The Kennedy Center

Imagining a Future Shakespeare: A Conversation with Fiona Shaw

IRELAND 100: Imagining a Future – Shakespeare: A Theatrical Conversation with Fiona Shaw

Friday, June 3, 2016 7:30 PM

IRELAND 100: Celebrating a Century of Irish Arts & Culture

Join the IRELAND 100 Artist-in-Residence and special guests as they discuss and debate, interpret and embrace, the past, present, and future of Shakespeare! Shaw will lend her theatrical talents to passages from some of his greatest works, and engage others to reveal how they're revolutionizing the Bard in the 21st century--including choreographer Elizabeth Streb, film/stage director Phyllida Lloyd, and hip hop artists the Q Brothers, who will perform an excerpt from Othello: The Remix. Includes an audience Q&A.

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IRELAND 100: Celebrating a Century of Irish Arts & Culture
Imagining a Future – Shakespeare
A Theatrical Conversation with Fiona Shaw

Join Fiona Shaw and several special guests as they discuss and debate, interpret and embrace, the past, present, and future of Shakespeare! 
Steeped in the classic tradition of the Bard's timeless language, the Tony Award nominee and two-time Olivier Award winner will lend her theatrical talents to passages from some of his greatest works--and engage artists from other genres to reveal how they're envisioning and revolutionizing Shakespeare in the 21st century. At the end of the evening, the audience will have a chance to ask questions of the artists and share their own perspectives during an insightful Q&A.
Visionary guest artists will include choreographer Elizabeth Streb known for her physically daring dance worksfilm and stage director Phyllida Lloyd who has recently been focused on all-female casts of Shakespeare plays, and hip hop artists the Q Brothers who will perform an excerpt of their award-winning piece Othello: The Remix. A trio from the Folger Consort (Robert Eisenstein, violin; Daniel Meyers, winds/percussion; and Brian Kay, lute) will kick off the evening with enchanting musical selections. 

Performance Timing: TBA


Elizabeth Streb has dived through glass, walked down (the outside of) London's City Hall, allowed a ton of dirt to fall on her head, and set herself on fire, among many other feats of extreme action. She founded the Streb Extreme Action Company in 1985 and established SLAM (STREB Lab for Action Mechanics) in Brooklyn, NY in 2003. Her goal has been to create a motion lexicon that all humans recognize. She calls it POP ACTION and it exists as a fusion of dance, hardware invention, sports, gymnastics, and the American circus. Her work speaks of and to intrinsic human potential and reinvents the radical art of culture. Streb holds an M.A. in Humanities and Social Thought from New York University, a B.S. in Modern Dance from SUNY Brockport, and two honorary doctorates. She has received numerous awards and fellowships including the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation ‘Genius' Award in 1997, the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1987 and a Doris Duke Artist Award in 2013. In 2010, Feminist Press published her book, STREB: How to Become an Extreme Action Hero. She is the subject of two recent documentaries. Born to Fly, directed by Catherine Gund (Aubin Pictures), which premiered in 2014 and is currently available on Netflix and iTunes. OXD, directed by Craig Lowy, follows STREB at the 2012 London Olympics and premiered in 2016. In the spring of 2015, Streb was the subject of Alec Wilkinson's profile in The New Yorker magazine, "Rough and Tumble."

Phyllida Lloyd is best known as a director for the ABBA musical Mama Mia in 1999 and then for the cinematic version in 2008 starring Meryl Streep. In 2011, she directed The Iron Lady, which earned Meryl Streep earned an Oscar.  In recent years, Lloyd has focused on directing all-female casts of Shakespeare plays. In 2014, she directed Henry IV in the West End, which came to New York's St. Anne's Warehouse in 2015. She also directed an all-female cast of Julius Caesar, which premiered in London's Donmar Theater. Lloyd is directing The Taming of the Shrew for the Public Theater in New York for this summer's Shakespeare in the Park. And she directed Fiona Shaw in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner at the Young Vic.

The Q Brothers are musicians, actors, writers, educators, and DJ's, GQ and JQ created and starred in the award-winning, internationally-acclaimed productions, Othello: The Remix and Funk It Up About Nothin' - both musical, hip hop "add-RAP-tations" of Shakespeare's classics. Othello: The Remix was commissioned by Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London for the 2012 Globe to Globe Festival, played the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (MTM: UK Awards, Best Lyrics and Best New Musical), enjoyed a five month run at Chicago Shakespeare Theater (Jeff Award, Best Ensemble), and has toured to Germany, South Korea, London, Poland, the United Arab Emirates, Australia and New Zealand. Funk It Up About Nothin' was commissioned by Chicago Shakespeare Theater (Jeff Award, Best Ensemble), and ran at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Dress Circle Award, Best Musical), and on tour to London and Australia. A Q Brothers' Christmas Carol had its world premiere at Chicago Shakespeare Theater in winter 2014 and returned in 2015. Their Off Broadway smash hit The Bomb-itty of Errors, which they co-created and starred in, has toured around the world and is published with Sam French. Their latest production is a two-man version of Two Gentlemen of Verona, called Q Gents, commissioned by Oregon Shakespeare Festival and currently touring. Film and television credits include the movie Drumline and the TV show Scratch and Burn (MTV), which they co-created and starred in, as well as work with Fox, CBS, and Showtime. They have numerous album credits as musicians and producers, including the Q Brothers' The Feel Good Album of the Year. The Q Brothers also conduct hip hop workshops for children of all ages, and have worked at Connecticut College, Lehigh University, Lollapalooza Music Festival, Austin City Limits Music Festival, the Latin School of Chicago, and in London and throughout Australia, as well as in Cook County Jail (Chicago) and two state prisons in Missouri.

Watch and Listen

IRELAND 100 Festival Trailer