In the course of exploring the theatrical cultures of South and East Asia, eminent Shakespeareanist John Russell Brown developed some remarkable theories about the nature of performance, the state of Western 'Theatre' today, and the future potential of Shakespeare's plays.
In New Sites for Shakespeare he outlines his passionate belief in the power of theatre to reach mass audiences, based on his experiences of popular Asian performances. It is a personal polemic, but it is also a carefully argued and brilliantly persuasive study of the kind of theatrical experience Shakespeare's own contemporaries enjoyed.
This is a book which cannot be ignored by anyone who cares about the live performing arts today. Separate chapters consider staging, acting, improvisation, ceremonies and ritual, and an analysis of the experience of the audience is paramount throughout.
'John Russell Brown's new book is a must. Neatly written and jargon-free, Russell Brown's polemic is one of the best books about Shakespeare because it dares to ask a basic question: what's the point of drama? Even if you don't agree with his opinions about the reconstructed Globe Theatre, or think his views on today's touring companies are a bit outdated, his passion, energy and longing for excitement command attention. But beware: this book may encourage you to abandon your yearly outing to the theatre, and go abroad instead.' - The Independent
'a very personal voyage of discovery…fresh and uncluttered' - TLS, Nov 1999
'John Russell Brown has expanded the range and scope of Shakespeare studies, reinventing Shakespeare for himself.' - Louis Scheeder, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, USA
'An innovative, masterful and abundantly interesting volume, one which will certainly be in the vanguard of new Shakespeare directions.' - Mark Thornton Burnett, The Queen's University of Belfast