The Folger Luminary Shakespeare is a collaboration of renowned scholars from the US and Europe. Browse our Bookshelves to see more from our team of literary experts.


Elliott Visconsi is the founder of the Luminary project and co-director of the Luminary edition of The Tempest. He is Associate Professor of English & Concurrent Associate Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame, where he divides his work between Shakespeare within the tradition of 16th and 17th century English & American literature and First Amendment law, free expression in the digital age, and intellectual property. Visconsi is the author of Lines of Equity: Literature and the Origins of Law in Later Stuart England (Cornell UP, 2008) and currently is completing a book called The Invention of Civil Religion: The Literatures of Church and State in Post-Revolutionary England. His other work touches on the ethics and legal regulation of digital speech in our global media ecology. His cross-disciplinary work has been supported by a Mellon Foundation New Directions Fellowship, an ACLS Fellowship, and other awards.

Katherine Rowe is a founding partner in the Luminary project and the co-director of the Luminary edition of The Tempest. Rowe is Professor of English at Bryn Mawr. She teaches and writes about media change, from the Renaissance to the digital age. A leading Shakespeare scholar with interests in media history and adaptation, Rowe was described by The New York Times as one of "a small vanguard of digitally adept scholars...rethinking how knowledge is understood and judged." She served on the editorial board of Shakespeare Quarterly and is Associate Editor of the Cambridge World Shakespeare Online, an international resource from Cambridge University Press. A recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Pennsylvania Department of Education, she directs initiatives in Digital Teaching and Scholarship for Haverford, Swarthmore and Bryn Mawr colleges. She has written several books and numerous articles on Renaissance drama, Shakespeare adaptation, and the history of reading, writing and performance. Prof. Rowe directs the forthcoming Luminary edition of Macbeth.

Our Team of Experts

Harry Berger Jr is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Part of the founding faculty of UCSC, he taught previously at Yale, where he received his B.A. and Ph.D. degrees. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the recipient of numerous honors and awards, Prof. Berger has written on a broad array of topics including Shakespeare, Spenser, Marvell, Dutch still-life painting, Plato, and critical theory. Among his many books are Second World and Green World: Studies in Renaissance Fiction-Making (U of California Press), Imaginary Audition: Shakespeare on Stage and Page (U of California Press), Fictions of the Pose: Rembrandt against the Italian Renaissance (Stanford UP), Making Trifles of Terrors: Redistributing Complicities in Shakespeare (Stanford UP), and The Allegorical Temper: Vision and Reality in Book II of Spenser’s Faerie Queene (Yale UP). As a teacher, Prof. Berger has inspired several generations of students and scholars. Harry Berger Jr's commentary, "Prospero's Humiliation", explores the complex of motives and emotions that drive the central characters in this play.

Brian Cummings is Professor of English at the University of Sussex, is an expert on Renaissance literature, on European humanism, on the English Bible and the Book of Common Prayer, and on medieval and Renaissance philosophy. He is the author of The Literary Culture of the Reformation: Grammar and Grace (2002), a Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year for 2003, and The Book of Common Prayer: The Texts of 1549, 1559, and 1662 (2011), and has published widely in journals such as English Literary Renaissance and Studies in Church History. Prof. Cummings lectures around the world on Renaissance religious culture, including public celebrations for the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. His recent courses include What is Literature?, History of Reading in the West, Idea of the Renaissance (on humanism and the history of the book), and Public Shakespeare. Prof. Cummings directs the Luminary edition of Hamlet.

Michael Dobson is Director of the Shakespeare Institute and Professor of Shakespeare Studies at the University of Birmingham, observes that, like his character Falstaff, Shakespeare is not only witty in himself but is the cause of that wit is in others. As a teacher and writer, Prof. Dobson examines Shakespeare's extraordinary writings in their Renaissance contexts, and explores how they have stimulated the creativity of others, across time — whether actors (professional and amateur), scholars, directors, philosophers, composers, critics, sculptors, poets, or novelists. Prof. Dobson enjoys consulting to theatre directors and actors as well as publishing scholarly essays and books. His work focuses on the interpretation of Shakespeare in the theatre down the centuries since his death, and on the history of our continuing love affair with Elizabeth and the Elizabethans more generally. He takes an enthusiastic and informed interest in most things done in Shakespeare's name in different media around the world.

