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The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is the independent charity that cares for the world’s greatest Shakespeare heritage sites in Stratford-upon-Avon, and promotes the enjoyment and understanding of his work, life and times all over the world
What We Do
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is the independent charity that cares for the world’s greatest Shakespeare heritage in his home town of Stratford-upon-Avon. It is the global centre for learning about and experiencing the works, life and times of the world’s best-known writer. Through the five historic Shakespeare family homes, internationally designated museum collections, award-winning learning programmes and digital channels, we provide imaginative, immersive and interactive opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to get up-close and personal with Shakespeare.
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is a self-sustaining charity which generates its income through the support of visitors, donors, volunteers and Friends. In April 2018 it was granted National Portfolio funding from Arts Council England for the first time, enabling new creative and outreach programmes with a particular focus on communities which are currently less engaged in arts, culture and heritage.
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust was formed in 1847 following the purchase of Shakespeare’s Birthplace as a national memorial. The Trust now cares for the world’s greatest Shakespeare heritage sites - the five beautifully preserved homes and gardens directly linked to Shakespeare and his family in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Together, Shakespeare's family homes form an iconic destination in the UK which has been attracting visitors from around the globe for centuries. Today, a tour of these houses takes you on a natural journey through Shakespeare's life from his birth at the house on Henley Street, to his mature family home and eventual death at Shakespeare’s New Place.
At the heart of all things Shakespeare, the Trust holds the world’s largest Shakespeare-related library, museum and archives open to the public, with over 1 million documents, 55,000 books and 12,000 museum objects. We also care for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s archive of theatre records, as well as an extensive local history archive of Stratford-upon-Avon and South Warwickshire, with records dating back to the twelfth century.
Our collections have been designated as being of international importance. They are accessible to the public in our historic homes, via our our online catalogue or by visiting the Reading Room at the Shakespeare Centre here in Stratford-upon-Avon.
The Trust runs a world-class, award-winning programme of formal and informal educational courses and literary lectures, to encourage the appreciation and study of Shakespeare’s works, and the advancement of Shakespearian knowledge on an international scale.
We have members of staff who are research active and contribute to conferences and events around the world. We continue to produce new publications and to engage in academic debate around Shakespeare’s works, life and times.
Our creative programme aims to explore new ways to engage with Shakespeare’s life and works through the arts. We will be experimenting with a range of new projects for diverse audiences and hope to develop a regular programme of creative conferences, workshops, exhibitions and installation and events.