How Manchester Made Shakespeare Modern
Manchester Central Library
8th November 2023
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How Manchester Made Shakespeare Modern – Rosa Grindon, the Suffragist Shakespearean Scholar. With Dr. Monika Smialkowska and Dr. Ian Nickson.
Never previously recounted, Dr Monika Smialkowska and Dr Ian Nickson chart Rosa Grindon’s journey from modest beginnings in a Derbyshire village to becoming a leading figure in literary and theatrical circles in Manchester, a ground-breaking Shakespearean scholar and, as a Suffragist, an outspoken champion of women’s rights. For example, her response to women being forbidden membership of many of the city’s societies was to resurrect Lydia Becker’s Manchester Ladies Literary Society to which she invited the leading Shakespearean actors Henry Irving and Ellen Terry to speak.
Grindon was a bold and innovative scholar who challenged the largely male-dominated interpretations of female figures in Shakespeare’s plays and pioneered theatrical outreach by delivering lectures in association with Richard Flanagan’s Shakespearean revivals at the Prince’s Theatre. Such was her standing that she was the first woman to be invited to speak at the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford-in-Avon.
After the First World War, she led the preparations for Manchester’s Shakespeare Tercentenary Celebrations in 1916 and funded the Shakespeare Window in the Central Library via a bequest in her Will.