Shakespeare Institute

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The Shakespeare Institute
Shakespeare Institute Logo.jpg
Motto Latin: Per Ardua Ad Alta
Motto in English
"Through efforts to high things" [1]
Parent institution
The University of Birmingham
DirectorMichael Dobson
Postgraduates 150
52°11′23″N1°42′34″W / 52.18975°N 1.70935°W / 52.18975; -1.70935 Coordinates: 52°11′23″N1°42′34″W / 52.18975°N 1.70935°W / 52.18975; -1.70935

The Shakespeare Institute is a centre for postgraduate study dedicated to the study of William Shakespeare and the literature of the English Renaissance. It is part of the University of Birmingham, and is located in Stratford-upon-Avon.


The Institute was set up in 1951 at Mason Croft, the former home of novelist Marie Corelli. Budgetary problems forced it to be relocated to the main campus at Birmingham during the 1970s, but under the guidance of Professor Stanley Wells, the Institute was returned to Mason Croft in the 1980s and its position was consolidated in 1996 with the opening of the purpose-built Shakespeare Institute Library.

It has been described by the current director, Michael Dobson, as "the best place on earth in which to explore the impact Shakespeare’s work has had across four centuries of world culture". [2]

Directors of the Institute

The directors of the Institute have been:

Shakespeare Institute Library

The Shakespeare Institute Garden Masoncroft.jpg
The Shakespeare Institute Garden

The Shakespeare Institute Library contains about 60,000 volumes (including 3,000 early printed and rare books), archives and manuscripts, and audio-visual collections. The library aims to collect every significant publication for the study of Shakespeare and Renaissance drama and the supporting collections cover literary, cultural, political, religious, and social history of the period. Significant research collections include: [3]

Shakespeare Institute Players

The Shakespeare Institute Players is the dramatic society for the postgraduate students of the University of Birmingham's Shakespeare Institute, located in Stratford-upon-Avon. The Shakespeare Institute Players have been around under many different names since the University of Birmingham's Shakespeare Institute has existed. The first recorded production was A Yorkshire Tragedy (Unknown Author) as The Shakespeare Institute Dramatic Society. It was performed in February 1953. Since then, the group has had many different names, but the most commonly used name (and the one by which it is currently known) is The Shakespeare Institute Players. [4]

Related Research Articles

Stratford-upon-Avon Town in Warwickshire, England

Stratford-upon-Avon, commonly known as just Stratford, is a market town and civil parish in the Stratford-on-Avon district, in the county of Warwickshire, England. It is situated on the River Avon, 91 miles (146 km) north-west of London, 22 miles (35 km) south-east of Birmingham and 8 miles (13 km) south-west of Warwick. The estimated population in 2007 was 25,505, increasing to 27,445 at the 2011 census.

University of Birmingham University in Birmingham, England, United Kingdom

The University of Birmingham is a public research university located in Edgbaston, Birmingham, United Kingdom. It received its royal charter in 1900 as a successor to Queen's College, Birmingham and Mason Science College, making it the first English civic or 'red brick' university to receive its own royal charter. It is a founding member of both the Russell Group of British research universities and the international network of research universities, Universitas 21.

Warwickshire County of England

Warwickshire is a county in the West Midlands region of England. The county town is Warwick, and the largest town is Nuneaton. The county is famous for being the birthplace of William Shakespeare at Stratford-upon-Avon. Other significant towns in the county include Rugby, Leamington Spa, Bedworth and Kenilworth.

Mason Science College

Mason Science College was a university college in Birmingham, England, and a predecessor college of Birmingham University. Founded in 1875 by industrialist and philanthropist Sir Josiah Mason, the college was incorporated into the University of Birmingham in 1900. Two students of the college, Neville Chamberlain and Stanley Baldwin, later went on to become Prime Ministers of the UK.


Bardolatry is the worship, particularly when considered excessive, of William Shakespeare. Shakespeare has been known as "the Bard" since the eighteenth century. One who idolizes Shakespeare is known as a Bardolator. The term Bardolatry, derived from Shakespeare's sobriquet "the Bard of Avon" and the Greek word latria "worship", was coined by George Bernard Shaw in the preface to his collection Three Plays for Puritans published in 1901. Shaw professed to dislike Shakespeare as a thinker and philosopher because Shaw believed that Shakespeare did not engage with social problems as Shaw did in his own plays.

Eric William Ives was a British historian and an expert on the Tudor period. He was Emeritus Professor of English History at the University of Birmingham. In 2001 he was awarded the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of his services to history.

