FREE half-hour scholar lectures before the play

During the run of Twelfth Night, a team of scholars present pre-performance talks that bridge the worlds of scholarship and performance—examining the play and interpretive choices made by the director and design team. Pre•Ambles are scheduled at least one hour before the curtain on selected weekend dates. No reservations are necessary. Dates, times, and scholars subject to change.

  • Saturday, November 4, 2023 – 1:30 p.m., Stephen Bennett
  • Sunday, November 5, 2023 – 1:00 p.m., Stephen Bennett
  • Saturday, November 11, 2023 – 1:30 p.m., Deon Custard

  • Sunday, November 12, 2023 – 1:00 p.m., Deon Custard

  • Saturday, November 18, 2023 – 1:30 p.m., Regina Buccola

  • Sunday, November 19, 2023 – 1:00 p.m., Regina Buccola


Stephen BennettStephen Bennett, Ph.D.

Scholar, professor, and special education teacher at Eli Whitney Elementary

Stephen Bennett, Ph.D., has taught at Roosevelt University, New York University, and the University of Utah. His dissertation, Reading Elizabeth: Menopause and the Cult of the Virgin Queen, explores how and why representations of Elizabeth I changed at her menopause and at her death. During a nearly 20-year career teaching literature and writing at the college level, he became increasingly fascinated with how a K-12 education prepares students for college, which lead him to his current position where he also mentors new teachers. Stephen earned his Ph. D. in English and American Literature at New York University, where he was a Dean’s Dissertation Fellow.


Deon CustardDeon Custard

Ph. D. student, Northwestern University

Deon Custard is a Chicago- born, raised, and based sound designer & scholar of 17th century drama. Deon is currently developing a dissertation project focused on how language, politics, and economic pressures shift performance styles in Shakespeare. Other current work includes crafting syllabi that highlights the 17th century canon beyond Shakespeare’s writing, learning and developing new audience-engaging survey methods, and writing on the sonic performances of basketball games. Beyond the 1600s, Deon has been practicing his bass again and is passionate about comics (stand-up and the books), heavy metal, hip-hop, and listening to the film score before he sees the movie. Recent design credits include Villette (Lookingglass w/ Brandon Reed); From the Mississippi Delta (Lifeline); Dance Nation, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, Marisol (Northwestern University); Everybody (Santa Fe Playhouse). Deon completed BAs in English and Theatre (Directing) at Bates College in Lewiston, ME before beginning his Ph.D. at Northwestern in the fall of 2021.


Regina BuccolaRegina Buccola, Ph.D. 

Interim Dean of the College of Humanities, Education, and Social Sciences (CHESS), Roosevelt University in Chicago

Regina Buccola, Ph. D., is a Professor of English and specializes in Shakespeare, Non-Shakespeare early modern drama, and Women’s and Gender Studies. She has published several books on early modern British drama and culture, most recently Haunting History Onstage: Shakespeare in the USA and Canada for Cambridge Elements, as editor of A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Critical Guide and co-editor of Chicago Shakespeare Theater: Suiting the Action to the Word. Recent journal publications include Shakespeare Bulletin, Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England, and Borrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation. She serves as scholar in residence at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Her poetry has appeared in Women’s Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal and in Elia Magazine. In July 2022, a piece of her creative non-fiction appeared in Glacial Hills Review.

Part of the John W. and Jeanne M. Rowe Inquiry and Exploration Series


< Back to Twelfth Night


Additional Pages