Pre·Amble scholars present free pre-performance lectures as part of the John W. and Jean Rowe Inquiry and Exploration Series that bridge the worlds of scholarship and performance, examining a play in its historical context as well as the interpretive choices made by the director, design team and acting ensemble. Pre·Ambles are held at the Theater an hour before curtain on select Saturday and Sunday matinees throughout a production’s run. Listen to past recordings, available online in the week following their presentation here at CST.
Stephen Bennett earned his PhD in English and American Literature at New York University, where he was a Dean's Dissertation Fellow. 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, and he is now a special education teacher at Pickard Elementary in Chicago. He has also taught at Roosevelt University, New York University, and the University of Utah.
Regina Buccola is Professor and Chair of Literature and Languages at Roosevelt University in Chicago, where she specializes in Shakespeare, non-Shakespearean early modern drama, and Women's and Gender Studies. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, including Early Theatre Journal, Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England, and Borrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation. She is the author of Fairies, Fractious Women and the Old Faith: Fairy Lore in Early Modern British Drama and Culture. She is the editor of A Midsummer Night's Dream: A Critical Guide, and co-editor with Peter Kanelos of Chicago Shakespeare Theater: Suiting the Action to the Word.
Casey Caldwell is a PhD candidate in the English Department at Northwestern University. His dissertation, The Utterance of Money: Monetary Properties in Early Modern Drama, focuses on the ontology or nature of money from an early modern theatre history perspective. Casey will be an inaugural Franke Graduate Fellow in residence at the Kaplan Institute for the Humanities at Northwestern University for the 2016-2017 school year. He holds an MFA in Shakespeare and Performance from Mary Baldwin College in Partnership with the American Shakespeare Center; an MA in Philosophy from the University of Auckland; and a BA in Philosophy from the University of Texas at Austin.
Beth Charlebois is Associate Professor of English at St. Mary's College of Maryland, the designated public honors college of the State of Maryland, where she teaches Shakespeare and Renaissance drama. Her work, both in the classroom and in print, focuses on performance and interpretation. Professor Charlebois began her work with Chicago Shakespeare's Education Department in 1995 while a graduate student at Northwestern University, where she earned her PhD in English literature in 2000. Her Pre•Amble talk on Antony and Cleopatra in 1999 was the first one of its kind offered by CST, and she has continued to help develop and expand the program since she relocated to Maryland.
Ira S. Murfin recently completed his doctoral work in Theatre & Drama at Northwestern University. His dissertation is entitled Talk Performance: Artistic Discipline, Extemporaneous Speech, and Media in the Post-1960s American Avant-garde. Criticism and scholarship has appeared in Theatre Topics, Theatre Journal, Theatre Research International, and Review of Contemporary Fiction. His performance work has been seen at MCA Chicago, Links Hall, Rhinoceros Theatre Festival, Chicago Cultural Center, and Sector 2337. He is currently the Graduate Assistant in Public Humanities with the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities at Northwestern. This is his fifth season as a Chicago Shakespeare Theater PreAmble Scholar.
Sara B.T. Thiel is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts at the University of Pittsburgh where she teaches theatre history, early modern race studies, and the drama of Shakespeare’s contemporaries. She is currently writing a book on performances of pregnancy by boy actors in early-seventeenth-century London. Her recent essay, “Performing Blackface Pregnancy at the Stuart Court: The Masque of Blackness and Love's Mistress, or the Queen's Masque,” (Renaissance Drama, 2017) recovers the Stuart Queen’s influence on early modern dramaturgy and performances of gestation in Stuart England. She also researches and publishes on contemporary adaptations of Shakespeare. Sara is a director and dramaturg; she holds a PhD in Theatre Studies from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.