Stanley Wells Shakespearean scholar

Sir Stanley William Wells, is a Shakespearean scholar, writer, professor and editor who has been honorary president of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, professor emeritus at Birmingham University, and author of many books about Shakespeare, including Shakespeare Sex and Love, and is general editor of the Oxford and Penguin Shakespeares. He lives in Stratford-upon-Avon and was educated in English at University College, London.

William Bridges-Adams was an English theatre director and designer, associated closely with the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, from 1919 until 1934.

Barry Jackson (director)

Sir Barry Vincent Jackson was an English theatre director, entrepreneur and the founder of the Birmingham Repertory Theatre and, alongside George Bernard Shaw, the Malvern Festival.

Reginald A. Foakes was an English author and Shakespeare scholar. He has published works on Shakespeare and the Romantic poets and edited many of Shakespeare's plays in the Arden and New Cambridge editions. He also helped found the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon. He was Professor Emeritus in the department of English literature at UCLA. He died at his home in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Halls Croft house owned by Shakespeares son-in-law in Stratford-on-Avon

Hall's Croft is a building in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England, which was owned by William Shakespeare's daughter, Susanna Hall, and her husband Dr John Hall whom she married in 1607.

Shakespeare Birthplace Trust British foundation

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (SBT) is an independent registered educational charity based in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England, that came into existence in 1847 following the purchase of William Shakespeare's birthplace for preservation as a national memorial. It can also lay claim to be the oldest conservation society in Britain. Receiving no government funding or public subsidies, it is totally dependent upon the public for support, and relies on donations and the income generated from visitors.

Dr. Levi Fox OBE, DL, MA, FSA, FRHistS, FRSL, was the son of a Leicestershire smallholder. He became Archivist for the city of Coventry and then Director of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and was a conservationist, local historian, and author.

Memorials to William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare has been commemorated in a number of different statues and memorials around the world, notably his funerary monument in Stratford-upon-Avon ; a statue in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey, London, designed by William Kent and executed by Peter Scheemakers (1740); and a statue in New York's Central Park by John Quincy Adams Ward (1872).

Rosemary Anne Sisson

Rosemary Anne Sisson was an English television dramatist and novelist. She was described by playwright Simon Farquhar in 2014 as being "one of television's finest period storytellers", and in 2017 fellow dramatist Ian Curteis referred to her as "the Miss Marple of British playwriting".

Stratford-upon-Avon Cricket Ground is a cricket ground in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. The ground is next to the River Avon and also located next to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, on Swans Nest Lane.

Shakespeare authorship question Fringe theory that Shakespeares works were written by someone else

The Shakespeare authorship question is the argument that someone other than William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon wrote the works attributed to him. Anti-Stratfordians—a collective term for adherents of the various alternative-authorship theories—believe that Shakespeare of Stratford was a front to shield the identity of the real author or authors, who for some reason—usually social rank, state security, or gender—did not want or could not accept public credit. Although the idea has attracted much public interest, all but a few Shakespeare scholars and literary historians consider it a fringe theory, and for the most part acknowledge it only to rebut or disparage the claims.

The Shakespeare Club of Stratford-upon-Avon is a society based in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, that celebrates the life and literary works of William Shakespeare. It is the oldest Shakespeare society in the world, having been in existence since 1824. It now meets monthly between October and May at the Shakespeare Institute, for a series of lectures on a wide range of Shakespeare-related subjects.

Jethro Cossins English architect

Jethro Anstice Cossins (1830-1917) was an English architect, who practiced mainly in Birmingham during the 19th century.

Stratfords Historic Spine

Stratford's Historic Spine is the name given to a route in Stratford-upon-Avon along which many of the town's most important and historic buildings are sited, with many of the buildings connected to William Shakespeare. The Historic Spine was once the main route from the town centre to the parish church. It begins in Henley Street at Shakespeare's Birthplace and finishes in Old Town at The Holy Trinity Church and has buildings from the 14th up to the 20th centuries.


  1. Ives, Eric (2000). The First Civic University: Birmingham, 1880–1980 – An Introductory History. Birmingham: University of Birmingham Press. ISBN   1902459075.
  2. "About us - Shakespeare Institute". University of Birmingham.
  3. "Shakespeare Institute Library - Shakespeare Institute". University of Birmingham.
  4. "Putting A Personal Touch On Your Home". Home Blog.

Further reading