Shakespeare Lecture Series

Since 2021, the Batson Shakespeare Society has hosted fall and spring lectures, focusing on the intersection of Christianity and Shakespeare's writings, often accompanied by performance elements. The Shakespeare lectures are open to the public, and all Shakespeare enthusiasts are welcome to attend. Contact the Shakespeare Society at or join our mailing list for announcements about upcoming lectures. 

See the list below for more details about past lectures and recordings of the events. 

Transcending Justice, Transcending Human Control: Overarching Providence in Shakespeare's Comedies and Romances.

A Lecture by Dr. David Urban, Calvin University

Thursday, March 21, 2024 | 7:00 PM | Bakke Auditorium, Wade Center

David UrbanThis presentation discusses how in Much Ado About Nothing, Measure for Measure, The Winter’s Tale, and The Tempest, providential events that work over and above those plays’ (mostly) benevolent manipulators serve to help bring about these plays’ comic endings in ways that transcend human control.  These providential events also offer grace and mercy toward the plays’ various transgressors who, demonstrating repentance, are freed from the justice their transgressions merit and granted hopeful futures.  By contrast, in the tragedies Romeo and Juliet, Othello, and King Lear, acts of misfortune help aid the malevolent machinations of characters that manipulate others for their own wicked ends. 

Nonetheless, these incidents of bad fortune are not sufficient to bring about tragedy, but rather act in conjunction with the stubborn and violent decisions of the tragedy’s protagonists, whose poor choices coincide with unfortunate developments to bring about tragedy for the protagonists and those whom they love. This presentation suggests that the workings of Providence in these comedies and romances are in keeping with the Christian grounding evident throughout Shakespeare’s dramas, concluding that tragedy is normative in a fallen world, whereas the happy endings depicted in these comedies and romances require providential intervention.

Shakespeare Goes to School: Charlotte M. Yonge's Edition of Henry IV, Part I 

A Lecture by Dr. Timothy Larsen, Wheaton College and performance by Prof. Mark Lewis, Wheaton College

Thursday, October 19, 2024 | 7:00 PM | Bakke Auditorium, Wade Center

300x309 Tim LarsenThe bestselling Victorian novelist, Charlotte Mary Yonge, edited, introduced, and annotated an edition of Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part I for Church of England schools.  Building upon Molly G. Yarn’s pioneering Shakespeare’s ‘Lady Editors’ (2022), this lecture will offer the first sustained exploration of Yonge’s editorial choices.  The complacent dismissiveness of bowdlerized editions will be questioned and challenged.  Yonge’s introduction and notes were focused on pointing out where Shakespeare’s play departed from historical accuracy. The scene summaries are lucid, and some wonderfully arcane knowledge is included in the notes. Charlotte Yonge’s own precocious and productive life becomes the backdrop and context for celebrating children and adults who love Shakespeare, Falstaff, and Henry IV, Part I

Shakespeare in (and on) the Margins: The Lesser Told Story of C.S. Lewis’ Readerly and Writerly Engagement(s) with Shakespeare

A Lecture by Dr. Sarah Waters

Tuesday, April 4, 2023 | 7:00 PM | Bakke Auditorium, Wade Center

“...the theory is very shaky and seems to be based less on evidence than on a predetermination to acquit Shakespeare of the worst passages.” (C.S. Lewis, c. 1930-31)

62x118 Dr. Sarah WatersAlthough better known as an apologist, children’s writer, or medievalist, C.S. Lewis also engaged deeply with the works of William Shakespeare. In this talk, Dr. Waters will examine the different and varied ways Lewis explored Shakespeare (and his critics), and his reliance on Shakespeare as a frame of reference pointing not only to the immediate stories, characters, and themes, or even to his own extensive Renaissance learning, but using Shakespeare also to point towards The Story.

Dr. Sarah Waters is a Lecturer in English Literature and Honorary Junior Research Fellow at the University of Buckingham. In 2019, Dr. Waters was the first recipient of the William George Shuster Research Grant for Young Scholars at the Marion E. Wade Center.

Lecture sponsored by the Batson Shakespeare Society and the Marion E. Wade Center

’For our struggle is not against flesh and blood’: Spiritual Battle in Macbeth

A Lecture by Dr. Susan Dunn-Hensley, Wheaton College and performance directed by Prof. Mark Lewis, Wheaton College

Monday, October 24, 2022 | 7:00 PM | Bakke Auditorium, Wade Center

Square_Susan Dunn-HensleyDr. Dunn-Hensley, Associate Lecturer in English, will explore the spiritual dimensions of the play, arguing that Macbeth, rather than depicting a nihilistic vision of the world, which often appears in adaptations, productions, and scholarly analyses, instead presents a spiritual battle with a fully developed sense of God, good, and evil. The lecture features a live performance from Shakespeare's Macbeth by Jeff Cribbs and Jenn Miller-Cribbs, directed by Mark Lewis.

Resurrection in the Winter's Tale

A Lecture by Dr. Thomas Martin, Wheaton College and performance directed by Prof. Mark Lewis, Wheaton College

Tuesday, March 15, 2022 | 7:00 PM | Bakke Auditorium, Wade Center

Tom Martin_Small PicFor the inaugural E. Beatrice Batson Shakespeare Society Lecture, Dr. Thomas Martin delves into one of Shakespeare's most profound metadramatic moments: the resurrection of Hermione at the conclusion of The Winter's Tale. In contrast to contemporary cultural and post-human interpretations of Shakespeare, Martin examines the spectacle of Hermione's revival as a moment imbued with joy and wonder, providing a glimpse of greater realities to come.

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