2014 is a very exciting year at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and around the world as we celebrate Shakespeare’s 450th birthday. There’s always something new to discover, so whether you’re brand new to Shakespeare, or his number one fan, take a look around and become part of the story.

Tudor Harvest Fair at Mary Arden’s Farm

Meet the Tudor job seekers at our traditional hiring fair at Mary Arden’s Farm this bank holiday weekend!

Browse the market stalls, sample some mead and try your hand at candle making, finger braiding and other Tudor crafts… 

There will be music, dancing and something for all the family to enjoy, so come and join in the fun from 23 - 25 August. Visit our website to find out more. 

Shakespeare in Gyula

This post was written by Prof Stanley Wells and originally published on Blogging Shakespeare.

While my colleagues of the Shakespeare on the Road venture are hurtling round a series of Shakespeare festivals in the New World – I hope to join them on the Canadian leg of their journey – I had the pleasure of attending a festival in the historic and delightful town of Gyula, in Southern Hungary. Dominated by a splendid medieval brick castle close to a lake in what is now an attractive municipal park, the town is famous for its hot thermal baths. Its annual Shakespeare festival, now in its tenth year, is part of a longer festival season catering for summer visitors from far and wide. It is also part of a larger network of European Shakespeare Festivals of no less interest and cultural significance than their American counterparts which take place in, among other locations, Gdansk, in Poland, Neuss, in Germany, and Craiova in Romania, the last of which I visited in June. Next year York, Great Britain, will join the list.

Gyula boasts a number of performance spaces, including the open courtyard of the castle itself; a stage built out over the lake; and two indoor venues. As with the other festivals, performances are complemented by a conference; this one, which lasted two full days and was chaired by Professor György Szönyi of the University of Szeged, was attended by Hungarian scholars and a number of overseas visitors among whom I was happy to be included. It took place in the town’s beautifully appointed and well stocked library. Its theme, influenced by the 50th anniversary of the publication of Jan Kott’s influential book Shakespeare Our Contemporary, was ‘Is Shakespeare still our contemporary?’ It provoked a series of papers and discussions concerned with contemporary approaches to Shakespeare in both study and performance given both by Hungarian scholars and by overseas visitors including Maria Shevtsova, of Goldsmiths’ College, London, Holger Klein, of the University of Salzburg, and the expatriate Hungarian Zoltan Markus, who teaches at Vassar College in America, and who has published a significant study of Kott.

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Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Stratford Ontario

Shakespeare on the Road has made its way up to Ontario, Canada to the Stratford Shakespeare Festival…


With William Shakespeare as its foundation, the Stratford Festival aims to set the standard for classical theatre in North America. Embracing our heritage of tradition and innovation, we seek to bring classical and contemporary theatre alive for an increasingly diverse audience.

For more than half a century, our mission has evolved to address the ever-changing, ever-challenging Canadian cultural landscape. What has remained constant, however, is our determination to create stimulating, thought-provoking productions of Shakespeare’s plays, to examine other plays from the classical repertoire, and to foster and support the development of Canadian theatre practitioners.

By searching Canada and the world for the finest talent, and by providing the conditions and training that enable those artists to achieve their most courageous work, we will immerse our audiences in a theatregoing experience that is not only innovative, entertaining and unsurpassed anywhere in the world, but also deeply relevant to, and reflective of, their lives and communities.

Visit the Stratford Festival website to find out more!

Shakespeare & Company - Lenox, MA

Located in Lenox, Massachusetts, Shakespeare & Company is one of the largest Shakespeare Festivals in the USA, founded in 1978 by Tina Packer.

The organization, led by Artistic Director Tony Simotes, attracts more than 60,000 patrons annually, with a core of over 150 artists and more than 30 full-time staff. The company develops and performs Shakespeare, classics and contemporary new plays of social and political significance, generating opportunities for collaboration between actors, directors and designers of all races, nationalities and backgrounds.

Shakespeare & Company embraces the core values of Shakespeare’s work: collaboration, commitment to language, visceral experience and classical ideals, expressed with physical prowess and an embodied contemporary voice. The Company offers one of the most extensive actor training programs by a regional theatre in the country, where professionals from all over the world come to train with the Organization known for its original, in-depth, classical training and performance methods.

Shakespeare & Company is also home to an award-winning and nationally recognized theatre-in-education program, one of the largest the Northeast; it reaches more than 45,000 students annually with innovative performances, workshops and residencies.

Take a look at the Shakespeare & Company website.

Life on the Homefront - Stratford in the dark

This post was written by Rebekah Owens and originally published on our Finding Shakespeare Blog.

On the night of January 31st, 1916, a zeppelin air raid on the Black Country prompted Stratford-upon-Avon Town Council to action. At a meeting in the Town Hall on February 8th, Mayor Archibald Flower expressed his concern that Stratford itself might be a target with its “priceless historic buildings”. He proposed that the Light Restriction Order be enforced. Although the Order had been in place as part of the Defence of the Realm Act since 1915, the local authority had no powers to impose it. This time, argued Mayor Flower, given the proximity of the zeppelin raids, the Order should now be enforced.

The proposal was passed. The fourteen street lamps still burning in the borough were extinguished. Chief Constable Superintendent Lee officially requested that shopkeepers close at 6pm, instead of 7, 8, or even 9pm; householders should ensure that their blinds were “closely drawn”. The Vicar, William Melville, held Sunday evening services earlier in the afternoon to avoid the necessity of using “full electric light”.  Advertisements for products to help people cope with the lighting restrictions were quick to appear in the pages of the Stratford Herald.

But it was not a popular decision.

