Over 800 Shakespeare scholars from more than 48 countries are gathering in Stratford Upon-Avon and London for the 10th World Shakespeare Congress, to explore and honour the Bard’s work some 400 years after his death.


It is the first time the event has been co-hosted in two locations that were integral to both the personal and working life of William Shakespeare.

With an overarching theme of ‘Creating and Recreating Shakespeare’, the Congress will look at the continuing global relevance of Shakespeare’s work through a varied programme of lectures, seminars and workshops.

Shakespeareans from around the world, including the US, Canada, New Zealand, Malaysia, Brazil, UAE, Egypt, France, Australia, Japan, China, Italy, Singapore, South Africa, Mauritius, Portugal and India, will take part in seminars and panel discussions, exploring different aspects of the Bard’s work and the global cultural legacy he continues to have around the world.

Speakers at the 2016 World Shakespeare Congress include internationally renowned actor Adrian Lester. As the son of Jamaican immigrants to the UK, Lester will discuss his early exposure to Shakespeare and his recent performance as Othello at the National Theatre, as well as his ability to move between big-budget films and small scale live performances.

Booker Prize-winning novelist Howard Jacobson will be discussing his novelistic adaptation of The Merchant of Venice and the role Shakespeare played in the history and form of the novel.

While Gregory Doran, artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, will be in session exploring the company’s artistic life and history.

Shakespeare's Globe's Founding Director of Theatre Music, Claire van Kampen will be joined on stage by Bill Barclay, Globe Director of Music and an ensemble of early music players.

Rounding off the series of lectures will be a plenary session chaired by the Globe’s Executive Producer Tom Bird, where a panel of international theatre directors will be taking up some of the ways in which Shakespeare’s plays have been re-imagined around the world. 

The Congress is co-hosted in Stratford by the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and the Shakespeare Institute, of the University of Birmingham. In London, Shakespeare's Globe and the London Shakespeare Centre, at King's College London play host to the international delegation. It is the first time that the International Shakespeare Association has bought all of these partners together to host the 2016 World Shakespeare Congress.

  • Full schedule of plenary sessions, seminars and lectures.
  •  The International Shakespeare Association (ISA) stages a world congress every five years.
  • Stratford-upon-Avon will be the location for the first half of the Congress, until Thursday 4 August; London for the latter half, until Saturday 6 August. 

For media enquiries please contact Rebecca Hume, University of Birmingham on +44 (0)121 414 9041.