This guest blog post comes courtesy of Katie over at the extremely readable OrWhatYouWill Shakespeare blog, talking about networking for more Shakespeare buddies:
Shakespeare is boring, right? This mindset is so prevalent that loving Shakespeare can often feel like a dirty little secret – an affinity best kept in the closet. It can be difficult to find friends who share your interest in the Bard. But it’s much more fun and enriching to share and learn from others. I have some suggestions for how to enlarge your Shakespeare network.
There are countless online opportunities for Shakespeare lovers to meet and learn from each other. Websites and blogs abound and are a great way to gain insight into the plays and to participate in a dialog about them. My blog, Or What You Will, is my effort to motivate myself to read Shakespeare deeply and connect with other Shakespeare fans. I love to hear from my readers and I learn a lot from them.
You may find opportunities to connect close to home. If you’re in college, try to fit some Shakespeare classes into your schedule. I took a year of Shakespeare as an undergrad which helped mold my love for reading and analyzing the plays as literature – something I try to share in my blog. Community colleges and local libraries can also help you connect with other Shakespeare lovers. The community college near me hosts an annual week-long Shakespeare festival featuring free, open-to-the-public workshops and talks by visiting scholars.
See the Plays!
I love to read the plays, but they are meant to be seen in performance. I am lucky that my mom took me to many plays when I was a kid, so I caught the theatre-bug early on. In the Washington DC area, where I live, there are always multiple Shakespeare plays in performance. I highly recommend community theater and college productions, which are accessible and more affordable than professional shows. Take advantage of after-show discussions with directors and actors. These are great fun, you can gain amazing insights, and you get to rub shoulders with other Shakespeare-lovers.
That brings me to my next suggestion. There are Shakespeare Meetup groups around the world. Join one or start one up where you live. That way you can meet regularly to read and discuss plays, attend productions together, and watch films. Meetups bring a social, fun and friendly aspect to what can seem a solitary love for the Bard.
So, step out of the closet! I bet in no time you’ll find others who share your interest in Shakespeare!