Dr Darren Freebury-Jones
Meet Dr Darren Freebury-Jones, our Lecturer in Shakespeare Studies (Domestic and International)
What is your job title?
Lecturer in Shakespeare Studies (Domestic and International)
What kind of things does your job typically entail?
Lots of teaching both in person and online in a wide range of Shakespeare-related subjects; developing relationships with schools, universities, and organisations in key international target areas, principally the USA and Europe; working on digital projects and content creation.
Why do you think learning about Shakespeare and his work is important to us today?
Shakespeare often articulates both sides of a question, meaning that his works are interpretatively flexible and can be adapted in various ways to speak to audiences today. That’s why Shakespeare continues to be performed, studied, and read today I feel, because his works can speak to different social and cultural milieus.
What is your favourite Shakespeare related experience- at SBT or elsewhere?
I have a fond memory of lecturing to young children on Shakespeare’s life and times and then immediately walking into another lecture theatre and delivering a talk to a Shakespeare Society consisting of leisure learners and academics. I love that aspect of my job in particular: engaging with as broad an audience as possible and going up and down pedagogical gears.
What are the challenges, do you think, in bringing Shakespeare to life for contemporary audiences?
Many of our visiting groups tell me that the main barrier for bringing Shakespeare to life for them is unlocking his language, and I love taking a variety of approaches to help spur those lightbulb moments so that audiences can broaden their understanding and enjoyment of Shakespeare’s rich, imagistic, but also deeply practical way with words.
Finally- what is your favourite joke? Doesn’t have to be Shakespearean…
As a dad I conform to the stereotype of telling bad jokes, so anything involving people walking into a bar really, particularly this one, which reminds me of A Midsummer Night’s Dream:
Two men walk into a bar. The first man says to the barman, ‘I’ll have a pint for myself and one for my friend, Donkey.’
The barman asks the second man: ‘Why does he call you Donkey?’
The man replies: ‘I’ve no idea... Eeyore, Eeyore, ee always calls me that!’