Weekend Seminar at Burg Feuerstein (Franconian Switzerland): Researching “Shakespeare in Recent Film Adaptations”

On the weekend from the 24th to the 25th of November, a group of Joint Degree and MA students went on an intellectually stimulating hike in order to find out more about Shakespeare’s Richard II,Macbeth and the plays’ recent film adaptations under the tutelage of Prof. Dr. Christoph Houswitschka, Johannes Weber and Susan Brähler.


Our trip started on a Saturday and took us into the very heart of the Franconian Switzerland: the rural and idyllic town of Ebermannstadt. From the train station we hiked uphill, through the strikingly beautiful and, more important, hilly landscape, to Castle Flintstone.

After having enjoyed the nice weather and the fresh air, we finally reached the surprisingly modern castle, which dates back to the year 1941. The estate was indeed a great location for our weekend seminar on Shakespeare. Once at the youth hostel, we had some time to get settled in our cute rooms that reminded one of weekend courses at school.

During our various seminar sessions we won some insights into the realization of important key passages in recent film adaptations of Shakespeare’s works, such as Richard II and Macbeth. Presentation topics included, for example, the relationship of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, or the supernatural elements in Shakespeare, or rather, the witches’ prophecies. Especially the dramatic representation of the banquet scene in Patrick Stewart’s 2010 film adaptation of Macbeth provided material for discussion. Here, our Joint Degree students from Russia offered an interesting translation of the Russian song during the movie’s banquet scene. Hence, thanks to the many different languages of our Joint Degree students, we were even able to find out about the strong accent in this Russian song.

We also had some free time between the different presentations, discussions and film screenings to enjoy the delicious food at this very special youth hostel. The food and coffee breaks offered an opportunity to process and discuss our observations, as well.

All in all, this weekend offered a great chance to get to know the MA students from the MA Anglistik/Amerikanistik and the newly arrived students in the European Joint Master’s Degree programme a little better and to learn about each other’s cultural background. Moreover, the results of the seminar sessions allow for a deeper understanding of diverse film adaptations and interpretations of Shakespeare’s works.

Svenja Zwack