Louisburg College Represented at the
Shakespeare Authorship Conference

Wally Hurst

The annual Shakespeare Authorship Conference draws international scholars and academics of all stripes to its annual conference, which supports the research and presentation of work highlighting both the genius of Shakespeare and the sometimes- tempestuous debate over the authorship of those works.

One of the leading scholars in this field directs the Norris Theatre and teaches here at Louisburg College. Wally Hurst attended the conference and presented a paper on Sabbioneta, Italy and his research on whether it could have been the setting for Shakespeare's classic comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream. Hurst focused on the town, known as "Little Athens" and "Athens on the Po", and especially on the two geographical landmarks mentioned in the play that are also present in Sabbioneta, namely the Duke's Oak (the local name for the main gate into the city), and The Temple (the church adjacent to the Duke's Palace). These and other clues compel the logical conclusion that the author of the play - whoever he or she was - visited this small, purpose-built city on the banks of the famous Po River in northern Italy.

Hurst holds an M.A. in Shakespeare Authorship Studies from Brunel University in London, one of three Americans to possess this advanced degree . His presentation will be available online soon as well.

While at the conference, Hurst was also elected by the members to a seat on the board of directors of the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship, the sponsors of the conference and the leading authority on the authorship question in the United States. Hurst will serve a term of three years with his election to the board. Next year's conference will be held in Ashland, Oregon, home of the renowned Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the oldest and most prestigious Shakespeare Festival in America.

Hurst recommends that anyone interested in the authorship question can get more information from him, or by visiting the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship website, at www.shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org and, if so motivated, sign the petition entitled The Declaration of Reasonable Doubt at https://doubtaboutwill.org/ run by the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition, an international group that is calling for the treatment of the authorship question as a viable subject for academic research and discussion.