‘Truth is Truth’: Measure for Measure at the B.I.’s Shakespeare Week

Start spring with a celebration of the well renowned playwright through unique events at the British Institute here in FlorenceFrom April 16 to 20 at the Harold Acton Library of the British Institute of Florence (Lungarno Guicciardini 9) will celebrate the 16th century playwright’s work Measure for Measure. A lively program of events is offered, including a reading, film screening, and even afternoon tea.

Attendance outside of the reading on Tuesday and the conference on Friday will require a membership of the British Institute; daily membership is €6, and a special Shakespeare Week pass can be purchased for €15.

Monday, April 16: Watch and Learn

Taking place in Vienna, Measure for Measure is a drama that grapples with the complicated subjects of morality, sexuality, and power. Kick off a week of Shakespeare appreciation by attending Desmond Davis’ 1979 TV-movie adaptation of Measure for Measure at 3 pm. For those who never read or seen the play, or who can’t quite remember the intricacies of the plot, this showing will help viewers become familiar with the story.

Tuesday, April 17: Listen to a Public Reading

Similarly, this reading will be a fun way to get acquainted with Measure for Measure. The interpretation will be primarily in English, but audience members can volunteer to read in the language of their choosing, or one can simply listen. The public is invited to participate from 3 – 6 pm.

Wednesday, April 18: ‘Measure for Measure’ and the quest to overcome sexual tyranny.

Attend a lecture in English given by Eric Nicholson, a faculty member at NYU and Syracuse University in Florence, which discusses the complexities behind the often-labeled “problematic” play at 6 pm.

Later at 8 pm, view Dominic Dromgoole’s 2015 production of Measure for Measure filmed on Shakespeare’s Globe Theater stage in London. This film will be a unique look into the original Elizabethan theater conventions and production style.

Thursday, April 19: Children’s Workshop and Elizabethan Tea Time

This day of the week will celebrate more generally Shakespeare’s time beyond the chosen play. For children 5-10, there will be a reading of A Midsummer Night’s Dream from Usborne Publishing’s Illustrated stories from Shakespeare at 5 pm, followed by a workshop.

At the same time, there is an option to attend an Elizabethan instrumental concert paired with readings of Elizabethan poetry starting at 5 pm, preceded by tea and cakes at 4:30 pm. These events are sure to offer a relaxed and well-rounded scope of the Shakespearean years.

Friday, April 20: Conference for PhD students and researchers

Starting bright and early, The Italian Association of Shakespearean and Early Modern Studies (IASEMS) will host a graduate conference open to interdisciplinary scholars. The conference will be bilingual (English and Italian) from 7:15 am – 5:15 pm and will focus on Conversions in Early Modern British Literature and Culture (which, according to the organizers, “is a phenomenon that blends elements of individual experience with larger problems of historical change”) in Early Modern British Literature and Culture.