Colorblind Shakespeare

New Perspectives on Race and Performance

Edited by Ayanna Thompson

The systematic practice of nontraditional or "colorblind" casting began with Joseph Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival in the 1950s. Although colorblind casting has been practiced for half a century now, it still inspires vehement controversy and debate.

This collection of 14 original essays explores both the production history of colorblind casting in cultural terms and the theoretical implications of this practice for reading Shakespeare in a contemporary context.


Ayanna Thompson is a professor of English at Arizona State University, where she also directs the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

Praise for this book

Ayanna Thompson has gathered a distinguished group of scholars and theater practitioners to explore as well as expose the depths of such questions while studying the production history of color-blind and nontraditional casting, and thinking about the cultural and theoretical implications of such casting practices for contemporary readings of Shakespeare.

Arthur Little Shakespeare Studies