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COMMENTS 

The heart of the matter: passion, politics and the EU referendum

Both Leave and Remain have appealed to voters’ guts to the extent that reason itself has become suspicious. Emotions will rule the day on 23 June, but at what cost?
23 June 2016
Uta Staiger
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Starts: Jun 23, 2016 12:00:00 AM

The price of solidarity: is Brexit worth it?

A misunderstanding of history and of historical time has put European solidarity on the chopping block. Think carefully before allowing the axe to swing, pleads Jan Kubik, Director of the School of Slavonic & East European Studies at UCL.
23 June 2016
Jan Kubik
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Starts: Jun 23, 2016 12:00:00 AM

Undecided on the referendum? These are the three questions to ask yourself in the voting booth

If there is one thing people can agree on as they prepare to vote on the UK’s EU membership: comprehensive, comprehensible and trustworthy information is in short supply. Every day, the quality of the debate sinks to a new low – yet the stakes are as high as ever. How, then, are you supposed to make your decision on June 23? What questions should you ask yourself when you enter the polling booth?
16 June 2016
Uta Staiger
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Starts: Jun 16, 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