NDSU faculty members promote art in the community through Shakespeare events
Published February 10, 2016
William Shakespeare lived more than 400 years ago, but his influence is everywhere in contemporary life—in our favorite clichés, in the plots of books, TV shows and movies, in advertising and even how we think about ourselves and the world.
NDSU’s Shakespeare scholar Verena Theile describes the English playwright as a cultural icon whose work is experienced in everyday life, not just in English classes and theatre productions.
And that is an idea Theile and her colleagues from the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences are encouraging the community to explore through a month-long Shakespeare festival. The festival is called ShakespeareFEST, and it gives the Fargo-Moorhead community a variety of ways to enjoy the Bard through concerts, plays, social events, lectures, movies, poetry readings, performance art, visual art and reading clubs.
This is one way NDSU faculty members contribute to art and cultural life in the community and state. NDSU has held lectures, plays, concerts, literary readings, art showings and workshops throughout its history. These events make life richer and help the community’s economy. A recent study published in “Economic Development Quarterly” showed that arts and culture help communities attract workers and grow their economies.
Art and cultural events make life richer and help the community’s economy. NDSU has brought these types of events to the community and state throughout its history. A recent example is faculty members’ involvement in Fargo-Moorhead’s Shakespeare festival. They have been active planning and participating in a series of talks, performances and social events.
Theile, associate professor of English, has been deeply involved in planning the festival, and her colleagues are presenting or performing in many of the events. For example, Jeff Bumgarner, a criminal justice scholar, will give his take on whether justice was served in the case of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Betsy Birmingham, who researches Japanese anime, will present on Shakespeare in Japanese culture. Michael Yellow Bird, professor of sociology and director of NDSU’s Indigenous and Tribal Studies program, will address racism in Shakespeare.
The festival will conclude with NDSU Theatre’s production of “Romeo and Juliet,” February 25 though March 5.
“ShakespeareFEST draws attention to the ever-presence of Shakespeare in our culture,” Theile said. “Shakespeare is a cultural phenomenon like none other.”