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Town Hall Seattle: Arts & Culture Series

Town Hall’s Arts & Culture series elevates the voices of local artists while bringing world-renowned cultural icons to Seattle audiences. The series celebrates music, photography, sculpture, philosophy, heritage, and traditions around the world that enrich our lives.

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Love Town Hall? Become an insider! In The Moment with Jini Palmer offers a slice of Town Hall culture and puts you in the room for exclusive behind-the-scenes conversations. Listen in as a rotating cast of prominent local voices, along with Chief Correspondent Steve Scher, get to know upcoming speakers before they visit our stages. Get an insider perspective you won’t find anywhere else—a bi-weekly snapshot of all things Town Hall.


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Apr 24, 2021

Was Shakespeare a timeless prophet, a verbal innovator, a technical genius, a man who encapsulated the human condition as no one else has? Well, sort of. But Shakespeare expert Emma Smith argued that much of what we are taught about Shakespeare is not important. She contended that the inconsistencies and uncertainties in his plays are not a problem, but rather the thing that makes them so enduringly relevant.

Smith joined us to share from her electrifying new study of the Bard’s work, contained in her book This Is Shakespeare. She brought us into the world Shakespeare inhabited as he emulated his blockbuster rivals and flirted with dangerous issues of succession politics, religious upheaval, and technological change. Time and again, he posed awkward questions rather than offering simple answers, involving the audience in working out their significance. Smith pulled Shakespeare off the high pedestal he’s been placed on and into the messy scuffle for meaning in this unique and illuminating presentation.

Emma Smith is professor of Shakespeare Studies at Oxford University. She has published widely on Shakespeare and other early dramatists. She lives in Oxford, England.

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Presented by Town Hall Seattle and Seattle Shakespeare