of globally accessible Shakespeare.

Desmet, Christy, et al. The Routledge Handbook of Shakespeare and Global Appropriation. United Kingdom, Routledge, 2019.

The Routledge Handbook of Shakespeare and Global Appropriation brings together a variety of different voices to examine the ways that Shakespeare has been adapted and appropriated onto stage, screen, page, and a variety of digital formats. The thirty-nine chapters address topics such as trans- and intermedia performances; Shakespearean utopias and dystopias; the ethics of appropriation; and Shakespeare and global justice as guidance on how to approach the teaching of these topics.

Harris, Jonathan Gil. Masala Shakespeare: How a Firangi Writer Became Indian. India, Aleph, 2018.

In Masala Shakespeare, the author focuses on twelve Shakespeare plays—The Comedy of Errors, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew, Twelfth Night, Macbeth, Othello, Hamlet, King Lear, The Tempest, Pericles and Titus Andronicus— that have acquired Indian lives independent of the familiar English texts of the plays. The plays are a diverse mixture whose Indian avatars—including films such as Angoor, 10ml Love, Ishaqzaade, Goliyon ki Rasleela Ram- Leela, Gundamma Katha, Isi Life Mein, DilBole Hadippa!, Maqbool, Omkara, Haider, Arshinagar and The Last Lear and plays such as Kamdev ka Apna Basant Ritu ka Sapna, Jangal mein Mangal, Chattan Kathu, Piya Behrupiya, Chahat ki Dastaan and Hera-Phericles—are very different from each other. In their own ways, however, they all chafe against an oppressive power by refusing the current vogue for shuddhta (purity), and singularity, and instead celebrate the plural and mixed.

Singh, Jyotsna G. Shakespeare and Postcolonial Theory. United Kingdom, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2019.

Shakespeare and Postcolonial Theory is an up-to-date guide to contemporary debates in postcolonial studies and how these shape our understanding of Shakespeare’s politics and poetics. Taking a historical perspective, it covers early modern discourses of colonialism, ‘race’, gender and globalization, through to contemporary intercultural appropriations and global adaptations of Shakespeare. Showing how the dialogue between Shakespeare criticism and postcolonial studies has evolved, this book offers a critical vocabulary that connects contemporary and early modern cultural struggles. Shakespeare and Postcolonial Theory also provides guides to further reading and online resources which make this an essential resource for students and scholars of Shakespeare.

Gillen, Katherine, et al. The Bard in the Borderlands: An Anthology of Shakespeare Appropriations en la Frontera, Volume 1. United States, ACMRS Press, 2023.

This anthology celebrates the dynamic, multilingual reworking of canon and place that defines Borderlands Shakespeare, and it situates these geographically and temporally diverse plays within the robust study of Shakespeare’s global afterlives. The editors offer a critical framework for understanding the artistic and political traditions that shape these plays and the place of Shakespeare within the multilayered colonial histories of the region. Borderlands Shakespeare plays, they contend, do not simply reproduce Shakespeare in new contexts but rather use his work in innovative ways to negotiate colonial power and to envision socially just futures.

Joubin, Alexa Alice. Shakespeare and East Asia. Oxford University Press, 2021.

Bringing film and theatre studies together, this book works with the interplay between the cultural signifiers “Shakespeare” and “East Asia” in the context of rhizomatic connections and cultural exchange; studying not only trends and motivations in adaptations but also how they contribute to the meaning of these two signifiers. The book analyses various stage and film adaptations to study form, appropriation, reception, cultural identities, multilingualism, and multiplicity/ ambiguity. It covers stage and film adaptations that reimagine racial and gender roles, and disability in Japan, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, Asian America, and the UK.

Seeff, Adele. South Africa’s Shakespeare and the Drama of Language and Identity. Palgrave, 2018.

This volume considers the linguistic complexities associated with Shakespeare’s presence in South Africa from 1801 to early twentieth-first century televisual updatings of the texts as a means of exploring individual and collective forms of identity. A case study approach demonstrates how Shakespeare’s texts are available for ideologically driven linguistic programs. Seeff introduces the African Theatre, Cape Town, in 1801, multilingual site of the first recorded performance of a Shakespeare play in Southern Africa where rival, amateur theatrical groups performed in turn, in English, Dutch, German, and French. Chapter 3 offers three vectors of a broadening Shakespeare diaspora in English, Afrikaans, and Setswana in the second half of the nineteenth century. Chapter 4 analyses André Brink’s Kinkels innie Kabel, a transposition of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors into Kaaps, as a radical critique of apartheid’s obsession with linguistic and ethnic purity. Chapter 5 investigates John Kani’s performance of Othello as a Xhosa warrior chief with access to the ancient tradition of Xhosa storytellers. Shakespeare in Mzansi, a televisual miniseries uses black actors, vernacular languages, and local settings to Africanize Macbeth and reclaim a cross-cultural, multilingualism. An Afterword assesses the future of Shakespeare in a post-rainbow, decolonizing South Africa.

Young, Sandra. Shakespeare in the Global South: Stories of Oceans Crossed in Contemporary Adaptation. The Arden Shakespeare, Global Shakespeare Inverted. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2019.

Contemporary adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays have brought into sharp focus the legacies of slavery, racism and colonial dispossession that still haunt the global South. Looking sideways across the Atlantic and Indian Oceans to nontraditional centres of Shakespeare practice, Shakespeare in the Global South explores the solidarities generated by contemporary adaptations and their stories of displacement and survival. The book takes its lead from innovative theatre practice in Mauritius, North India, Brazil, post-apartheid South Africa and the diasporic urban spaces of the global North, to assess the lessons for cultural theory emerging from the new works.

