Shakespeare in Central Europe

Project Title: Shakespeare in Central Europe after 1989: common heritage and regional identity
Project ID: 21920060

The project, funded by the Visegrad Fund, aims at examining how the reception of Shakespeare reflects the regional specificity of Post-Communist countries after 1989. There is no other canonised oeuvre like Shakespeare's, the most intensely translated and performed playwright, that could be used as a touchstone of social attitudes, historical awareness, cultural memory in the region. Therefore the project has the potential to reach a broad spectrum of society (theatre practitioners, critics, academics, general audiences). The previous research and conference activities have either been insufficient to account for the unique cultural heritage and historical experience that we share in the region, or conducted by scholars based elsewhere. There has been a number of individual investigations presented on international platforms including conferences in Bratislava (2013, 2016, 2018), Budapest (2018), Bucharest (2016, 2018), Brno (2016), Gdansk (2017), and several volumes published, but not specifically focused on the region in this particular time period. Furthermore, there is no institutional basis supporting this kind of organised research, a gap which we are trying to counteract by establishing a network, relying on existing academic connections. We also aim at integrating the results of isolated studies focused on national histories, languages, and traditions, to foster an increased awareness of Central European identity. In this way we can also counteract processes of disintegration and fragmentation tangible in the European context by strengthening regional ties.

Increased awareness of regional identity and methodologies to study it are underrepresented in academic discourse. Our project aims at filling in this gap by disseminating the findings of the research to the region's citizens, especially academics, students, theatre practitioners, general audiences, and readers. Our research can only be done on a collaborative basis, since most sources such as archival material, performances, scholarly reviews are available only in national/regional languages. By joining forces we can overcome linguistic and cultural limitations. We can research themes that are not commonly available to us as individual researches. We share English as a common language to disseminate the findings of the research we conduct in our native languages.