Skip to main content
Media centre

Life-long love affair with Shakespeare takes University expert around the world

08 August 2019


Ronan Paterson was just 10-years-old when he was introduced to Shakespeare through the pages of a comic book.

Ronan Paterson.
Ronan Paterson.

That initial encounter sparked a love affair with The Bard which has since seen Ronan travel around the world as a leading expert on the work of Shakespeare – visiting over 35 countries and conducting numerous interviews, presentations and training sessions. He was also behind a major event three years ago in Denmark, which marked 400 years since Shakespeare’s death and was held at the famous Kronborg Castle - immortalised as Elsinore in Hamlet.

Now Ronan, a Principal Lecturer in Teesside University’s School of Computing & Digital Technologies, is staging a three day Shakespeare event at the University which will see leading experts from across the globe converge on Teesside next month to share knowledge, insight and expertise about the world’s greatest playwright.

Picturing Shakespeare takes place from 4 to 6 September and will see leading experts from Japan, America and Norway take part in a range of talks, workshops, exhibitions and screenings. There will also be an opportunity for local schoolchildren to get involved and learn more about Shakespeare from those who know his work best.

Ronan said: 'Shakespeare has been an important part of my life ever since I can remember and it has provided me with some fantastic opportunities that have taken me all over the world.

'One of the highlights of my career was helping to organise the event at Elsinore which marked 400 years since Shakespeare’s death. I thought then that it would be fantastic to hold a similar event at Teesside University and I am delighted to see that is now happening.

'We have some amazing people visiting the area and for three days Teesside University will be the central hub for some of the world’s leading Shakespeare experts to celebrate his work and how it has influenced culture and society.'

Picturing Shakespeare is unique as it will concentrate on exploring the visual influences of Shakespeare’s work. Although Shakespeare is frequently thought of primarily in relation to text, it is often the visual imagery associated with him which is most memorable.

We have some amazing people visiting the area and for three days Teesside University will be the central hub for some of the world’s leading Shakespeare experts.

Ronan Paterson

The conference will examine a whole array of visual influences of Shakespeare’s work, such as paintings, illustrations, comics, manga, film, television, interactive media, photography, puppets and design. There will also be film screenings, workshops and a toy theatre performance of A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream. Planned exhibitions include Picturing Shakespeare, a comparison of European and Japanese visualisations of Shakespeare, supported by the Daiwa Foundation, and the Shakespeare of Things, a celebration of Shakespeare and his characters in design.

World renowned speakers due to attend over the three day event include Harumo Sanazaki, one of the most prolific Japanese manga artists with more than 300 manga books published; Richard Burt, Legacy Professor of English and Film and Media Studies at the University of Florida; Michael Dobson, Director of The Shakespeare Institute and Ryuta Minami, from Tokyo University who has published extensively on Shakespeare in Japan.

Ronan Paterson has worked as an actor, director and producer for theatre, film and television companies. His expertise, specifically relating to Shakespeare and film, has taken him to conferences in India, Japan, South Africa, Denmark and Sweden.

'I was just ten-years-old when I first met Macbeth through the pages of a Shakespeare comic,' explained Ronan.

'Since then I have continued to be fascinated, not only by his work, but the influence it has had. 'I am really excited to bring experts from all over the world to Teesside University and it will really put us on the map as a leading institution for studying and debating the many works and influences of Shakespeare.'