Cuore propulsivo delle iniziative è il convegno internazionale Shakespeare e la Memoria di Roma, il quale, a partire dalle opere di ambientazione romana (Titus Andronicus, The Rape of Lucrece, Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus, Cymbeline), aspira a cogliere il significato profondo della presenza di Roma nel complesso della produzione shakespeariana. La Roma antica rappresenta un riferimento costante nell’opera del drammaturgo, non solo come luogo geografico o storico, ma più in generale come palcoscenico del mondo. È serbatoio molteplice e universale di immagini, figurazioni, forme di governo, testi, valori, segni, che abitano l’immaginario shakespeariano. È modello da emulare e contrastare secondo la logica della translatio imperii. Il convegno analizzerà il ruolo di Roma come nodo di tensione fra passato e presente, espressione delle complesse dinamiche della memoria, figura parentale quasi ossessiva, insieme desiderata e negata. Continue reading “Roma”


The International Conference Shakespeare and The Memory of Rome, the very heart and scientific focus of this project, concentrates on Shakespeare’s ‘Roman’ plays and works (Titus Andronicus, The Rape of Lucrece, Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus, Cymbeline). The conference highlights the profound significance of Rome within the Shakespearean corpus. The image of ancient Rome has a strategic, metaphorical connotation in the playwright’s work, functioning not only as a physical, geographical or historical place, but chiefly as the emblem of the world itself and of a worldwide stage. It is a rich reservoir of images, figurations, forms of government, texts, values, and signs, which all inhabit Shakespeare’s imaginary world. It is a model to be emulated as well as challenged, according to the logic of translatio imperii. The conference will therefore analyse the role of Rome as a cluster of tensions between past and present, and as an expression of the complex dynamics of memory, an almost obsessive parental figure, both desired and denied. Continue reading “Rome”

Vatican / Rome

On November 12th 1964, during the third phase of the Second Vatican Council, the Royal Shakespeare Company gave a Shakespeare commemorative recital which was attended by Pope Paul VI.

The recital, which took place at the Auditorium in Palazzo Pio in Via della Conciliazione near St. Peter’s Basilica, was part of the celebrations for the fourth centenary of William Shakespeare’s birth in Rome. Excerpts from the Sonnets, The Passionate Pilgrim, and from some of the the plays were given by RSC members Dorothy Tutin, Tony Church and Derek Godfrey. Italian actors gave readings in Italian in the second part of the program. British actor Tony Church arranged the English text; Orazio Costa was in charge of the Italian adaptation and Giovanni Zammerine played the organ.

The event acquired a clear international resonance, as the Pope sat, throughout the performance, on a raised platform amid many of the 2000 Vatican Ecumenical Council fathers from all continents, the College of Cardinals and many other dignitaries attending the Second Vatican Council.

The 1623 First Folio owned by the RSC was sent to Rome for the occasion. After the recital, Dorothy Tutin asked the Pope to bless it. Paul VI misunderstood her words and thought it was a gift for the Vatican Library. As one of his aids walked away with the prized book, some 1964 journals report, bystanders heard the Pope say: “It will make a beautiful memento for this occasion.” Archbishop Heenan explained to the Pope it had been a misunderstanding and the book was returned to the members of the British company, but to this day, it is not clear if the First Folio was finally blessed or not.