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date: 21 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers productions of Shakespeare’s plays put on in captivity, especially during the First and Second World Wars. It studies the phenomenon of productions of the plays performed at prisons by visiting companies or by the prisoners ‘behind bars’ themselves. It analyses and contextualizes productions of Shakespeare’s plays staged ‘behind barbed wire’ in POW camps and civilian camps, prison camps and transit camps, labour camps and refugee camps during the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. In so doing, it seeks to use such Shakespearean investment as key to reconstructing the individual experiences of the prisoners. Just as the worldwide practice of Shakespeare staged behind bars has begun to assume a unique position in movies and docudramas, the performance of Shakespeare behind barbed wire has also developed to become a fertile motif in post-war Shakespeare productions and in new post-conflict plays written by dramatists in the ‘free’ world.

Keywords: Key terms, Shakespeare behind bars, Shakespeare behind barbed wire, First and Second World Wars, POW camps, labour camps, refugee camps, prison camps, post-war Shakespeare, movies, docudramas

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