Free community classes at the Center are offered each semester for members of the greater Amherst community and are taught by independent scholars, retired faculty, and experts in Renaissance studies. To sign up for a class please contact us at email@example.com or call us at 413-577-3600. This programming is funded in part by Mass Humanities, which receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. See: press release
Fall 2020 - Virtual Course Offerings:
Marie Roche, Ph.D. UMass.
What has love got to do with it: Wars & National Conflicts?
This fall’s conversation will not be for the faint of heart, but for the warriors of ideas who will unflinchingly tackle and conquer the profound questions these plays raise. We will endeavor to explore: Romeo and Juliet; Antony and Cleopatra and Troilus and Cressida. We will explore the purpose and representation of love in these plays as the entry point to study how the personal enters the larger stage of British history (Troy and its fall; the Tyrone Rebellion), and of epics and myth (Iliad and Aeneid), and conversely how the external conflicts of titans (Priam and Agamemnon) and nations (Ancient Greece and Roman Empires) enter the realm of the private, causing the lovers’ demise and perhaps, with them, the death of a kind of ideology. How do the lovers’ relationships reveal or exemplify clashes of existential beliefs, of politics, and even the colliding of traditions; epic, historic, and romance?
Dates: September 14th - December 14th. Duration twelve weeks.
Time: Mondays : 5 pm to 6:30 pm; No meeting the week of Thanksgiving
Three special workshops with guest scholar, Jessica Bauman, director of Arden Everywhere, will be held on zoom.
October 5th 5:30 - 7:30 pm : Romeo and Juliet
November 9th 5:30 - 7:30 pm: Antony and Cleopatra
December 7th 5:30 - 7:30 pm: Troilus and Cressida
To register for these workshops, please visit Dr. Marie Roche's website.
Spring & Summer 2020:
All courses have transitioned to remote learning while campus remains closed. Meetings will be held on Zoom.
Marie Roche, Ph.D. UMass, is offering a series of seminars.
Journeys and Discoveries. Particpants will be reading As You Like It, The Comedy of Errors, and Pericles. The class will investigate new ways of seeing and experiencing quests into uncharted territories. There are no prerequisites: participants need to bring a copy of the play and a willingness to read aloud. The class meets on Mondays, 5:00 - 6:30, March 9th - May 28th.
Special guest, Jessica Bauman, director of Arden Everywhere.
Shakespeare Aloud. Would you enjoy taking on the Shakespearean role of your dreams? Join us in Shakespeare Aloud. Each participant will take on a character and learn to read the parts. Readings for each character will rotate amongst the members. Short presentations will be offered on topics related to the play.
Days: Monday July 6, 13, 20, 27
Time: 5 pm to 6:30 pm
Play: Much Ado About Nothing
Shakespeare in Translation. Are you curious about how Shakespeare sounds in another language? How his puns and wits carry over from English to French? What can we learn about the impact of Shakespeare's texts in other countries? Enjoy the Bard in French and explore the beauty of his language in translation.
Bilingual edition translated by Jean Michel Déprats. Bilingual conversation as needed. All levels of French welcome.
Days: Wednesday July 8, 15, 22, 29
Time: 5 pm to 6:30 pm
Play: Beaucoup de bruit pour rien
Shakespeare on Film. Join us in watching productions of Othello as a whole and in parts. Discussion of the play will focus performance history in film and audience reception. Along the way, we will also explore specific micro-topics with short presentations.
Days: Monday August 3, 10, 17, 24
Time: 5pm to 6:30 pm
Three productions of Othello with special features:
Orson Welles' Othello (1952)
Laurence Olivier's Othello (1965)
Othello with Laurence Fishburne, Irene Jacob, and Kenneth Branagh. Director Oliver Parker (1995)
Marie Roche, Ph.D. UMass, is offering a seminar entitled Shakespeare Aloud: A New Experience. Participants will be reading Twelfth Night together. There are no requirements--just bring a copy of the play and be willing to read aloud. Optional extra readings, discussion, and laughter will be provided! The class meets Mondays, 5:00 - 6:30 pm, beginning July 1st and going until the play is done. ~5 weeks.
