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William Shakespeare portrait
The three-day festival marks the launch of the Shakespeare Beyond Borders Alliance.

Shakespeare aficionados around the world can join a free series of online events about England’s most famous playwright – from how his works can play a part in prisoners' rehabilitation to helping create a more equal society.

Hosted by the University of Birmingham’s world-renowned Shakespeare Institute, the three-day festival marks the launch of the Shakespeare Beyond Borders Alliance - a global network that aims to unite those working with Shakespeare from around the world and from across the social spectrum.

Running from Wednesday 9 to Friday 11 June 2021, the launch celebrates a new initiative bringing together Shakespeare practitioners from the field of applied theatre, politicians, museum curators, scholars, and institutions.

People can register free-of-charge, explore the schedule and discover confirmed speakers.  

Each day will feature a series of online discussions that bring together the Institute’s partners beyond academia in the UK. It will showcase the University’s international partners in Shakespeare: not just those with whom the Institute already has close formal links, in China, Japan and Singapore, but colleagues from Canada, Cyprus, Greece, Germany, Mexico, Poland, Romania, Russia and the United States.

The sessions also feature representatives from theatre companies, charities, prison networks, publishing houses, tourist and curatorial industries, arts organisations, government bodies and many more.

Attending the event is free and simple – register just once, then pick and choose which of our exciting sessions you wish to attend. You’re not committed to attending the whole event, but there’s so much going on that it would be a shame to miss any of the excitement!

The Alliance is being established by its three co-chairs: Professor Michael Dobson, Director of the Shakespeare Institute; Dr Chris Laoutaris, Senior Lecturer in Shakespeare at the Shakespeare Institute; and Dr Rowan Mackenzie, Founder and Artistic Director of Shakespeare UnBard.

Professor Michael Dobson commented: “Whether translated into Chinese, Japanese or Russian, Shakespeare provides world theatre with a vital lingua franca. We look forward to welcoming as many people as possible to three wonderful days.”

Dr Chris Laoutaris commented: “Shakespeare has the power to bring people together and foster equality. We hope the Shakespeare Beyond Borders Alliance will facilitate dialogue, collaboration, understanding and mutual learning across national, social and disciplinary borders. Join us and together we will co-create a Shakespeare network without limits!”

Dr Rowan Mackenzie commented: “The sheer breadth of topics guarantees something to pique the interest of anyone with an interest in Shakespeare – no matter where in the world they live. We are delighted to work with so many of the Shakespeare Institute’s partners on what promises to be a fascinating and absorbing three days.”

The event features a different theme for each of the three days:

  • Wednesday 9 June  – Beyond National Borders
  • Thursday 10 June  – Beyond Social Borders
  • Friday 11 June – Beyond the Borders of Media, Curating and Publishing

Among its international partnerships, University of Birmingham’s experts work with Nanjing University and Phoenix Publishing & Media Group in the ground-breaking collaboration that is the Shakespeare Centre, China - reaching out to millions of Chinese people to increase access to and understanding of the playwright’s works.

The University also works closely with Waseda University, in Tokyo - one of Japan’s most prestigious universities – with the Shakespeare Institute collaborating with Waseda’s Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum and its Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

For more information please contact or out-of-hours enquiries please call +44 (0) 7789 921 165.

  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 6,500 international students from over 150 countries.
  • Its Shakespeare Institute is an internationally renowned research institution established in 1951 to push the boundaries of knowledge about Shakespeare studies and Renaissance drama. Based in Stratford-upon-Avon, the Institute is led by Professor Michael Dobson.