Claridge, Michael

Michael Claridge’s childhood centred around foreign languages and the Royal Shakespeare Company… which laid the foundations for the rest of his life! He started directing foreign-language (German) theatre while at university (St.Andrews, Scotland), switching to directing plays in English on arriving to teach in Germany in 1980 and establishing student-theatre troupes at three universities. He has directed 49 full-scale productions, many of them plays either by Shakespeare and his contemporaries or modern plays relating to Shakespeare.

Following many years as an EFL teacher at the universities of Bochum, Erlangen-Nürnberg, Bamberg, Chemnitz-Zwickau and Bremen, Michael finally arrived at the JGU in October 2019, where his major focus is on the performance of 16th- and 17th-century drama and stagecraft, especially

  • how the period, the culture, the time in history and (kinds of) people in the audience contributed to the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries,
  • how the theatre buildings and the theatrical conventions of that time are reflected in the plays,
  • how an interactive approach to the plays and their performance enables us to identify so many cues and clues regarding their staging and character development,
  • how it is only through actively engaging with the script that we can fully appreciate and perform it…
  • …and how Shakespeare is NOT as difficult as many people claim, as long as you are willing to take the risk of opening yourself up to the script – ‘No ShakesFear’, please!!!

In addition, Michael leads an annual one-week summer-school excursion to “Shakespeare’s London & Shakespeare’s Globe”, walking through Shakespeare’s London and enjoying performances, workshops and tours at Shakespeare’s Globe and the Rose theatre. In 2016, he won Bremen University’s annual Berninghausen Prize for excellent teaching for his theatre workshops.

Michael is a qualified secondary-school modern-languages teacher, experience that underpins his classroom work. His practical-language classes focus on translation (reflecting seven years as a professional translator), academic writing, and the teaching of grammar based on the systemic functional linguistics approach. The latter reflects the input of his wife, Claudia, Professor of English Linguistics at Augsburg University.