Using the ‘global South’ as a critical frame, Sandra Young reflects on the vocabulary scholars have found productive in grappling with the impact of the new iterations of Shakespeare’s work, through terms such as ‘creolization’, ‘indigenization’, ‘localization’, ‘Africanization’ and ‘diaspora’. Shakespeare’s presence in the global South invites us to go beyond familiar orthodoxies and to recognize the surprising affinities felt across oceans of difference in time and space that allow Shakespeare’s inventiveness to be a part of the enchanting subversions at play in contemporary theatre’s global currents.

Thurman, Chris and Sandra Young, eds. Global Shakespeare and Social Injustice: Towards a Transformative Encounter. The Arden Shakespeare, Global Shakespeare Inverted. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2023.

The chapters in this book constitute a timely response to an important moment for early modern cultural studies: the academy has been called to attend to questions of social justice. It requires a revision of the critical lexicon to be able to probe the relationship between Shakespeare studies and the intractable forms of social injustice that infuse cultural, political and economic life. This volume helps us to imagine what radical and transformative pedagogy, theatre-making and scholarship might look like. The contributors both invoke and invert the paradigm of Global Shakespeare, building on the vital contributions of this scholarly field over the past few decades but also suggesting ways in which it cannot quite accommodate the various ‘global Shakespeares’ presented in these pages.

A focus on social justice, and on the many forms of social injustice that demand our attention, leads to a consideration of the North/South constructions that have tended to shape Global Shakespeare conceptually, in the same way the material histories of ‘North’ and ‘South’ have shaped global injustice as we recognise it today. Such a focus invites us to consider the creative ways in which Shakespeare’s imagination has been taken up by theatre-makers and scholars alike, and marshalled in pursuit of a more just world.

Journals/Special Issues

Hennessey, Katherine, and Margaret Litvin. “Introduction.” Critical Survey, vol. 28, no. 3 (Special Issues: Arab Shakespeares), 2016, pp. 1–7. JSTOR, Accessed 24 Apr. 2023.

Offering a variety of perspectives on the history and role of Arab Shakespeare translation, production, adaptation and criticism, this volume explores both international and locally focused Arab/ic appropriations of Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets. In addition to Egyptian and Palestinian theatre, the contributors to this collection examine everything from an Omani performance in Qatar and an Upper Egyptian television series to the origin of the sonnets to an English-language novel about the Lebanese civil war. Addressing materials produced in several languages from literary Arabic (fuṣḥā) and Egyptian colloquial Arabic (‘ammiyya) to Swedish and French, these scholars and translators vary in discipline and origin, and together exhibit the diversity and vibrancy of this field.

Shakespeare in Southern Africa. Shakespeare Society of Southern Africa. Annual Publication, Grahamstown.

Shakespeare in Southern Africa is interested in both literary and theatrical approaches to Shakespeare. Its geographical scope is not confined to Southern Africa. Contributions discussing the legacy of Shakespeare elsewhere in Africa, with a specific focus on the Shakespearean experience in particular African countries, are especially welcome. The journal actively seeks to publish articles investigating the impact of Shakespeare in other parts of the world, such as India, the United States, South East Asia and South America.

Shellard, Dominic, and David Warren. Shakespeare and Japan, Vol 9, Issue 4, 2013.

The idea for the special issue came from a ‘Shakespeare in Japan’ conference, and deals with “interculturality, intermediality, and the challenges of translating Shakespeare”, along with “theatre productions, films and criticism and interrogating both Japanese engagement with Shakespeare as well as the portability (or not) of Western cultural values”.

Archives/Other Resources

MIT Global Shakespeares open-access performance archive, ed. Peter S. Donaldson and Alexa Alice Joubin.

The Global Shakespeares Video & Performance Archive is a collaborative project providing online access to performances of Shakespeare from many parts of the world as well as essays and metadata provided by scholars and educators in the field. The idea that Shakespeare is a global author has taken many forms since the building of the Globe playhouse. Our work honors the fact and demonstrates the diversity of the world-wide reception and production of Shakespeare’s plays in ways that we hope will nourish the remarkable array of new forms of cultural exchange that the digital age has made possible. Global Shakespeares is a participatory multi-centric networked model that offers wide access to international performances that are changing how we understand Shakespeare’s plays and the world.

Marie Curie Project (Shakespeare and Indian Cinematic Traditions). Ed. Mark Thornton Burnett, Rosa García Periago. Queen’s University Belfast.

One of the research outputs of the Marie Curie project (Shakespeare and Indian Cinematic Traditions) is the creation of a database of the hundreds of Shakespeare films in India, including films that adapt major Shakespearean plays or substantially cite Shakespearean plays. The objective is to assemble a comprehensive and representative list of examples that reflects the depth and diversity of the place of Shakespeare in Indian cinematic traditions. The database consists of various sections, including a film-bibliography and availability of the movies.

BUVC Shakespeare Database (Learning on Screen). British Universities Film and Video Council.

This…database of Shakespeare-related content in film, television, radio and video recordings is international in scope, is regularly updated and currently holds over 9,200 records dating from the 1890s to the present day.

Asian Shakespeare Intercultural Archive. Directors Yong Li Lan, Michiko Suematsu, Kaori Kobayashi, Lee Hyon-u.

The Asian Shakespeare Intercultural Archive is a collaborative, multilingual online archive of performance materials. It is supported by several government and academic bodies, with contributions from theatre companies in East and Southeast Asia. Its aim is to provide resources for education and research in intercultural and Shakespeare performance.

Latinx Shakespeares LatinxShakespeares.Org

LatinxShakespeares.Org is an archive that includes reviews and ephemera from over 180 Latinx-authored and/or Latinx-themed Shakespearean productions and adaptations and over 90 Latinx-authored and/or Latinx-themed adaptations of other western classics staged in the United States over the last seventy-five years.

Film Adaptations