The seminar will focus on Shakespearean festivals in Europe as alternative chronotopes to social, political and economic crises. A number of Shakespearean festivals were founded in Europe in the aftermath of WWII and during the Cold War, describing Shakespeare as a “cultural Marshall Plan” or a “Cold Warrior” (D. Kennedy). More recently, the first edition of the first international French Shakespeare Festival took place in Nice in 2015, only weeks after the Charlie Hebdo events which redefined it as a think tank on civic theatre. As a background to the investigation the seminar will offer an analysis of the Elizabethan understandings of the Theatrum Mundi and will discuss the diverse interpretations about the way onstage and offstage reality intermingle and the audience is involved in the public event of a play – both in the early modern context and in contemporary adaptations of Elizabethan drama. Shakespeare’s theatre for all people, the model of the Elizabethan public playhouse and of its committed spectator are used as vectors of festive atmosphere, social cohesion and democratic debate to provide alternative answers to contemporary crises, thus qualifying Shakespearean festivals as third spaces or Foucaldian heterotopias.