Inspired by new approaches in performance studies, theatre history, research in material culture and dress history, a rich discussion of the many aspects of costume in Shakespearean performance has begun. Shakespeare and Costume furthers this research, bringing together varied and stimulating essays by leading scholars that consider costume from literary, dramatic, design, performative and theatrical perspectives, as well as interviews with renowned theatre practitioners Jane Greenwood and Robert Morgan. The volume amply demonstrates how an analysis of the meaning of costume enriches our understanding of Shakespeare's plays.
Beginning with an overview of the stage history of Shakespeare and costume, the volume looks at the historical context of clothing in the plays, considering topics such as royal self-fashioning, festive livery practices, and conceptions of race and gender exhibited in clothing choice, as well as costume in performance. Drawing on documentary evidence in designers' renderings, illustrations in periodicals, paintings, photographs, newspaper reviews and actors' memoirs, the volume also explores costume designs in specific Shakespeare productions from the re-opening of the London theatres in 1660 to the present day.
'Mining playtexts, archives, and clothing materials, contributors in Shakespeare and Costume explore what actors wore throughout past centuries, how they used clothing in their performances, and what meaning costumes conveyed. … The essays in this volume give these costumes a voice and students and stage practitioners an ear to understand a lost language through which materially based visual codes once spoke.' Renaissance Quarterly