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The International Shakespeare Association Invites You to Verona for Its 12th World Shakespeare Congress

The 2026 World Shakespeare Congress will mark the International Shakespeare Association’s 50th anniversary. Let us celebrate together in fair Verona, Italy, where, from July 20th to 26th 2026, Shakespeareans will gather in this beautiful and historic city on the Adige River, a vital crossroads of ancient and early modern Europe, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the setting for The Two Gentlemen of Verona and Romeo and Juliet. The WSC will address questions related to the role of Shakespeare in connection with contemporary concerns about the destiny of our planet and human beings at a time when humanism has been deeply challenged. The Congress will foster discussion of the many ways in which Shakespeare may be conceived as ‘planetary’, reaching out to resonances with new cultural galaxies of enquiry, debate, and knowledge.

Planetary Shakespeares offers a way to tackle a whole range of issues beyond the present concern with Global Shakespeare and suggesting multifarious ways in which Shakespeare’s infinite variety and complexities can offer an entrance point to the humanities, enabling them to confront planetary crises and reconsider relations among nature, art and technology, as well as the need to reconfigure our sense of reality both socially and epistemologically. Now that we have moved into the digital, the virtual, the cyborg, and the posthuman ages, and the notion itself of reality has been challenged from different angles, including our experience of augmented reality, we have become aware of new turning points in history, and how they affect our perceptionof the contradictions embedded in our sense of the real. Theatre best captures such transformations and possible contradictions. “Planetary Shakespeares” offers convenient gateways into the most varied experiences of ‘the real’ via a plurality of interconnected issues.

We look forward to seeing you in Verona in the summer of 2026!

International Shakespeare Association (ISA)

th  Anniversary

The International Shakespeare Association is an umbrella organisation devoted to connecting Shakespeareans and Shakespeare national societies around the world. With its headquarters at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, a small committee of prominent Shakespeareans, including John Russell Brown, O. B. Harrison, George Hibbard, and Levi Fox helped shape the association’s original objectives, including advising on the initiation and planning of World Shakespeare Congresses. The original executive committee, like all committees since, was made up of representatives from around the world.

The ISA offers an opportunity for individuals and institutions to join together to further the knowledge of Shakespeare throughout the world. Its central commitments, outlined in its constitution, are to:

  • advance the education of the public by furthering the study of Shakespeare’s life and work by such means as the trustees determine;
  • organise, hold and promote participation in the World Shakespeare Congress and disseminate the learning from that event;
  • offer advice and assistance in the establishment of national or regional Shakespeare associations.


The first ISA World Shakespeare Congress took place in Washington in 1976 as part of the American bicentennial celebrations. Since the Washington meeting the ISA has continued to stage the World Congresses at five yearly intervals: ‘Shakespeare, Man of the Theatre’ (Stratford-upon-Avon, 1981); ‘Images of Shakespeare’ (Berlin, 1986); ‘Shakespeare and Cultural Traditions’ (Tokyo, 1991); ‘Shakespeare and the Twentieth Century’ (Los Angeles, 1996); ‘Shakespeare and the Mediterranean’ (Valencia, 2001); ‘Shakespeare’s World / World Shakespeares’ (Brisbane, 2006); ‘Renaissance Shakespeare: Shakespeare Renaissances’ (Prague, 2011); ‘Creating and Recreating Shakespeare’ (Stratford-upon-Avon / London, 2016); ‘Shakespeare Circuits’ (Singapore, 2021).

As befits a global academic organisation, the International Shakespeare Association is committed to principles of diversity and inclusion for all, as well as of academic freedom and freedom of expression. It believes that the world-wide exchange and engagement with the works of Shakespeare that the ISA promotes leads to greater understanding of and respect for different cultures and societies and the place of the individual within them.


ISA Chair


ISA Executive Secretary and Treasurer


ISA Assistant

Skenè Research Centre (University of Verona)

The Skenè Research Centre  was formally established as an Interdepartmental Centre (Departments of Foreign Languages and Literatures and Cultures and Civilizations of the University of Verona) in 2019 after an intense five-year research and cultural activities programme carried out by a group of researchers involved in the Skenè. Journal of Theatre and Drama Studies. Silvia Bigliazzi has been its Director since its foundation and today it counts more than 20 researchers from Verona University and about the same number from other Italian and foreign Universities.

Shakespeare constitutes a major focus of research and teaching, as well as public engagement. The Centre runs the Shakespeare and the Mediterranean Summer School and the Verona Shakespeare Fringe in collaboration with the Municipality of Verona and the Teatro Stabile del Veneto. It also effectuates outreaching activities together with the Municipality and collaborates with major international institutions within a broad European and extra-European network, including Universities and Festivals:

The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham; The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust; Cambridge University;  Guildford School of Acting, University of Surrey; Faculty of Dramatic Arts of the University of Belgrade; Westmont College, Santa Barbara CA; the European Shakespeare Festivals Network; Gdansk Shakespeare Festival; HamletScenen, Denmark; University of Lisbon, Portugal; University of Salzburg, Austria; INDA (Istituto Nazionale del Dramma Antico).


Skenè Local Committee

  • CHAIR: Silvia BIGLIAZZI (University of Verona, Italy)
  • CO-CHAIR: Emanuel STELZER (University of Verona, Italy)
  • Simona BRUNETTI (University of Verona, Italy)
  • Sidia FIORATO (University of Verona, Italy)
  • Vlado JELCIC (University of Verona, Italy)
  • Susan PAYNE (University of Florence, Italy)
  • Cristiano RAGNI (University of Verona, Italy)
  • Anmol Deep SINGH (University of Verona, Italy)
  • Roberta ZANONI (University of Verona, Italy)

Members of the Advisory Board:

  • Shaul BASSI (University of Venice Ca’ Foscari, Italy)
  • Fernando CIONI (University of Florence, Italy)
  • Eric NICHOLSON (NYU Florence, Italy)

Programme Committee

  • Bi-qi Beatrice LEI (Shakespeare Association of America) – chair
  • Tom BISHOP (University of Auckland, New Zealand)
  • Chris THURMAN (University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa)
  • Nathalie VIENNE-GUERRIN (Paul Valéry University Montpellier 3, France)

Congress Committee

  • Peter HOLLAND (University of Notre Dame, USA) – chair
  • Ton HOENSELAARS (Utrecht University, Netherlands)
  • Lena Cowen ORLIN (Georgetown University, USA)