Starting in 2019, Shakespeare in Yosemite has been a partner in the Cymbeline in the Anthropocene project, sponsored by the Social Sciences and Humanities Reseach Council of Canada, and led by Dr. Randall Martin. The project is creating an intercontinental network of nine site-specific productions of Shakespeare’s tragi-comic romance, Cymbeline. Each production will seek to uncover past and present ecological values in the play’s vibrant range of stories, emotions, and terrains, and to relate them creatively to local environmental conditions in the hope of opening audiences’ imaginations to new biocentric and biospheric horizons.
Shakepseare in Yosemite co-founder Katie Brokaw attended the group's first meeting in Santa Barbara, CA, in January 2020, where she presented on Shakesepare in Yosemite while learning about the ecological challenges facing the project's partner theatres in Canada, Georgia (the country), Kazakhstan, Argentina, Australia, Wales, and Montana. The assembled directors and academics workshopped various scenes from the play, thinking about how they can be adapted for ecological purposes.
The project website has an abundance of resources on ecological theatre, this project, and the partner theatres, and will be continuing updated with news about these exciting projects. In collaboration with UC Merced students enrolled in the Fall 2020 "Shakespeare and Ecology" class, we are adapting our new production, which will be filmed in March 2021 and shared with the world for Earth Day and Shakespeare's birthday. More on that project, Imogen in the Wild, here.
As the project description explains:
"Cymbeline Anthropocene will create an open access research archive of eight international productions of Shakespeare’s tragicomic romance, Cymbeline. Performances in Asia, Australia, North America, and Europe will explore the historical and contemporary ecological values of this environmentally rich and suggestive play. Productions will also creatively adapt Cymbeline in the light of local environmental conditions and challenges. As they do, the project’s online research archive will connect and broaden their collective scope by tracking experiences and artifacts from the individual rehearsal and staging processes.
Cymbeline Anthropocene is the first collective effort to present Shakespeare’s ecological insights to diverse audiences beyond academia or the Anglosphere. It will create a uniquely valuable ecocritical and performance studies archive for Shakespeare scholars and theatre practitioners. The archive’s performance research documentation will also reveal the environmental thinking and practices behind the stage productions and invite community audiences to diversify and enrich the meanings of those performances. The inclusivity and dynamism of the archive will create more equitable exchanges of specialized and general knowledge among artists, academics, and citizens. The project will also encourage future interdisciplinary collaboration among Shakespeare scholars, theatre practitioners, and environmentally concerned communities. The aesthetic, critical, and material insights collected by the research archive will result in a compact global vision of dwelling in the Anthropocene, and will facilitate personal and cultural understanding of the era’s impacts across global borders.
We invite you to participate in Cymbeline Anthropocene by discovering more about the project on our website, by attending any of our eight collaborating performances of Cymbeline, by getting in touch through our contact page, or by using and following #CymbelineAnthropocene on social media."
Cymbeline Anthropocene is the first collective effort to present Shakespeare’s ecological insights to diverse audiences beyond academia or the Anglosphere. It will create a uniquely valuable ecocritical and performance studies archive for Shakespeare scholars and theatre practitioners.