The Shakespeare Center
at the Institute
Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s miniature portrait of William Shakespeare,
watercolor and gouache, circa 1865. Based on the Droeshout Portrait.
In 2020-2021, The Shakespeare Center at the Institute presented a series of lectures by
Professor Arlene Okerlund, Ph.D.
who discussed William Shakespeare’s contributions to our understanding of the human experience. The lectures were broadcast live, one per month, and the video recordings were packaged as DVD sets and distributed to the English departments in the high schools of the Santa Clara Valley.
As a result of the series, the Institute Shakespeare Center contributed to a permanent endowment, the Arlene Naylor Okerlund Professorship for Shakespeare Studies, which supports the teaching and scholarly study of Shakespeare at San José State University. When fully endowed, the fund will pay the salary of a resident professor who will teach both the textual and performance aspects of Shakespeare’s drama.
Two of Dr. Okerlund’s initial twelve lectures focused on the biography and artistic techniques of Shakespeare (Who Was Shakespeare? and What’s So Great About Shakespeare?) and ten lectures focused on specific plays (Macbeth, The Merchant of Venice, Othello, Julius Caesar, Romeo and Juliet, King Lear, Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and The Tempest).
Though our project to bring the twelve planned recordings to the high school English departments is now completed, Dr. Okerlund continues to lecture at the Institute on Shakespeare and related topics, and we will announce those lectures on this page as they are scheduled.
Upcoming Lectures by Dr. Okerlund:
JUN 10 Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night”
Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night (or “what you will”) is all about love. Everyone, except Feste the Fool, is in love (which may say something about the wisdom of Fools). Marriages result from emotions that are palpably irrational, silly, transactional, self-focused—and overpowering. Malvolio’s puritanical presence hardly provides an alternative to these innate passions.
TICKETS: $35 each
The live event from the classroom is also simulcast via
high-quality video stream with interactive Q&A.
YOU MAY CHOOSE THE VIDEO STREAM OR IN-CLASSROOM ATTENDANCE.
FOR THE VIDEO STREAM, ONLY ONE ENROLLMENT PER HOUSEHOLD IS NECESSARY.
CLASSROOM SEATS ARE $35 PER PERSON.
(PLEASE NOTE THAT CLASSROOM SEATING IS LIMITED.)
click on the DATE above or call
408-864-4060, Monday – Friday, 10 AM – 4PM
or register online at store.westernciv.com
Arlene Okerlund, Ph.D., Professor Emerita of English at San José State University, specializes in Shakespeare and in Medieval/Renaissance studies. She twice taught in SJSU’s Semester-Abroad-in England where she loved studying Shakespeare and English history on site. During retirement, she has published biographies of England’s first Yorkist queen, Elizabeth Wydeville, in Elizabeth: England’s Slandered Queen, and the first Tudor queen (mother of Henry VIII), in Elizabeth of York.