Message from the SOF president to everyone who attended, followed, helped organize, or presented at the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship’s 2016 Conference in Boston, November 3rd through 6th:
I wish to thank you for your support of the SOF. We had an amazing conference, with about 100 people in attendance and over 20 speakers presenting papers on a vast array of topics related to the Shakespeare authorship question. There were many new faces there. When I opened the conference, I asked how many people were attending for the first time, and about a third raised their hands.
Shelly Maycock’s critique of the Folger Library’s First Folio tour, Pricilla Costello’s talk on Shakespeare’s spiritual philosophy, Julie Bianchi’s analysis of references to card-playing in the First Folio’s prefatory material, and Tom Townsend’s presentation on the law of equity in Shakespeare got us off to a great start on Thursday. First-time presenters at our conference included Christopher Carolan, Anne Elezabeth Pluto, Bob Meyers, and Bill Camarinos, all of whom are welcome back anytime.
Longtime stalwarts such as Bonner Cutting, John Hamill, Heward Wilkinson, Ramon Jiménez, Ron Hess, and Earl Showerman continued to display the depth and breadth of their research. Professor Roger Stritmatter, our keynote speaker, gave two presentations, as did Peter Dickson. There isn’t room here to give every speaker the credit that he or she deserves, but our Fall issue of the Shakespeare Oxford Newsletter will be packed with more detail on the conference presentations. Many of the talks will appear on the SOF YouTube channel in the near future.
Conference attendees were able to see two theatrical productions: the Actors’ Shakespeare Project production of Hamlet at the historic Church of the Covenant on Newbury Street in Boston and a staged reading of Lynne and Michael Kositsky’s delightful new musical, A Question of Will, based on Lynne’s book of the same name. Thanks to Lynne and Michael for casting me as Edward de Vere (complete with a beautiful solo ballad), and kudos to everyone who participated in the performance, including lead actress Maria Hurst, Wally Hurst (Shaksper) and director Sky Gilbert. And as a bonus, Anne Elezabeth Pluto brought us a performance by the Oxford Street Players of Lesley University.
The conference also featured Alex McNeil’s “Oxfordian Jeopardy” and the unmasking of “Mr. W.H.” from our “How I Became an Oxfordian” series. SOF Research Grant awardees Michael Delahoyde and Coleen Moriarty reported to us through a live video connection on their adventures digging through archives in northern Italy for clues about Oxford’s activities there in the mid-1570s.
Thanks to Richard Joyrich, our conference committee chair, who oversaw the conference planning and attended to every little detail. The entire committee deserves praise: Bonner Cutting, John Hamill, Earl Showerman, Don Rubin, Wally Hurst, Alex McNeil, and Cheryl Eagan-Donovan.
I appreciate everyone who helped out with our social media campaign by posting on the SOF’s Facebook and Twitter pages during the conference: Shelly Maycock, Theresa Lauricella, Sonja Foxe, Cheryl Eagan-Donovan, and Eddy Nix.
The SOF conference in 2017 will be in Chicago – exact dates and location to be announced. We hope you can join us there!
If you haven’t joined the SOF or renewed your membership for 2017, please join us by visiting our membership page.
–Tom Regnier, President
Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship