The Winter's Tale

By Judith Dunbar

The Winter's Tale

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-2741-3
  • Pages: 320
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: July 2010
  • BIC Category: Literature, Theatre studies, Literary studies: general, PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / History & Criticism, LITERARY CRITICISM / Shakespeare, Literature & literary studies / Shakespeare studies & criticism, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: c 1500 to c 1800
  • Series: Shakespeare in Performance


This illuminating study of The Winter's Tale in performance in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries contributes to understanding the growth during that time of high critical esteem forwhat is now one of Shakespeare's frequently performed plays. Writing about performance as a richly collaborative living art, the author learns from and gives voice to the work of actors, directors, designers and other theatre professionals whose labor and interpretive discoveries have made it possible for audiences to experience the play's multiple potentialities in the theatre.

She does this in part by citing from her interviews with directors like Trevor Nunn and Peter Hall and with actors engaged in some of the most significant twentieth-century productions of The Winter's Tale. Dunbar connects her scholarly research, including fresh use of materials in theatrical archives, to her direct experience of those productions she has able to see in performance and, at times, to see develop in rehearsal. Her in-depth analysis of selected significant twentieth-century productions, including cross-cultural productions of The Winter's Tale by the Royal Dramatic Theatre of Sweden (directed by Ingmar Bergman), and the Maly Drama Theatre of Europe, in St. Petersburg (directed by Declan Donnellan), explores how theatre artists have approached the play's most crucial theatrical and interpretive challenges. The book's last chapter, by distinguishedtheatre scholar and performance critic Carol Chillington Rutter, contributes a richly layered and highly engaging comparative analysis of eight of the most important recent British productions of the play.

Dunbar makes a significant contribution to understanding The Winter's Tale which will be of great interest to scholars, teachers, and students of Shakespeare, to theatre lovers, and to all involved in productions of the play.


List of illustrations
Series editors' preface
Note on the text
Introduction: 'This wide gap of time': theatrical issues and performance history
1. Granville Barker's production at the Savoy Theatre, 1912
2. Postwar renewal: Peter Brook's production at the Phoenix Theatre, 1951
3. Trevor Nunn's production with the Royal Shakespeare Company, 1969-71
4. Audrey Stanley's production with the Oregon Shakespearean Festival, 1975
5. Jane Howell's television production for the British Broadcasting Corporation, 1980
6. Peter Hall's production at the National Theatre, 1988
7. Reinvention and cultural translation: Ingmar Bergman's production with the Royal Dramatic Theatre of Sweden, 1994-95
8. Declan Donnellan's production with the Maly Drama Theatre, St. Petersburg, 1997
9. 'A world ransomed, or one destroyed': English Tales at the Millennium by Carol Chillington Rutter


Judith Dunbar is Associate Professor of English at Santa Clara University

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