The Shakespeare Institute has enjoyed an illustrious past as a beacon for international Shakespeare scholarship. Former Directors include major Shakespeareans such as Philip Brockbank, Stanley Wells, Peter Holland and Kate McLuskie. Now, under its latest Director, Professor Michael Dobson, the Institute is on the brink of a new era.
It has more academic staff, more professors and enhanced buildings. And though everything returns to Shakespeare, the research interests of its fellows have never been so exhilaratingly diverse. Whether you’re interested in Shakespeare and medicine, Asia or religion; textual editing; the wider corpus of Renaissance drama; or early modern literature in history, the Shakespeare Institute is the place for you. As Michael Dobson says, the Institute is simply ‘the best place on earth in which to explore the impact Shakespeare’s work has had across four centuries of world culture’.
It is also becoming a more creative place. Several staff are involved in major creative projects and are incorporating exciting new creative elements into their teaching. We want to bring the directors, actors, writers, arts administrators and teachers as well as the academics of the future to Stratford. And we want to bring Shakespeare to life in new ways in the here-and-now.
Being based in the heart of Stratford upon Avon, the Shakespeare Institute enjoys close and developing relations with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. It has its own purpose-built world-class research library, run by a priceless team of expert librarians. It plays host to the most prestigious international Shakespeare conference in the world, as well as to the biggest postgraduate conference in Shakespeare studies. A host of major Shakespearean projects are based in whole or in part in the building. These include the most influential Shakespeare imprint, the Oxford Shakespeare, the most important Shakespeare annual, Shakespeare Survey, the high-profile Shakespeare Now! and Palgrave Shakespeare Studies series, and the first catalogue of all Renaissance drama.
The Malone Society is administered at the Institute and the Shakespeare Club - the oldest Shakespeare society in existence - meets here. Institute personnel are leading lights in many of the most important international Shakespeare organisations, with places on the boards of, for example, the British Shakespeare Association, the European Shakespeare Research Association and the foremost American journal, Shakespeare Quarterly.
There is no research culture more vibrant than the Shakespeare Institute’s. It is home to the Shakespeare Institute Players and every week its historic rooms and gardens buzz with rarely-played play readings, theatrical experiments and all sorts of other Shakespeare-inspired activity. Our famous Thursday seminars attract the big hitters of Shakespeare studies as well as Directors and actors and they help foment on a weekly basis what is quite simply the most focussed academic conversation about Shakespeare there is.
And all that without saying—here you can study Shakespeare in Stratford upon Avon where he was born and died and just a short walk away from the RSC!
Supporting the Shakespeare Institute
In 2016, the University’s Alumni Relations Team are fundraising to support Shakespeare Institute projects, including plans to digitise the library’s collections and offer scholarships and bursaries. Find out more about these plans on the Alumni Giving pages.
Use the interactive virtual tour below to move around the Shakespeare Institute today. Drag the image below to rotate your view and click on doorways to change rooms. Navigate through the library, gardens, music hall, seminar rooms and main hall. A full screen version is available on Google maps.