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COMMENTS 

Does Eastern Europe have lessons for Brexit Britain?

What, if anything, can the experience of (research on) Eastern Europe say to us as we head towards Brexit? Lessons may lie above all in getting to grips with the tempo and nature of political change, its (un)predictability and likely channels.
Sean Hanley
1 August 2016
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Starts: Aug 1, 2016 12:00:00 AM

Hollande's response to the Nice massacre will please only the far right

On Thursday night, for the third time since January 2015, President François Hollande was faced with a mass murder on French soil. An ashen-faced Hollande, almost looking like a broken man, appeared on television on Friday at 4am and declared: “This is undoubtedly a terrorist attack; the whole of France is under the threat of an Islamic terrorist attack”.
Philippe Marlière
18 July 2016 More...

Starts: Jul 18, 2016 12:00:00 AM

Roman oratory and the EU referendum campaigns

In addition to marking a politically decisive moment in British history, the campaigns in advance of the referendum on the UK’s membership in the EU were exciting objects of study for Classicists in terms of the political use of oratory.
Gesine Manuwald
11 July 2016 More...

Starts: Jul 11, 2016 12:00:00 AM

Cleopatra DVDs now on sale

19 June 2013

Watch the first performance of Daniel’s tragedy in at least four hundred years.

Samuel Daniel’s neo-Senecan closet drama, The Tragedie of Cleopatra, was presented by the Centre for Early Modern Exchanges in March 2013. This was the first performance of Daniel’s tragedy in at least four hundred years. 

DVDs of this rare and sold-out production are now available for research and teaching purposes and to anyone with an interest in Daniel and his Cleopatra.

Purchase your copy



The staging

Samuel Daniel’s Tragedie of Cleopatra (1594) is the first English drama about Cleopatra and a source for Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. This production arose from the PhD research of Yasmin Arshad (UCL, English) and brought together a talented production team from a wide range of UCL departments.

The production explored early modern attitudes to race and national identity. The play centres on tensions between Egypt and Rome and on a non-European heroine who is fascinatingly different from Shakespeare’s Cleopatra in her nobility and stoicism. It is a sequel to Mary Sidney’s translation of Robert Garnier’s Antonie, making it an English play about an Egyptian queen inspired by a translation from French of a neo-Senecan tragedy. As such it demonstrates that cultural dialogue across and beyond Europe was the engine of artistic and intellectual innovation in the early modern period. 

The production also overturned the widespread perception that women did not participate in drama in Shakespeare’s time. Although female roles were taken by boys in commercial playhouses such as the Globe, Daniel’s play belongs to a genre (sometimes called ‘closet drama’) performed in country house settings with actors including women. Excitingly, Yasmin Arshad has discovered a portrait of a Jacobean lady in costume as Cleopatra, inscribed with lines from Daniel’s play.

By investigating the history of relations between performance, race, and gender in early modern Europe this production will enhance our understanding of these issues in the present.

This project was supported by UCL European Institute's call for proposals 2012-13