A project documenting the World Shakespeare Festival, the greatest celebration of Shakespeare the world has ever seen.


Year of Shakespeare is an innovative digital project documenting the 2012 World Shakespeare Festival, the biggest intercultural Shakespeare festival the world has ever seen.

Led by the Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham, and in collaboration with the University of Warwick, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and Misfit, Inc., Year of Shakespeare provides an online forum in which Shakespeare enthusiasts across the world can read about, comment on, and connect with the 70+ intercultural performances that will be staged across the UK as a part of the Festival this summer. From April to September we will be posting reviews of each of the performances and key events, along with interviews with audience members, links to director talkback sessions, and collections of online materials related to the shows. You can find these posts by interacting with the map of the world on our homepage or by clicking the ‘READ’ button in the toolbar at the top of the page. In addition to this content we’re also inviting theatre goers from across the world to have their say about the Festival offerings in our group discussion forum and through Twitter (#WSF2012 and #G2G).

The aim of Year of Shakespeare is to start a worldwide discussion about the role Shakespeare plays in global culture today. We want to engage students, teachers, enthusiasts, actors, artists, researchers, policy makers, arts administrators, theatre goers, tourists, readers, and thinkers from every walk of life in a discussion about the role Shakespeare plays in their own lives, and the ways in which the intercultural performances in the Festival do – or do not – relate to that. We’re interested in talking about Shakespeare’s stories, characters, and poetry, and how they are translated for new audiences. We want to know what you think about Shakespeare’s colonial legacy, and also about his multicultural appropriation – and indeed the connections between the two.

As we track the progress of the Festival, we’ll also be creating a virtual library of further reading on the subject of Shakespeare and interculturalism. We hope you’ll find these resources useful, too, especially if you’re interested in learning more about Shakespeare’s life outside of England during the past 400 years. And if you’d like to suggest a book or article, please let us know in the forum! At the end of the project we’ll be posting an overall review of the Festival and the questions it has raised about Shakespeare as a site of intercultural exchange today. Your thoughts and comments in the forum will form an important part of our discussion, so please get involved.

Year of Shakespeare is part of the ‘Shakespeare’s Global Communities’ project, funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Each year the AHRC provides funding from the Government to support research and postgraduate study in the arts and humanities. The range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK.


Project Leaders:
Principal Investigator: Dr Erin Sullivan, Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham
Co-Investigator: Dr Paul Prescott, University of Warwick
Cultural Partner: Dr Paul Edmondson, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
Digital Partner: Misfit, Inc.

Research Network Members:
Dr Christie Carson, Royal Holloway, University of London
Professor Michael Dobson, Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham
Dr Adam Hansen, Northumbria University
Dr Farah Karim-Cooper, Shakespeare’s Globe
Dr Peter Kirwan, University of Nottingham
Tracy Irish, Royal Shakespeare Company
Dr John Lavagnino, King’s College London
Dr Adele Lee, University of Greenwich
Dr Sonia Massai, King’s College London
Professor Kate McLuskie, Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham
Dr Stephen Purcell, University of Warwick
Dr Sarah Olive, University of York
Dr Kate Rumbold, University of Birmingham
Dr Monika Smialkowska, Northumbria University
Dr Peter Smith, Nottingham Trent University
Professor Stanley Wells, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
Dr Penelope Woods, Queen Mary University of London and Shakespeare’s Globe

Postgraduate Research Assistants:
Thea Buckley, Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham
Charlotte Cosham, University of Warwick
Georgie Lucas,  Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham
Charlie Morton,  Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham

Project Administrator:
Natalie Bell, Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham

Undergraduate Interns:
Bethany Chilvers, University of Birmingham
Gah-Kai Leung, University of Warwick
Bethany Prottey, University of Birmingham