Full Circle: Shakespearean Culture at Notre Dame
The History Museum is proud to collaborate with Shakespeare at Notre Dame on Full Circle: Shakespearean Culture at Notre Dame, exploring the past, present, and future of Shakespearean performance, analysis, and culture at the University of Notre Dame. Through costumes, photographs, props, and interactives, the exhibit chronicles the influence of Shakespeare throughout the University’s history, the wide range of Shakespeare productions, and the program’s impact on the Michiana region. It is on view at The History Museum through January 2, 2022.
In 1847, scenes from a Shakespeare play (Henry IV, Part One) were part of the University of Notre Dame graduation exercises for the first time. Performances from other Shakespeare plays were repeated sporadically in later commencements until in 1884, the inclusion of scenes became so standard that it was referred to as “the annual Shakespeare entertainment.” And thus, began a rich history of Shakespeare at Notre Dame. The program has grown from those first semi-regular occurrences to the cultural bedrock it is today, inspiring the exhibit Full Circle: Shakespearean Culture at Notre Dame.
The visuals of Full Circle: Shakespearean Culture at Notre Dame are captivating. It’s hard to know where to look first when entering the exhibit. In one area, three vibrant costumes and a ship’s wheel—all from the 2016 production of The Tempest—are shown on a teal-and-copper shimmering fabric that evokes thoughts of the sea. A nearby section reveals a case that suspends eight swords used to teach combat classes for productions of Richard III, Henry IV, and Henry V. Still another area features football helmets from Love’s Labor’s Lost and a rocket pack from a recent production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Also on view in the exhibit are costumes, props, set designs, photographs, and playbills from Macbeth, Julius Caesar, The Taming of the Shrew, Twelfth Night, The Merchant of Venice, Love’s Labor’s Lost, and Othello, just some of the Shakespearean productions that have been seen at the University of Notre Dame over the years.