400 years after his death, William Shakespeare is widely regarded as the most influential and revered playwright and poet in the world. Researchers at the Shakespeare Institute, part of the University of Birmingham, are passionate about keeping Shakespeare’s legacy alive, researching and reimagining his works to bring them to life in the present day.
The Shakespeare Institute
The Shakespeare Institute is a world-renowned centre of excellence in Shakespeare research and renaissance drama. Located in the heart of idyllic Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of the Bard himself, there are few more fitting locations to study the works of Shakespeare. The Institute benefits from key collaborations and partnerships, such as with the Royal Shakespeare Company’s studio theatre ‘The Other Place’, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and a range of local Shakespeare projects, as well as having its own purpose-built research library. The Director of the Shakespeare Institute, Professor Michael Dobson, and his fellow researchers and academics are dedicated to keeping Shakespeare a prominent and active figure in contemporary literature, to ensure that his work lives on.
Shakespeare transcends time and space, his works are more popular and more studied now than any point in the last 400 years. Shakespeare’s plays and poems have spread across the globe, adapted both for and by myriad countries, cultures and languages.
There is a misconception that Shakespeare is a British poet and playwright. The Shakespeare Institute however, is constantly working to overcome this notion; keen to stress that his plays and poems are valid for all people, and have been studied and adapted across the world, performed in different accents and dialects, set in diverse countries and to audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Shakespeare is not a British playwright, he is a global one.
Britain, and particularly England, often claims Shakespeare as its own - the country’s mark on the great literature of the ages. However, although Shakespeare may have been born in middle-England, his work is not British. Only a limited number of plays are set in Britain; they are also set in Italy, Greece, Denmark and some in magical, far-away fantasy lands.
The researchers and academics at the Shakespeare Institute are dedicated to ensuring that Shakespeare lives on in society. Reimagining the way that he is perceived, studied and how people interact with Shakespeare’s work today, the Institute is pushing the boundaries of knowledge about Shakespeare studies. The Shakespeare Institute ensures that Shakespeare’s work continues to inspire others today.
Professor Michael Dobson points out that the Shakespeare Institute is a hub of ideas, a database for those interested in Shakespeare across the world, not just scholars. Offering Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in Hamlet and Othello and having a strong desire to branch out further into other plays, the Institute is - much like Shakespeare - a global Institution, dedicated to maintaining and furthering Shakespeare’s international popularity.
Director of the Shakespeare Institute and Professor of Shakespeare Studies
Chair of Shakespeare Studies and Fellow
Senior Lecturer, Shakespeare Institute
PhD student, Shakespeare Institute
Find out more
RSC - A Midsummer Night's Dream ➤
What can Shakespeare teach us about freedom? ➤
Picturing Shakespeare ➤
Creating and Re-creating Shakespeare ➤
Learn about our other Birmingham Heroes ➤