About us

The Shakespeare Institute, located in Stratford-upon-Avon, has been a beacon for international Shakespeare scholarship since its foundation in 1951. Our aim is to bring Shakespeare to life through a range of innovative campus-based and online postgraduate degrees.

Mason Croft and gardens

Former Directors include major Shakespeareans such as Allardyce Nicoll, Philip Brockbank, Stanley Wells, Peter Holland and Kate McLuskie.  Under the leadership of  Professor Michael Dobson, the Institute is stronger in depth and scope than ever.  

Home to world renowned academic staff, the Institue allows our vibrant community of postgraduate students to explore Shakespeare from a range of different perspectives. 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. It provides the ideal environment in which to explore the impact Shakespeare’s work has had across four centuries of world culture.  

Life at the Shakespeare Institute

Shakespeare Institute students benefit from our exciting collaboration with the RSC which offers students a truly unique learning experience, blending academia and creativity in an exciting new way to foster innovative methods of theatre and learning. It allows students to study and create theatre in Shakespeare's own daring spirit, as well as benefit from the expertise of RSC artists and practitioners through innovative modules, workshops and projects in subjects such as directing, playwriting, lighting and design.

The Institute also offers an environment in which students and staff are encouraged to be creative. 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.

They benefit, too, from our international collaborations with institutions such as Waseda University in Japan and Nanjing University in China as well as Shakespeare-focussed organizations across Europe and North America.  To be a Shakespeare Institute student – whether on site or via our distance learning programmes – is to be at the centre of global networks in Shakespearean studies.

Stratford upon Avon

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 of 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.

Boats on the River Avon


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 that at the Institute you can study Shakespeare in Stratford-upon-Avon where he was born and died, and just a short walk away from the RSC!

A lecture taking place

Supporting the Shakespeare Institute

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. In 2017 we were able to establish the first Sir Stanley Wells Scholarships, in honour of the Institute’s great alumnus and former Director Professor Sir Stanley Wells.

Virtual tour

Use our interactive virtual tour to move around the Shakespeare Institute today.  Navigate through the library, gardens, music hall, seminar rooms and main hall - a full screen version is available on Google maps.