What is at stake in reading, studying and staging Shakespeare in an age of ‘extremism’, and in a context where responses to extremism are at best misguided and at worst counterproductive? Incorporating analysis of policy documents, contributions from anthropology and discussions of literary texts, this article explores what Shakespeare will mean under the UK government’s Prevent agenda, and the effects such an agenda might have on how we engage with extraordinary renderings of Shakespeare on stage now, not least those created by Sulayman Al Bassam.
Adam Hansen is Senior Lecturer in English at Northumbria University. He has published widely on early modern culture in its own time and ours, including ‘Shakespeare v The BNP’, in Literary Politics (2013). He is the author of Shakespeare and Popular Music (Continuum, 2010), and co-editor of Litpop: Writing and Popular Music (Ashgate, 2014), Shakespearean Echoes (Palgrave, 2015) and The White Devil: A Critical Reader (Bloomsbury, 2016).