Programs & Exhibitions

Conferences & Symposia

Theatricality and Anti-Theatricality in the Eighteenth Century

February 16-18, 2001

A Conference Sponsored by the Lewis Walpole Library, the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and the Yale Center for British Art

As part of a series of activities celebrating the tercentennial of Yale University (1701-2001), the Yale Center for British Art, the Lewis Walpole Library, and Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library—in cooperation with the Department of English, the Program in Theater Studies, and the School of Drama--are hosting an international conference on aspects of theater and "the anti-theatrical prejudice" in the eighteenth century. Fourteen scholars will share their perspectives on a wide-ranging paradox of eighteenth-century life (one that was locally manifest in the early history of Yale College): amid religious and moral attacks on the stage, and despite denunciations and persecutions, performances of all kinds not only endured but actually flourished.

The conference will begin on Friday afternoon, February 16, with the eighth annual Lewis Walpole Library Lecture, entitled "Et in Arcadia ego: The Eighteenth Century of the 1920s," by Professor Terry Castle, Walter A. Haas Professor in the Humanities at Stanford University. It will conclude on Sunday, February 18, with a concert of eighteenth-century theater music performed by Margaret van Dijk and other distinguished artists. It will also feature a special performance of William Congreve's The Way of the World (1700) by the Yale Repertory Theatre and a brief staging of selected scenes from other Restoration plays—in fact, the very ones denounced most vociferously by Jeremy Collier in A Short View of the Immorality and Profaneness of the English Stage (1698).

Two thematically related exhibitions will be on view during the conference: The Spectacle of Painting: Theater and the Painted Image in Eighteenth-Century English Art, curated by Julia Marciari Alexander, Assistant Curator of Paintings and Sculpture, at the Yale Center for British Art, and Theater and Anti-Theater in the Eighteenth Century at Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, curated by Vincent Giroud, Curator of Modern Books and Manuscripts at the Library, in consultation with Joseph R. Roach, Charles C. & Dorathea S. Dilley Professor of Theater at Yale.

This is the first time the combined resources of so many Yale departments have come together to provide a major intellectual, academic, and artistic event marking Yale's longstanding commitment to the study of 18th-century British art and literature.

The symposium was free and open to the public.


February 16, Friday
4:00 p.m. Lecture Hall, Yale University Art Gallery

February 17, Saturday
9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Lecture Hall, Yale Center for British Art

Conference Plenary Sessions:

Policing the Repertoire

Staging the Actress

Sexual Spectacles

8:00 p.m. University Theatre

February 18, Sunday
10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Lecture Hall, Yale Center for British Art

Conference Plenary Session:

Global Stages

2:30 p.m. Lecture Hall, Yale Center for British Art

Exhibits on View for the Conference: