“When My Cue Comes Call Me”: Naked Shakes and a Life in Shakespeare and the Theater


Irwin Appel, Professor and Chair, Department of Theater and Dance, University of California Santa Barbara, and Artistic Director, Naked Shakes.

The First Folio of William Shakespeare’s works was published in 1623.

So what, you may ask?

Well, Shakespeare died in 1616. If not for the foresight of two actors in Shakespeare’s company, seven years after his death, many of Shakespeare’s most well-known works would be lost to us. What does this mean to us in the here and now that Shakespeare did not publish many of his own plays? Irwin Appel, a professional actor, director, composer, sound designer, and artistic director of his California-based Shakespeare company Naked Shakes, shares what he has learned over a lifetime of performing and producing Shakespeare’s works. It may change the way you, read and experience Shakespeare!

When: Friday, 17th June, 10:00am
Where: Besprechungszimmer, 2nd floor, Department of English and American Studies


Irwin Appel (he/him/his) is Professor and Chair of the Department of Theater and Dance at University of California Santa Barbara. As a professional director, Equity actor and composer/sound designer, he has worked throughout the United States at the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Orlando Shakes, the New York, Oregon, Utah, New Jersey and Colorado Shakespeare Festivals, Southwest Shakespeare Company, The Acting Company, Theatre For a New Audience, Hartford Stage, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company, PCPA, both the National Theatre Conservatory and Colorado New Play Summit at the Denver Center of the Performing Arts, the Bread Loaf Acting Ensemble, and other prominent regional theaters.

He has acted some of the greatest Shakespearean roles including the title roles in Richard III and Timon of Athens, Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, Prospero in The Tempest, Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing, along with many others. In Europe, he acted the role of Pandarus in Troilus and Cressida in the Czech Republic with the Prague Shakespeare Company at the renowned Estates Theatre where Mozart premiered Don Giovanni in 1787.

He is the founder and artistic director of Naked Shakes producing Shakespeare’s plays in the United States and internationally since 2006. For Naked Shakes, he has created two major adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays: first, The Death of Kings combining eight Shakespeare history plays from Richard II through Richard III into one event that has been performed in California, Arizona and the Czech Republic. Second and most recently, he combined Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra and Julius Caesar, along with parts of George Bernard Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra into one play entitled Immortal Longings. He has also has led workshops and lectured about Naked Shakes in China, Greece, Switzerland, Poland, and Czech Republic.

He is a graduate of Princeton University and the Juilliard School in New York City. 

"Hamlet and the Ghost" (c) Irwin Appel

"The Death of Kings" (c) Irwin Appel

(c) Irwin Appel