Shakespeare Workshops in Lancaster Castle

For Lancaster University students only 

BA Shakespeare Seminars and workshops at Lancaster Castle

Tuesday 21st January 2-3 and 3-4 p.m.‘Imprisonment and Liberty in Measure for Measure’

‘Be absolute for death’ (3.1.5) declares the Duke to Claudio, who is imprisoned and awaiting execution. Students explored the resonance of these lines in Lancaster Castle, a space where people were held and hung at the monarch’s pleasure in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and beyond. The workshop took place in one of the dungeons in the former prison, a setting haunted by the presence of those who previously occupied them. For pictures see

Tuesday 25th February 2-4 p.m  Shakespeare Workshop: Macbeth and Witchcraft

This workshop began by looking at Act 1 Scene 3 in the dungeon where the Lancashire witches were held in Lancaster Castle. It considered the idea of the witches apparently offering power and freedom of action to Macbeth, just as witchcraft apparently offered a sense of freedom to the women accused in 1612 and again in 1634.

Macbeth’s crimes of regicide and murder ultimately trap him to be ‘cabin’d, cribb’d confin’d, bound in / To saucy doubts and fears’ just as the historical men and women who were accused of witchcraft at the assizes in Lancaster Castle and held in the witches dungeon were trapped. The second part of the workshop, on the banquet scene Act 3 Scene 4 took place in ‘A Wing’ of the former prison.