Folger Master Class This iPad edition of The Tempest complements the Folger Edition of the play. The assignments included in this lecture stream were prepared by veterans of the Folger Library Education programs.

Marjorie Garber is the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of English and Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University, and Chair of the Committee on Dramatic Arts. She has published sixteen books and edited seven collections of essays on topics from Shakespeare to literary and cultural theory to the arts and intellectual life. Newsweek magazine chose Shakespeare After All as one of the five best nonfiction books of 2004, praising it as the "indispensable introduction to an indispensable writer ... Garber's is the most exhilarating seminar room you'll ever enter." The former President of the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes and a continuing member of its advisory board, Prof. Garber currently serves as a Trustee of the English Institute and on the Board of Directors of the American Council of Learned Societies. She is a member of the Board of Advisors of Luminary LLC.

Peter Holland is McMeel Family Professor of Shakespeare Studies and Associate Dean for the Arts at the University of Notre Dame. The former president of the Shakespeare Association of America and former Director of the Shakespeare Institute at the University of Birmingham, Prof. Holland focuses on performance-oriented Shakespeare criticism and theater history. He is editor of Shakespeare Survey as well as a number of other series. Among his books are English Shakespeares: Shakespeare on the English Stage in the 1990s and a major study of Restoration drama The Ornament of Action. He has also edited many Shakespeare plays, including A Midsummer Night's Dream (Oxford). In 2007, he completed publication of a five-volume series of collections of essays entitled Rethinking British Theatre History. Recently he was elected an honorary fellow at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, his alma mater. Prof. Holland is a member of the Board of Advisors of Luminary LLC.

Alexa Huang teaches at George Washington University where she directs the Dean’s Scholars in Shakespeare program, and co-founded and co-directs the Digital Humanities Institute. Alexa's latest book is Shakespeare and the Ethics of Appropriation (co-edited with Elizabeth Rivlin; Palgrave, 2014). She is co-founder and co-director of the open access Global Shakespeares digital performance archive.

Jennifer Kidd studied History at St John's College, Cambridge before training as an actress at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). Professional engagements include Scorched (Old Vic Tunnels), Pieces (Theatr Clwyd and 59E59 Theaters New York), The Merchant of Venice and Holding Fire! (Shakespeare's Globe Renaissance and Revolution season) and The Changeling which toured Europe and played at the Barbican for Cheek by Jowl. She initiated and performed in The Only Girl in the World (Arcola Theatre, Best off West End Production 2008 - Time Out). She works with various theatre companies in the creation and development of original work, currently towards the UK Premiere of Ostrovsky's classic Bespridannitsa (retitled Larissa and the Merchants) with Insite Performance. Jennifer offers individual acting coaching and leads drama and text-based workshops on behalf of City Acting and Shakespeare's Globe. Jennifer Kidd's commentary, "Playing Miranda and Ariel" shows us how an actor approaches the challenges and opportunities of playing Shakespeare and doubling these two very different roles.

Jesse Lander is Thomas & Robert Rolfs Associate Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame, where he teaches and writes about Shakespeare, the history of the book, and humanism. The author of Inventing Polemic: Religion, Print, and Literary Culture in Early Modern England (Cambridge U. Press), he is at work on a study of the supernatural in Shakespeare's England. His courses at Notre Dame and the Folger Shakespeare Library explore questions of historiography and historicism as well as textual studies and editorial theory. Prof. Lander is the textual editor of the Luminary edition of The Tempest. Jesse Lander's commentary "How a Scholar Thinks about Editing a Shakespeare Play," explains the host of small but interesting and meaningful decisions involved in modernizing a Renaissance play text.

