Shakespeare expert Ellen MacKay to appear on ‘The Wonder of Will Live’ program on CSPAN-2

Ellen MacKay

Associate Professor Ellen MacKay will participate in ‘The Wonder of Will Live’ program, which will be telecast on CSPAN-2 Book TV April 23. Photo by Eric Rudd, Indiana University

Ellen MacKay, an associate professor in Indiana University’s Department of English, has spent much of her professional life celebrating William Shakespeare.

Now, MacKay will help the Folger Shakespeare Library bring that celebration to the public in a televised and live-streamed event Saturday, April 23 that marks 400 years since Shakespeare’s death. Scholars believe his birthday fell on the same date, based on a 1564 christening record found in the Stratford parish register.

Actors, writers, scholars and other dignitaries will come together at the library in Washington to share performances and personal stories about their connections to Shakespeare in “The Wonder of Will Live,” which begins at noon Saturday on on C-SPAN2 Book TV.

“‘The Wonder of Will’ is an opportunity to celebrate Shakespeare’s remarkable legacy via personal reflections that demonstrate the range and depth of his influence,” MacKay said.

First Folio

This Martin Droeshout engraving of William Shakespeare is from the First Folio, printed in 1623. Image courtesy of the Folger Shakespeare Library.

MacKay will be in good company at the event.

Participants include Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, National Endowment for the Humanities Chairman William D. Adams and Jane Chu, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts and an Indiana University alumna.

“The Wonder of Will Live” also will feature the Reduced Shakespeare Company, a cultured comedy team, and Kal Penn, an actor and producer known for his roles in the TV hits “House” and “How I Met Your Mother.”

Following the program on C-SPAN2 Book TV, MacKay will join Michael Witmore, director of the Folger Shakespeare Library, in a national call-in show hosted by Peter Slen.

MacKay believes she was invited to participate in “The Wonder of Will” as an extension of her work as head scholar for the Folger Teaching Shakespeare Institute.  Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Teaching Shakespeare will convene again in the summer.

“It’s a great pleasure to collaborate with the Folger in bringing Shakespeare research to teachers from around the country, and see how his legacy is being renewed and revitalized in American classrooms,” MacKay said.

“The Folger has done an incredible job of making its collections and resources available to the public, and of creating mutually rewarding exchanges between scholars, teachers, performers and students of Shakespeare. ‘The Wonder of Will Live’ will be a vibrant example of the Folger’s leadership in making Shakespeare the means by which literature, history, and culture can be considered, critiqued and celebrated by the widest community possible,” she said.

MacKay is the author of the book “Persecution, Plague and Fire: Fugitive Histories of the Stage in Early Modern England.” Before joining the faculty at Indiana University, she studied both theater and English. As a Shakespearean scholar, she has distinguished herself through many published articles and her involvement on the Luminary Shakespeare multimedia editions of “The Tempest” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” for the iPad.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,