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Shakespeare’s Globe gives book award to research on music in early modern theatre

Simon Smith has won the award for his book Musical Response in the Early Modern Playhouse, 1603-1625
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Academic Simon Smith has won this year’s Shakespeare’s Globe Book award for his work analysing music in early modern theatre.

The biennial award celebrates inaugural books that make a “significant contribution to the understanding of early modern plays and playhouses”, and is intended to champion academics and research in this area.

Smith, who is a fellow at the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon, wins £3,000 and will deliver a lecture at the Globe on his book, Musical Response in the Early Modern Playhouse, 1603-1625.

Smith’s work helped inform the design of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at the Globe. He has provided research and music direction for productions at the theatre, as well as for the BBC’s adaptation of Wolf Hall.

The prize is judged by a panel of academics, which includes 2016’s winner Gwilym Jones and is chaired by Patrick Spottiswoode, the director of Globe Education.

Smith’s book was chosen from a shortlist of four, which also included studies on Shakespeare’s relationship with the Globe and the nearby Blackfriars Theatre, the impact of plays on drama and political culture in 17th-century England, and the way manuscripts were used in early modern theatre practice.

Smith said: “I am truly delighted and honoured, especially given the other wonderful books on this year’s expanded shortlist. The book award reflects two of the Globe’s most valuable activities: championing new research and engaging new audiences with the history of early modern theatre and drama.”

He will deliver his lecture at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse on September 18.