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Exhibition offers opportunity to see William Shakespeare’s last will

By Bai Tianxing (People's Daily Online)    10:10, February 03, 2016
Exhibition offers opportunity to see William Shakespeare’s last will
Exhibition to held from 3 February in London is an opportunity to see William Shakespeare’s last will. (Photo by Bai Tianxing)

LONDON Feb. 2 —— Exhibition "By me William Shakespeare" is a unique opportunity to see the playwright’s last will and testament. It will be hosted at the Inigo Rooms, Somerset House East Wing, 3 February – 29 May 2016. Academics from the London Shakespeare Centre at King’s College London and record specialists at The National Archives have carefully selected the nine most nationally important documents held by The National Archives relating to Shakespeare’s life.

Presented together for the first time, these are some of the most significant documents in the world that track Shakespeare’s life as a citizen of London, a businessman, a family man and servant to the King and even possibly a thief and a subversive. They explore both his domestic and professional lives, what it meant to live in the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras and the social impact of his plays.

Visitors will encounter Shakespeare in his own words and in his own handwriting. They will be taken on a journey from the birth of the Globe Theatre through to Shakespeare’s dying days in Stratford-upon-Avon.

The National Archives has been carrying out conservation work on Shakespeare’s will this year to gain a better understanding of the chronology of its drafting. Results of this work will be revealed during the exhibition next year.

Deborah Bull, Assistant Principal, King’s College London said to People's Daily Online UK: ‘This unprecedented collaboration between King’s College London and The National Archives will take an entirely innovative approach to connecting audiences with Shakespeare’s life. The digital installation – juxtaposed with these historic and precious documents, preserved over four centuries – give us an opportunity to witness Shakespeare’s life in London. From personal court testimony, through Boxing Day performances for King and Queen, to the theft of a theatre – the exhibition will enable audiences to engage and identify with a man who has influenced cultures across the globe for the past 400 years.’

Professor Gordon McMullan, Director, London Shakespeare Centre at King’s said: ‘The documents in this extraordinary exhibition offer unique insight into Shakespeare’s life and that of his fellow actors and playwrights. They represent the core of our knowledge of his biography – his interactions with officialdom, whether law cases, records of performance at court, tense examinations over potentially treasonous activity, disputes over rent, marital tensions, or the end of a life. Together, these records – which are unlikely to be on public display again in our lifetimes – give us the opportunity to reconstruct Shakespeare’s life. We in the London Shakespeare Centre at King’s are privileged to have the chance to share the curation of this wonderful exhibition with The National Archives’ experts and to be actively involved in making these priceless documents accessible to all.’


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(Editor:Kong Defang,Bianji)

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