Shakespeare, Blackface, and Performance: A Global Exploration

A special issue of Multicultural Shakespeare: Translation, Appropriation and Performance.

Shakespearean performances have employed racial prosthetics since the Elizabethan period, but the intervening 400 years since Shakespeare’s lifetime have seen the symbolic, social, and performance meanings of blackface change. This special issue invites scholars and practitioners to analyze specific uses of blackface in both the local and global contexts. We are particularly interested in essays that explore specific political, social, and cultural issues regarding institutional racism, current blackface traditions in society outside of the theatre, and the triangle of xenophobia, migration, and populism. To what extent are Shakespearean performances taking part in or criticizing these trends? We are interested in representing a wide range of examples, and invite essays from authors analyzing performances in Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, and the Americas.

Guest editors

Coen Heijes

Ayanna Thompson


Submissions (circa 6,000 words) are due by 1 March 2020. Fully anonymized submissions should be sent to Coen Heijes (c.p.a.heijes@ All contributions will be peer- reviewed by the guest editors and by independent readers prior to acceptance.

Deadline to submit

March 1, 2020


Autumn, 2020

Download the full call for papers

 CFP Multicultural Shakespeare.pdf