Framing the Future Workshops
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust begins long term project for the future of Shakespeare’s Birthplace
01 April 2014
As the world prepares to celebrate the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth this month, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is starting a new project which will shape the long term future of Shakespeare’s Birthplace and the Shakespeare Centre in Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon. Beginning this week, the charity is holding a series of workshops with invited experts to inform plans for the conservation and use of the world’s greatest Shakespeare heritage sites for the next 50 years.
The Shakespeare family home in Henley Street where William Shakespeare was born and grew up welcomes nearly half a million visitors from around the globe each year. In addition to the Tudor house itself, the site currently includes the adjacent Shakespeare Centre, which will be celebrating its 50th anniversarynext year and which was opened back in 1964 to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth. The centre incorporates Europe’s largest Shakespeare-related library and archive collectionas well asthe visitor centre, spaces for learning, events and small exhibitions, offices and cafe.
Dr Diana Owen, Director of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust said, “The challenge for us is how best to care for and present the site and the collections in a way that inspires current and future users and supporters. Beginning this week, we are inviting experts from a range of relevant disciplines to help us scope out the conservation and development of the site to better reflect its international significance and enhance the experience of all who come here.”
The first workshop will focus on the conservation and potential uses of the key buildings. In May another team will examine the significance and value of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s collections, and the question of what it should be collecting in future. In June, a third workshop will consider opportunities to create a special ‘sense of place’ around the site of the Birthplace and the Shakespeare Centre. The output from the workshops will feed into the development of a brief for the future conservation and use of the charity’s key holdings in Henley Street.
Diana Owen said, “This process should be completed by the end of 2014, and when we have defined our priorities we will open up the brief for wider consultation. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is a unique charity, charged by Act of Parliament to promote the worldwide appreciation of Shakespeare’s works, life and times, for the benefit of all – forever. That is a tall order, particularly for us an independent charity, which needs to generate all of our own income, without any direct revenue funding or public subsidy. I hope that everyone with an interest in how we continue do that over the next 50 years will get involved.”
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The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is the independent charity that cares for the world’s greatest Shakespeare heritage sites in Stratford-upon-Avon, and promotes the enjoyment and understanding of Shakespeare’s works, life and times all over the world. The charity runs formal and informal educational programmes for people of all ages. It holds the world’s largest Shakespeare-related museum and archives open free to the public, a collection which is designated as being of international importance. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust receives no regular government funding public subsidy or direct government funding; it depends on income generated through the support of visitors, donors, volunteers and Friends.