Fêting Fletcher

Due to other commitments (read: job) I can’t post much on here at the moment, though I do intend to get back to more regular postings in the future. Luckily for me, a great event was just announced, which means I get to write a post telling everyone how good it will be.

The event in question is a major two day conference focused on John Fletcher, an enormously important and influential Jacobean dramatist (and yes, Shakespeare fans, sometime collaborator with you-know-who). Fletcher is important for a great many reasons though, of which his work with Shakespeare is only a small part. His most famous collaboration was with Francis Beaumont, author of The Knight of the Burning Pestle, with whom he wrote some wonderful and underperformed plays like The Maid’s Tragedy and A King and No King. Some of these plays – Philaster springs to mind – were among the most celebrated of the day. Fletcher proved he could work alone too, taking on The Taming of the Shrew in The Woman’s Prize or The Tamer Tamed, in which the women fight back against the tyranny of men.

That’s just scratching the surface too; the plays I’ve mentioned are among the more well-known examples. Fletcher had a hand in around 50 extant plays and collaborated with other writers like Philip Massinger, and Nathan Field. The planned conference will shine a light on a much wider body of work and expose largely unexplored plays to much deserved analysis. I’m hoping to submit something on The Prophetess, a play I read for the first time in the Beaumont and Fletcher marathon of 2013, and I’m looking forward to hearing about what everyone else will be up to.

The organizers Steve Orman (recently awarded his doctorate at Canterbury Christ Church; congrats!) and José A. Pérez Díez (The Shakespeare Institute) are also wonderfully innovative, in that they are co-coordinating a supplementary performance of a Fletcher play. The choices are great and you can get involved by voting for your favourite using the hashtag #teamjohnfletcher or by emailing johnfletcherconference@gmail.com. The conference website is well-worth checking out, so do take a look here where you will find the full CFP plus details on the plays up for selection. My interested in deposed rulers is making me edge towards Beggar’s Bush, but I haven’t voted yet!

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