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Celebrated executioner[s]': Shakespearean oratory and space in mid-nineteenth-century colonial Australia
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Nicole AnaeNicole Anae
Examining Australian colonial re-readings of Shakespearean texts outside the formal realm of theatre productions offers a fascinating insight into the multiplicity of Victorian revisions and responses to Shakespeare as a literary form throughout the 1850s and 1860s. The growth of dramatic readings in non-purpose-built venues during the period represents an alteration of form significantly affecting colonialculture and the spaces and conditions in which alterations of form took place.Aside from purpose-built venues, other public spaces used for dramatic readingsof Shakespearean texts included annexed rooms built on to, or adjacent to, publichouses and saloons, town halls, court houses, showground buildings, schools,Masonic halls, and occasionally – albeit rarely – churches. This article has two aims:to explore the variety of the non-purpose-built social spaces in which re-readings ofShakespearean texts occurred during the mid-nineteenth century; and to examinethe social and cultural shifts in attitudes to both the space, and Shakespearean texts,which such re-readings motivated.