Part dramatic criticism, part study-abroad memoir, My Year with Shakespeare tells the story of an American in England journeying through the canon of the world’s most famous playwright. In the last year of his undergraduate education, Justin B. Hopkins travels from Lancaster, Pennsylvania to Stratford-upon-Avon to chronicle the Royal Shakespeare Company’s historic Complete Works Festival. This is his account of the once-in-a-lifetime experience, attending productions by legendary RSC artists and other renowned international companies, from a South African Hamlet to Sir Ian McKellen as King Lear—over 100 performances, all described in vivid detail. Justin also journals about British culture, from housing to transportation to cuisine, and more. He recounts savoring fish and chips, riding buses and trains, and searching for an outlet near a mirror to plug in his electric razor. Throughout the remarkable adventure, the Bard’s immortal words are center stage:
“O, had I but followed the arts!”
Join Justin as he does just that.
Justin B. Hopkins was born in New Jersey but grew up in Senegal, West Africa. After high school, he moved back to the United States, where he graduated from Franklin and Marshall College with a B.A. in Theater and Literature. Following the Complete Works Festival, Justin earned an M.A. in International Performance Research from the Universities of Warwick in England and Tampere in Finland before returning Stateside to serve as the Assistant Director of the F&M Writing Center and pursue a Ph.D. in English Composition from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. His dissertation explores an unique form of research: autoethnography, a blending of personal reflection and cultural analysis. Justin loves teaching and has published scholarship in several disciplines, including many reviews for Shakespeare Bulletin and other periodicals. In his free time, he likes board games, leading reading groups, and playing fetch with his cat, Penny.