The Arden Research Handbook of Shakespeare and Contemporary Performance, ed. Peter Kirwan and Kathryn Prince (Bloomsbury, 2021), pp. 132-150.
Performing Shakespeare in modern times is an act of mediation between characters and actors, creating channels between geocultural spaces and time periods. The multiplicity of the plural term global Shakespeares helps us push back against deceivingly harmonious images of Shakespeare’s ubiquitous presence. Adaptations accrue nuanced meanings as they move through physical and digital spaces, gaining cultural significance by paying homage to or remediating previous interpretations. As a transhistorical and intermedial practice, global Shakespeares have been deployed to revitalize performance genres, resist colonial appendage, exemplify social reparation. This chapter investigates methodologies for transhistorical inquiry into culturally fluid, contemporary adaptations of early modern texts in relation to digital cultures. In juxtaposing the ways in which localities create site-specific meanings, and the ways in which cultural meanings are dispersed and reframed through ever-evolving forms of digital engagement, this chapter outlines the future challenges and opportunities for contemporary global performances.