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The Rules of Kissing & Staging Kisses

This event is in the past. This is an archive page for reference.

This spring, Globe Education invites academics and practitioners to provide a range of perspectives on Romeo and Juliet. Each talk lasts approximately 45 minutes with a short interval.

What were the rules of kissing in Shakespeare's time? Did people kiss more freely as a form of greeting than we do today? What were the rules about kisses between lovers, family members, or between friends of the same or opposite sex? In an era of poor dental hygiene, were kisses even considered sexy? Using a range of evidence from eyewitness accounts and contemporary commentaries, including early modern literature, historian Helen Berry explores some of the pleasures and pitfalls of puckering up in Elizabethan England.

According to the anti-theatricalist writer John Rainolds, 'beautiful boys by kissing do sting and pour secretly in a kind of poison of incontinency'. What was the impact of a kiss on the all-male stage? How was kissing staged in the early modern playhouse? What effects did early modern commentators think that kissing might have on spectators? Dr Lucy Munro will explore the theatrical valences of kissing in plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, and the debates that the staging of kisses aroused.

  • 7pm
  • £10 (conc £8) inc glass of wine

Nancy W Knowles Lecture Theatre

Shakespeare's Globe
New Globe Walk, London, SE1 9DT
infowhat's on @map

Box office: 020 7401 9919

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This event is in the past. This is an archive page for reference.
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