Shakespeare wrote for a theater in which the audience was understood to be, and at times invited to be, active and participatory. How have Shakespeare’s audiences, from the sixteenth century to the present, responded to that invitation? In what ways have consumers across different cultural contexts, periods, and platforms engaged with the performance of Shakespeare’s plays? What are some of the different approaches taken by scholars today in thinking about the role of Shakespeare's audiences and their relationship to performance? The chapters in this collection use a variety of methods and approaches to explore the global history of audience experience of Shakespearean performance in theater, film, radio, and digital media. The approaches that these contributors take look at Shakespeare’s audiences through a variety of lenses, including theater history, dramaturgy, film studies, fan studies, popular culture, and performance. Together, they provide both close studies of particular moments in the history of Shakespeare’s audiences and a broader understanding of the various, often complex, connections between and among those audiences across the long history of Shakespearean performance.

chapter |24 pages


ByMatteo Pangallo, Peter Kirwan

part |50 pages

Embodied Audiences

chapter 1|18 pages

Respiratory Sympathy and Pneumatic Community in Shakespeare

ByStephanie Shirilan

chapter 3|14 pages

Haptic Experience and Fluid Boundaries

Macbeth and Czech Nationalism at Český Krumlov’s Revolving Theater
ByJennifer A. Low

part |59 pages

Constructing Audiences

chapter 5|13 pages

“Cleave the General Ear”

Shakespeare and the Cultural Bias of Early American Radio
ByMiles Drawdy

chapter 6|17 pages

Indian Shakespeare Cinema and the Active Audience

ByKoel Chatterjee

chapter 7|15 pages

Gender, Aura, and the Close-Up

Broadcasting Shakespeare for Female Audiences
ByPascale Aebischer

part |45 pages

Performing Audiences

chapter 8|17 pages

Shakespeare’s Riotous Audiences

Macbeth at Astor Place, 1849
ByEdel Lamb

chapter 9|12 pages

“How novelty may move”

Play and the Boundaries of the Play in the New York Shakespeare Festival’s Mobile Theater
ByAdam Sheaffer

chapter 10|14 pages

Imagined Theater

Why Fan Audiences Matter
ByLouise Geddes

part |43 pages

Observing Audiences

chapter 11|15 pages

“A vulgar comment will be made of it”

YouTube and Robert Weimann’s Platea
ByValerie M. Fazel

chapter 12|14 pages

Shakespeare’s Digital School Audience

Agency and Control in the Reception of an RSC Schools’ Broadcast
ByRachael Nicholas

chapter 13|12 pages

For Everybody

Casting, Race, and Audience Engagement in The Public Theater’s Mobile Unit
ByEmily Lathrop