Ellen Mackay is Associate Professor of English and Theater Studies at Indiana University Bloomington. She works on early modern English drama and public culture (including sermons, royal entries, ballads, mayoral pageants, beast-baitings, polemics, satires and feuds) and Western theatre and performance, from the Greeks to the present. She focuses on phenomena that do not sit easily within the counterfeit world of a play, such as live animals, gunfire, nudity, stuttering, and pyrotechnics. She is the author of articles on the mythology of performance studies, the theatre's tendency to self-combust, and the dubiety of theatre history, and the book Persecution, Plague, and Fire: Fugitive Histories of the Shakespearean Stage (U Chicago Press). MacKay is now at work on a sweeping study of a highly irrational and often bizarre theatrical form, the sea spectacle. She directs the Luminary edition of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Ellen MacKay's commentary, "Spectacle and Wonder", explores the magical arts of The Tempest, describing how they have been received, understood, and performed.

Richard Neale trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. He was last seen with AFTLS in the fall of 2009 as Edmund/Edgar in King Lear. Other previous stage credits include: Dromio of Syracuse in The Comedy of Errors, Bagot in Richard II (Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory), Travelling Light (New Vic Basement), Privates on Parade (New Vic, Stoke), Cinderella (Swan, High Wycombe), various national and international tours for Natural Theatre Company, Claudio in Measure for Measure, Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream (both for Creation Theatre Co), Puckoon (Big Telly Theatre Company), Cassio in Othello (Creation Theatre Co), and Kurt Tucholsky - His Life and Songs (Soho Theatre). His work in film and television includes Just Desserts (HTV) and Holby City (BBC TV) and Living in Hope (We Three Films). Richard teaches acting at the London School of Dramatic Art.

Laurence Pears trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). His previous experience on the London stage includes playing Mikael in Marivaux's La Dispute (Soho Theatre), Old Man in Hanging Around (the National Theatre with NYT & Kneehigh), Stanislavski in Nina (MacOwen Theatre) and Henry Swann in the one-man show Lost Souls Music (Pleasance Theatre). Prior to The Tempest he played Doctor Funnel in A Hole in the Earth (Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds). Laurence is a founding actor and producer of 'The Merely Players', whose most recent project was an eight-man version of Henry V. Before drama school he performed in Film and TV from an early age; playing roles such as Joe Gallow in Charles Dance's Ladies in Lavender and Cecil in the BBC's Wild West. In 2011 Laurence toured and workshopped with the Young Shakespeare Company's production of Romeo and Juliet.

Kristen Poole is Professor of English at the University of Delaware, specializes in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English literature and culture with special reference to religious history. She is the author of two books, Radical Religion from Shakespeare to Milton: Figures of Nonconformity in Early Modern England (Cambridge UP, 2000) and Supernatural Environments in Shakespeare's England: Spaces of Demonism, Divinity, and Drama (Cambridge UP, 2011), as well as numerous articles in scholarly journals and essay collections. At the undergraduate level she teaches courses on Renaissance Literature, Shakespeare, Queen Elizabeth, Milton, the history of "Shakespeare," and literary theory. At the graduate level she teaches topics ranging from the Renaissance culture of dissection to sixteenth- and seventeenth-century notions of space-time. She is currently pursuing an advanced Master's degree in historical theology. Prof. Poole directs the forthcoming Luminary edition of Romeo and Juliet. Kristen Poole's commentary, "The Power of Story" explores the connection between storytelling and authority, focusing on the different versions of history, memory, story, and performance offered in The Tempest.

Dale Rapley first performed with AFTLS as Kent and Gloucester in the 2009 tour of King Lear. Dale has played many leading roles with theatre companies across the UK, including the Royal Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and Regent's Park Open Air Theatre. Roles include: Antonio in The Merchant of Venice, Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hector Hushabye in Shaw's Heartbreak House, The Leading Actor in Six Characters Looking for an Author (Young Vic) and Sebastian in The Tempest (Cheek By Jowl). As a singer Dale has also premiered many new musical theatre pieces as well as playing leading roles in the West End, including Dexter in High Society and Harry Bright in Mamma Mia! In 2012 he will be touring the UK in Alan Bennett's The Lady in the Van. Dale Rapley's commentary, "Playing Prospero" opens a window on how an actor thinks about playing this well-known, iconic role.

