Portsmouth Institute Conference on the Catholic Shakespeare

Joining the roster of the Portsmouth Institute’s conference on The Catholic Shakespeare?, June 10-12, will be Dennis Taylor, professor emeritus of English and editor emeritus of Religion and the Arts at Boston College. Professor Taylor will speak on “The Tempest and Catholic Exploration of America.”
“In the last twenty years,” commented Institute director James MacGuire, “There has been an explosion of scholarship on Shakespeare’s religion, especially in England, and we thought it timely to bring together leading scholars from our own country and the UK to discuss and illuminate this rich and fascinating subject. Dennis has been a pioneer in this area on our side of the Atlantic, and by so graciously agreeing to participate will enrich the entire weekend, not only with his talk but by contributing to panels and colloquies throughout the conference.”
So far the Institute roster includes a number of distinguished speakers, including the Right Reverend Dom Aidan Bellenger, OSB, Abbot of Downside, Dr. Gerard Kilroy of University College, London, Clare Asquith, Rev. Peter Milward, S.J. of Sophia University in Tokyo, Rev. David Beauregard, OMV, dean of studies at Our Lady of Grace seminary, Dr. John Cox of Hope College, Mr. Joseph Pearce of Ave Maria University and Dr. Glenn Arbery of Assumption College.
“Father Milward is the dean of Catholic Shakespeare scholarship,” MacGuire continued, “And it will be a privilege to welcome him, Abbot Aidan, Lady Asquith, Professor Taylor and all of our outstanding speakers to Portsmouth Abbey.”
In addition to scholarly presentations the Institute will feature dramatic productions based on Shakespeare’s plays by Theatre of the Word and other companies. One of these will be in the newly restored Newport Casino Theatre on Bellevue Avenue, originally designed by Stanford White in 1888, which will afford attendees the opportunity to tour some of the treasures of that historic city. There will also be musical concerts featuring music associated with Shakespeare and his time, including William Byrd’s Mass for Five Voices.
The Portsmouth Institute is a conference, study, recreation and retreat center for all those interested in Catholic life, leadership and service in the 21st Century. “As with last year’s conference on Newman and the Intellectual Tradition,” MacGuire said, “In addition to the formal sessions there will be ample time for prayer, sport, music, humor and friendship. We welcome any and all who might be interested in our 2011 Shakespeare conference to join us on our wonderful campus and promise that you will leave Portsmouth Abbey refreshed, edified and inspired.”
“We look forward to welcoming old and new friends alike to Portsmouth Abbey and School,” said Dr. James DeVecchi, headmaster, “So that they can be better acquainted with the academic and spiritual excellence that has been nurtured here for the past eighty years on the beautiful shores of Narragansett Bay.”
The complete conference program and registration information for The Catholic Shakespeare? is available at www.portsmouthinstitute.org, by calling Cindy Waterman at (401) 643-1244, emailing her at cwaterman@portsmouthabbey.org, or writing her at Portsmouth Abbey School, 285 Cory’s Lane, Portsmouth RI 02871.

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