My name is Clara Biesel, and I will be working as the Editor in Chief of The Shakespeare Standard. I wanted to give a little background on myself and why I am excited to work with this site.
Who are you, and what do you know about Shakespeare?
I was born and raised in Rochester, NY where I first got excited about Shakespeare as a twelve year old watching A Midsummer Night’s Dream. For undergrad, I studied music and English at Houghton College, a small liberal arts college in rural western NY. I acted with and directed the Houghton Shakespeare Players during my time there, and decided to focus on Shakespeare for my master’s work.
When I graduated from Houghton I headed down to Staunton, VA for Mary Baldwin’s Shakespeare program. I attended dozens and dozens of shows at the American Shakespeare Center. Eventually I worked for the ASC as a dramaturg, and with their theater camp for teenagers over the summers. Mary Baldwin has a vibrant community of scholars and performers, all of us up to our elbows in Shakespeare’s plays. It was such a pleasure to be in constant conversations about what the plays mean on paper and acted out, and how they continue to shape the words we use and the world in which we live.
After earning a Master of Letters and a Master of Fine Arts I worked as a bookseller for one year. In the following summer my newly married husband and I moved to Europe. We lived in the Netherlands for the last three years, one of which I spent regularly writing for The Shakespeare Standard. This summer we moved to Minneapolis where I have just begun a PhD in English Literature.
What have you done online with Shakespeare in the past?
Besides writing for The Shakespeare Standard, I wrote for several summers for the American Shakespeare Center Theater Camp’s blog. I also make a YouTube channel about books which includes Finger Puppet Shakespeare.
What are your hopes for The Shakespeare Standard?
I hope TSS can continue to be a place of opportunity for dialogue, for excitement, for new voices and ideas, and a place to keep up with the news as it relates to Shakespeare. It’s a pleasure and an honor to be on board.