Joseph Roach is Sterling Professor of Theater and English at Yale University, is a leading theater historian, stage director, and performance studies scholar. A recipient of the James Russell Lowell Prize (Modern Language Association), the Barnard Hewitt Award in Theatre History, and the Joe E. Calloway Prize for Drama, his books include The Player's Passion: Studies in the Science of Acting, Cities of the Dead: Circum-Atlantic Performance and It. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Distinguished Scholar Award from the American Society for Theatre Research and a Distinguished Achievement Award from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (for the World Performance Project at Yale). An honorary Doctor of Letters (University of Warwick 2009) and the Fletcher Jones Distinguished Fellow (Huntington Library), Prof. Roach is a member of the Luminary Board of Advisors.

Lauren Shohet is Luckow Family Professor of English at Villanova University, specializes in early-modern drama and poetry, especially Shakespeare and Milton. The author of a book and numerous shorter studies on the history of material texts, genre theory, and women's poetry, her current work focuses on how Renaissance texts adapt and are adapted by texts of other times. Prof. Shohet received her Ph. D. and M. A. in English Literature from Brown University, her B. A. in English and Comparative Literature from Oberlin College, and her B. Mus. in harpsichord performance from the Oberlin College Conservatory. She has won fellowships and prizes from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Shakespeare Association of America, the Mellon Foundation, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Huntington Library, the Fulbright Foundation, the Freiburg Institute of Advanced Studies, the Bogliasco Foundation, and the German Academic Exchanges Service. Prof. Shohet directs the forthcoming Luminary edition of Othello.

Adam Smethurst trained at Mountview Theatre School. Stage highlights include: Barbarians, Much Ado About Nothing (Salisbury Playhouse), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Zurich Ballet), Toad of Toad Hall, The Winslow Boy, The Merchant of Venice (UK Tour), Twelfth Night, Hamlet, Divine Right (Birmingham Rep), The Alchemist (Royal National Theatre), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (New Vic, Stoke), The Playboy of The Western World (Haymarket, Leicester), and A Christmas Carol (Octagon, Bolton). Television credits include: Casualty, Miss Marple, Robin Hood, Silent Witness, Hustle, Lewis, Heartbeat, Eastenders, and The Bill. Adam completed his MA in Screenwriting at LCC University of Arts, London. Shortlisted for the BBC Writer's Academy, he was invited onto the Eastenders writing programme. He co-wrote Underbelly (Best Play at London New Play Festival 1998 & Critic's Choice, Time Out). His play The Very Nearly Love Life of My Friend Paul had runs in both Edinburgh and London in 2001-02.

Marc Teitler composes for musicals, opera, film and albums. His musical credits include: Stuck on a Sunday, with Jason Morell & Timothy Walker (Royal Opera House, soon an animated feature film supported by the British Film Institute); Sea Shanty (2012); Stadt und Mensch (2011); Twitter Opera, with Helen Porter (2009, nominated for the Guardian Innovation Award); Burn Me Dead, a musical based on The Master & Margarita, with Tim Phillips (National Theatre Studio, Hammersmith Lyric, 2012). Soundtracks include: Blood & Gifts (National Theatre); Beacon 77; The Secret Agent (Theatre O); Body Stories (Filter Theatre). Marc recently completed the experimental pop album Imekura with producer Bernd Wuertz featuring Japanese singer Ayu Okakita. His album Bitter Almond featured singer Lucy Johnson. His soundtrack for Thomas Struck's animation Hearts, recorded with The Berlin Film Orchestra, was nominated for the 2005 Berlin International Film Festival's VW Score Award.

Brian Walsh is Assistant Professor of English at Yale University. His research interests center on how Shakespeare and his contemporaries used dramatic performance to explore history: not merely the facts of history, or the uses to which it may be put, but the concept of history itself. His book Shakespeare, the Queen's Men, and the Elizabethan Performance of History (Cambridge UP) won the 2010 Samuel and Ronnie Heyman Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Publication. He also writes about prophecy and political subversion in Elizabethan popular theater, postmodern re-writings of Shakespeare, as well as "bardolatry" and Shakespeare commemoration. He is currently working on a book project on how theatrical performance inflected the understanding of religious beliefs, practices and identities in Elizabethan and Jacobean England. Prof. Walsh directs the Luminary edition of Henry V. Brian Walsh's commentary, "Story, Backstory, History" presents key questions about The Tempest, its historical and literary contexts and the vision of theater that it stages.