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This chapter establishes a link between the rise in foreign Shakespeare performed on the English stage from the opening of Peter Daubeny’s World Theatre Seasons at the Aldwych in London in 1964 to the Complete Works Season and the World Shakespeare Festival that took place under the auspices of the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2006–7 and in 2012 and the emergence of regional and foreign accents in contemporary Shakespearean performance. This chapter shows how leading national companies are responding to the acoustic diversity introduced by visiting companies during these two major festival seasons. While recent studies on Shakespeare in contemporary performance have focused on the influence of international traditions that draw freely from ‘music, dance and the visual arts in one confident arc, … in total contrast to the text-based British theatre’ (de Wend Fenton and Neal, 2005: 16), I am instead interested in establishing how ‘Global Shakespeare’ is changing the aural dimensions of ‘English Shakespeare’ and, as a result, Shakespeare’s association with traditional ideals of ‘Englishness’.
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