A meeting summoned by the Mayor and Deputy Mayor Fred Winter, show the matter of light restriction in the town to have been a hotly contested one. As reported in the Stratford Herald of 18th February, the traders in the town had flatly refused to close early. Why, complained a jeweller, to much applause, were the private householders not being made to obey the order, why pick on the shopkeepers? Accusations flew. The butchers were the worst offenders, said one trader. And come to think of it, what about that skylight on the roof of the Post Office in Sheep Street? And while we are on the subject of skylights, Councillor, what about that skylight on your premises in the High Street?

The proposal to close the businesses at 6pm was defeated. As was the proposal to close at 6.30pm.

In the end, the Councillors gave up.  A public notice appeared in the Herald showing that shops were to close at either 7, 8 or 9pm. In other words, no change.


This post comes from a series tracking the events of the First World War and life on the homefront in Stratford-upon-Avon, 1914 - 1918. It accompanies the current exhibition on display at Hall’s Croft.

Read more posts on Finding Shakespeare.

Embark on Will’s Word Quest at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage!

To celebrate the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth in 1564, this summer we’re giving away £1,564 worth of prizes.

Hidden around the beautiful grounds of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage & Gardens are seven letters. Can you find them all to discover our mystery word?

Don’t worry if you get stuck, just ask one of our friendly staff for a clue to help you along.

Pick up a postcard and enter your word into our competition for your chance to win £250 worth of vouchers in our weekly prize draw! Winners will be offered a choice of national book, theatre or garden vouchers, which can be spent in stores across the UK.

Read the terms & conditions.

10 ideas para descubrir el pueblo de Shakespeare, Stratford Upon Avon | Madaboutravel

La pequeña ciudad de Stratford-upon-Avon es mucho más que el lugar en el que nació William Shakespeare. Todavía hoy conserva el encanto de la época Tudor, con muchas casas de más de 500 años de antigüedad. Pero también es un lugar precioso perfecto para pasear, explorar los canales y descubrir un poco más de la historia de Inglaterra.

Stratford-upon-Avon peca de ser un poco parque temático de la época Tudor, pero eso no le resta encanto… A no ser que coincidas con una invasión de turistas japoneses a los que, por lo visto, les encanta. Y aún así, una visita compensa.

Read the full article.

The Harlem Shakespeare Festival

Shakespeare on the Road has arrived at the Harlem Shakespeare Festival in New York, now in its second year. We’re thrilled to have been invited to help kick-start the festival as it celebrates Shakespeare’s 450th birthday year.

Visit the Harlem Shakespeare Festival website to find out more.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) believes that Shakespeare speaks to everyone. A global theatrical force, CST is known for vibrant productions that reflect Shakespeare’s genius for storytelling, language and empathy for the human condition. We have evolved into a dynamic company, producing award-winning plays at our home on Navy Pier, throughout Chicago’s schools and neighborhoods, and on stages around the world. We serve as a partner in literacy to Chicago Public Schools, working alongside English teachers to help struggling readers connect with Shakespeare in the classroom, and bringing his text to life on stage for 40,000 students every year. And each summer, 17,000 families and audience members of all ages welcome our free Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks tour into their neighborhoods across the far north, west and south sides of the city. Reflecting the global city we call home, CST is the leading producer of international work in Chicago and has toured our own plays abroad to Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe.

The Theater’s tradition of excellence and civic leadership has been honored with numerous national and international awards, including the Regional Theater Tony Award, three Laurence Olivier Awards, and seventy-seven total Joseph Jefferson Awards. CST was the 2012 recipient of the Folger Shakespeare Library’s national Shakespeare Steward Award for our innovative teaching of Shakespeare in American classrooms. Among our many international engagements, CST participated in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 2006 Complete Works Festival and was selected to represent North America at the Globe to Globe festival as part of London’s 2012 Cultural Olympiad. 

Read more on the Chicago Shakespeare Theater website

The Door Shakespeare Festival, Wisconsin

The Shakespeare on the Road team are dropping in for a flying visit to the Door Shakespeare Festival today. Find out more about them:

Door Shakespeare was created in 1995 under the progressive and ambitious umbrella of American Folklore Theatre in collaboration with Blue Circle Theatre. The first season produced in the garden at Björklunden included “A Midsommer Night’s Dream” and “The Comedie of Errors,” which played in conjunction with the same acting company performing “Bone Dance,” “Belgians in Heaven,” and “Our Night in Frog Station” across the peninsula at American Folklore Theatre. In 1999, Suzanne Graff and Jerry Gomes assumed leadership of Door Shakespeare and the company quickly became its own non-profit organization. Since 1999, Door Shakespeare has produced 22 striking productions of classical theater by timeless playwrights including Shakespeare, Moliere, and Oscar Wilde in the garden of Bjorklunden’s 405-acre estate.

Now under the leadership of Executive Director Amy J. Ludwigsen, Door Shakespeare’s presence in the Door County community continues to grow and is enriched by seasonal programming, including Doorways: Creating Theater for Children,  pre and post show discussions as well as family nights prior to each performance, Shakespeare in the Schools, and other year-round performance and educational events.

Door Shakespeare is a professional theatre employing members of the Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States.

Door Shakespeare’s performance season is supported in part by the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the state of Wisconsin.

The Door Shakespeare Mission:

Our mission is to provide relevant and entertaining productions of the works of William Shakespeare and other classical playwrights through artistic excellence in both the conception and performance of our plays, and to enhance the theatrical experience through interactive educational opportunities designed for audiences of all ages, thereby creating a common ground to experience these celebrated traditions.

Visit the Door Shakespeare Festival Website to find out more.