Marie Roche, Ph.D. UMass, will teach Shakespeare in Translation: Le Roi Lear/French King Lear. Bilingual texts will be provided before the first meeting. Some fluency in French is required to best enjoy the class. The class meets Tuesday, 5:00 - 6:30 pm, beginning July 2nd and going until the play is done. ~5 weeks. Please note that class on July 9 and 16 will be held at alternative times. Details TBD.
Marie Roche, Ph.D. UMass, is offering a twelve-week seminar, entitled: The Body Deciphered, which will involve reading Titus Andronicus, Julius Caesar, and Antony and Cleopatra with a particular focus on the body. What is fascinating, says Jennifer Edwards, "about the presentations of these texts are the ways in which they interact with the body, and vice versa; with bodies presented as texts in need of deciphering, and texts that in their very fabric and construction recall the body." The class will not then dwell on the gruesome details present in these plays, but rather explore Shakespeare's presentation of the body and its manifestations as text, history, politics, character, etc. This class meets Mondays, 5:00 - 6:30 pm, February 18th - May 6th.
James van Luik, Professor Emeritus, from UMass Amherst will teach Science in the Renaissance, focusing on scientific developments during the Renaissance. This class meets on Wednesday, September 12th - October 24th.
Marie Roche, Ph.D. UMass, is offering a twelve-weeks seminar entitled: Shakespeare's Badass Mothers, which will look at three mothers in particular and the context of political power: Volumnia (Coriolanus), Gertrude (Hamlet), and Margaret of Anjou, the She-Wolf of France (Henry VI). Classes meet Monday, September 10th - December 3rd.
Tony Burton, Independent Scholar & Lifetime Center Fellow, is teaching Shakespeare's The Tempest, focusing on Shakespeare's last play from the perspective of actors and character development. Classes meet Tuesday, September 11th - November 13th.
Every summer, we welcome the Hampshire Shakespeare Company's "Shakespeare Under the Stars": outdoor performances that take place on the Great Meadow of the Renaissance Center. HSC is a community-based organization with part-time seasonal professional staff. The Company brings together professional, amateur and student performers, offering audiences and actors a range of theatrical experiences from the most profound to the most playful.
The 2019 season includes: Henry V, directed by Mount Holyoke College’s Noah Tuleja (June 26 - 30 and July 3 - 7); and The *Annotated* Taming of the Shrew, adapted and directed by Toby Vera Bercovici, with music and lyrics by Old Flame (July 17- 21 and 24 - 28). The Young Company's presentation of Measure for Measure, directed by Hannah Simms, will run the weekend of August 16 - 18. All shows begin at 7:00 p.m.
For more information about this season visit https://hampshireshakespeare.com/
Renaissance Harvest Festival
Our annual Renaissance Harvest Festival showcases local artisans and performance groupsin conjunction with a celebration the harvest of our Renaissance garden and orchard. The Harvest Festival puts the Center’s research and teaching interests into practice by inviting the Pioneer Valley community to join us for a day of thrilling entertainment, educational demonstrations, and fine crafts. Connecting the rich variety of local production on offer in the Valley to its past in Renaissance history, the Harvest Festival promises fun and entertainment for the whole family!
Check our Calendar of events for details in the Fall.
Every summer the Center holds an official garden party to celebrate and enjoy the growing sixteenth-century Kitchen Garden. Music and light refreshment are provided, as are tours of our Renaissance Kitchen Garden. Check our Calendar of events for details.
A series of hour-long informal talks on wide-ranging topics by local or visiting scholars held in the Center Reading Room. Lecture topics are of general interest; discussion and refreshments follow each talk. Co-sponsored by the Amherst Woman's Club. Check our Calendar of events for details.
First Sunday Concerts
The First Sunday Series presents two concerts each semester at 2:00 pm on Sunday afternoons. These performances feature regional musicians and early music groups. Announcements regarding our schedule can be found under the Events tab. Check our Calendar of events for details.
Community Reading Groups
The community reading group meets to discuss new fiction on or set in the renaissance. New members are always welcome. To join our conversation, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.