Sign In Forgot Password

Shakespeare and Sacred Text: A Midsummer Retreat, July 25-29, 2022

This program is a partnership of the Jewish Collaborative of Orange County and the UCI New Swan Shakespeare Center.
Partial funding provided through grants from the Association for Jewish Studies,
Jewish Community Foundation Orange County, and Jewish Federation Orange County.

Program seminars will be held on the UCI campus Register Here
To attend virtually (1:00pm seminars only) register here.

Click here to view the complete schedule.

Retreat Information and Schedule

Program Description: Two bodies of writing, the Bible and the plays of Shakespeare, have received an outsized share of interpretive attention in the Western tradition. Approached as sources of wisdom, as treasuries of poetic imagery, as inquiries into human psychology, and as collections of dramatic stories and national history, Shakespeare and the Bible have been analyzed and emulated by many generations of readers and writers. Shakespeare himself was immersed in a Biblical culture defined by both the fluency of everyday worship and the controversies of the Reformation. In plays combining Catholic, Protestant, Judaic, and classical source materials, Shakespeare struggled to think beyond the confessional divisions of his day. His plays are thus a rich resource for interfaith exploration.

This three-day adventure in text study and the performing arts, bracketed by two festive meals, brings together Shakespeare and the Bible, with a focus on The Comedy of Errors. Participants will attend three workshops with visiting Jewish Studies scholar, Cantor Matt Austerklein. Other presenters include Julia Lupton (UCI English), Eli Simon (UCI Drama), and Rabbi Marcia Tilchin (JCoOC). The evenings will include lectures, performances, and interfaith meals, including opportunities attend two plays and a Shakespearean concert at the New Swan Shakespeare Theater, and an intimate open-air stage on the UC Irvine campus.

Seminar Instructors include:

Hazzan Matt Austerklein is a musician, scholar, and innovator in the American cantorate. He fell in love with the cantorial arts while studying abroad in Vienna, Austria, where he also studied voice with mezzo-soprano, Paulette Vineyard Herbich.

​Matt graduated summa cum laude from the College of William & Mary in Virginia with a BA in Music. He went on to receive a Master of Sacred Music and cantorial ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary. Over his past decade as a congregational cantor, he has cultivated diverse skills to support Jewish communities, including pastoral care, teaching Jewish text and traditions, communal  song leading, music education with guitar, event programming, playwriting, fundraising, choral directing, and strategic planning. He serves as an ongoing mentor to new and student cantors, and currently serves on the Cantorial Coaching Faculty of Hebrew College.

​Matt is blessed to be married to his holy partner, Rabbi Elyssa Joy Austerklein. They have two musical and creative children. To read more about Matt click here.

Professor Julia Lupton is the author or co-author of five books on Shakespeare, including "Citizen-Saints: Shakespeare and Political Theology," "Thinking with Shakespeare: Essays on Politics and Life," and "Shakespeare Dwelling: Designs for the Theater of Life." Her awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship and an ACLS Fellowship. At UCI, she is a Lauds and Laurels honoree and the recipient of several teaching awards.  Her current book project, “Shakespeare’s Virtues,” explores the many capacities developed by Shakespeare’s plays, including hope, courage, trust, and respect. She has taught at UCI since 1989.

As co-director of the UCI Shakespeare Center, Julia Lupton organizes seminars and lectures for UC Irvine’s New Swan Shakespeare Festival. She also runs a county-wide series of book clubs and helps create innovative events such as The Hamlet Trial, featuring Dean Erwin Chemerinsky (Berkeley Law) and Dean Song Richardson (UCI Law). The event combines law, society and culture in a public humanities format. Read more about Julia here.


Shakespeare Midsummer Retreat  ~ JLife Magazine Feature Article

Read about JCoOC's Shakespeare and Sacred Text summer retreat in the June issue of JLife Magazine.

"In plays combining Catholic, Protestant, Judaic, and classical source materials, Shakespeare struggled to think beyond the religious divisions of his day. He also narrated the rise and fall of kings using the lives of David, Solomon, and Saul as guides. These factors make his plays a rich resource for interfaith study and personal healing as well as psychological and historical analysis."

This program is a partnership between JCoOC and the New Swan Shakespeare Theater at UCI. Partial funding for this program is provided through grants from the Association of Jewish Studies and the Albert Weissman and Rhoda Yvette Weissman Arts Endowment Fund grant - a joint program of Jewish Community Foundation Orange County and Jewish Federation Orange County.

Overview of Events

Monday, July 25, 6:00pm: Festive meal at private home for registered participants
Tuesday, July 26, 1:00-5:00pm: Prophesy of Errors: Shakespeare and the Book of Jonah with Cantor Austerklein, Humanities Gateway1010 and Humanities Gateway1030 (register here for online only)
Tuesday, July 26, 8:00pm: "Shakespeare's Fool," performance by Jason Feddy with other actors and performers at the New Swan Shakespeare Theater (ticketed event).
Wednesday, July 27, 1:00-5:00pm: One Flesh or Two? "The Comedy of Errors" and Jewish Marriage Law with Cantor Austerklein, Humanities Gateway 1010  (register here for online only).
Wednesday, July 27: 7:00-8:30pmMatt Austerklein, public lecture, "Jewish Music in the Age of Shakespeare"
Thursday, July 28, 1:00-5:00: Of Spells and Spirits: Witchcraft and Magic in "The Comedy of Errors" and Jewish Tradition with Cantor Austerklein, Humanities Gateway 1010 (register here for online only).
Thursday, July 28, 8:00-10:00pmThe Comedy of Errrorrs at the New Swan Shakespeare Theater (ticketed event).
Friday, July 29, 5:00-7:30pm: Interfaith Shabbat on UCI campus led by Rabbi Tilchin and Cantor Austerklein for registered participants
Friday, July 29: 8:00-10:00pmPericles, Prince of Tyre at the New Swan Shakespeare Theater (ticketed event). 

Register Below

Shakespeare and Sacred Text: A Midsummer Retreat
July 25-29, 2022

Retreat seminars and performances will be held on the UCI campus. Monday and Friday dinners will be held on campus as well. UCI campus parking is not included.

Mask and vaccination protocols will be subject to UCI policies at the time. We ask that participants bring their vaccination records with them.

Registration options:

All Inclusive: $400 per person.
Includes all seminars, Monday and Friday dinners on campus, and three performances.

Classes, dinners, and evening lectures only: $300 per person.
(Does not include performances.)

Evening programs only: $300 per person.
Monday night dinner and lecture, Tuesday night performance of Shakespeare's Fool, Wednesday night lecture, Thursday night performance of The Comedy of Errrorrs, Friday night Shabbat dinner and performance of Pericles, Prince of Tyre.

Seminars only: $200 per person.
Includes all seminars with Hazzan Matt Austerklein, Professor Julia Lupton, and special guests on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons.
UCI faculty, students, and staff may attend seminars free of charge. Email to sign up.

Virtual Attendance: No cost. Donations appreciated.
Includes all seminars with Hazzan Matt Austerklein, Professor Julia Lupton, and special guests on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons via Zoom.
   All Inclusive
   Seminar plus Monday and Friday dinners
   Evening Programs Only
   Afternoon Seminars Only
   I will attend the seminars virtually


Fri, July 1 2022 2 Tammuz 5782