Great Gifts / Spring 2005
Life Before Shakespeare

Records of Early English Drama marks milestone at U of T


An international research project investigating early English theatre marks its 30th anniversary at U of T this year – a milestone it reached thanks largely to the financial support of Father Edward Jackman (BA Victoria 1962), a Dominican priest.

Jackman, who takes a keen personal interest in history and medieval studies, has helped keep the Records of Early English Drama (REED) project going since 1989 with annual grants from his family’s Jackman Foundation. The organization supports a wide range of Canadian charities and scholarly projects. “Without Father Jackman’s help, REED simply would not exist,” says Alexandra Johnston, founder and director of the project.

REED is a collaborative work by scholars from Canada, the U.S., Australia, South Africa and the U.K. who are seeking to establish the broad context from which the drama of Shakespeare and his contemporaries grew. The project, which is associated with the university’s Department of English, and Victoria College’s Centre for Medieval Studies and Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, has published 24 volumes about the medieval and Renaissance worlds of theatre, minstrelsy and public ceremonies in England before 1642.

The volumes are co-published by U of T Press and the British Library, with additional funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Mellon Foundation in the U.S., as well as the British Academy. They are used around the world by scholars researching the history of drama, dance, theatre and music.


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