Institut de Recherche sur la Renaissance, l'âge Classique et les Lumières (IRCL - UMR 5186)


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Theatre and pandemic: research in progress

Within IRCL, the need to work on the intersection of theatre and pandemic emerged during the first weeks of March 2020, in response to the challenges posed by Covid-19 and its social, cultural, and artistic impact. This ongoing work belongs to an existing research programme on the place of the theatre, especially William Shakespeare’s, in our contemporary world – itself part of a wider area of research for IRCL, “Field 3: The contemporary global dynamics of heritage”.

Florence March: “How does theatre survive a pandemic?” A podcast for CNRS Le Journal


Since its birth in 5th century BCE, theatre has recurrently faced the challenge of epidemics, as in Shakespeare’s time. Faced with the health crisis and the closure of playhouses, theatre practitioners are turning to digital technology, while the number of visitors to dedicated websites has exploded, as Shakespeare scholar Florence March explains in this podcast. In her view, theatre, which is indispensable to human society, always rises from its ashes. Even so, its vital energy cannot suffice alone without public support that extends beyond the current crisis. One consequence of the Covid-related crisis has thus been to emphasise the crucial importance of cultural policies in France.


Link CNRS le Journal

Link YouTube (CNRS)

Link SoundCloud (CNRS)

Link Twitter (CNRS)

Link Facebook (CNRS)


Contribution by Florence March and Janice Valls-Russell to a CNRS research report

Facing the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic: Report on the orientations and modes of research in the humanities and social sciences Coordinated by Marie Gaille and Philippe Terral (2020)




Radio Printemps 2020

In the spring of 2020 during the first lockdown, the Printemps des Comédiens festival in Montpellier launched a radio webcast, Radio Printemps 2020, in partnership with IRCL. Radio Printemps 2020 broadcast a programme every Wednesday (still available online), which included a feature on Shakespeare by Florence March, in collaboration with artistic director Béla Czuppon and his company Les Perles de verre / La Baignoire. Artistic director of Radio Printemps: Julien Bouffier. With: Florence March, Gerard Lieber, Jacky Vilaceque





Printemps des collégiens 2019-2020: a season marked by the pandemic

he fifth season of Printemps des collégiens was disrupted by the first national lockdown, which began on 17 March 2020 and closed primary and secondary schools as well as universities until 22 June 2020. This disrupted the Shakespeare and Citizenship programme and resulted in the cancellation of the annual Printemps des collégiens festival in June, when the students of the six high schools involved in the project would have presented their year’s work. And yet, against all odds, the students, their teachers, and the actors who led the drama workshops proved creatively resilient.




Peter J. Smith, Janice Valls-Russell, and Daniel Yabut (eds), "Shakespeare under global lockdown", Cahiers Élisabéthains, 103 (November 2020), pp. 101–206.

This special section of Cahiers Élisabéthains was conceived and coordinated during the first lockdown in the spring of 2020. 37 contributors from 14 countries were invited to explore new ways of writing about Shakespeare productions: lockdown reviewing. In chronicling a diverse cross-section of performances, the authors shared their thoughts on the status of the viewer, the conventions of spectating, and the aesthetic and affective responses to online viewing. The collection was conceived both as an archival record of witnesses sharing immediate individual and collective experiences and as a critical tool. The introduction contextualised these experiences: it considered the challenges posed by the enforced closure of venues for the future of live performance and reflected on the different ways of experiencing theatre, as both artists and spectators. PJ Smith, J Valls-Russell, and D Yabut, “Shakespeare under global lockdown: introduction”, Cahiers Élisabéthains, 103 (November 2020), pp. 101–11.



January 2021







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