Mass cultural campaign launched by Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

Campaign launched by Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

Shakespeare Week The Curtain Raises from Will Hanrahan on Vimeo.

This video was shown as British arts and heritage organisations and high profile education, culture and political leaders gathered in London on Tuesday 16th April to launch a brand new national schools and culture campaign to open up Shakespeare’s legacy to every child in Britain. Shakespeare Week is a new annual calendar event that will unite schools, theatres, galleries, museums, cinemas, libraries, musicians, publishers and historic places in a nationwide celebration of Shakespeare’s creative influence . The campaign is organised by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, the independent charity that cares for the world’s greatest Shakespeare heritage sites in Stratford-upon-Avon, and promotes the enjoyment and understanding of Shakespeare’s works, life and times all over the world. The inaugural Shakespeare Week will take place in 2014, the 450th anniversary of the playwright’s birth, from March 17th-23rd. By 2018, the campaign aims to engage more than 3 million children and their families and schools in Shakespeare Week

At the heart of Shakespeare Week will be a growing bank of free online resources, providing teachers with Shakespeare-related ideas and materials for every subject from drama and creative writing, to cooking and sport. The materials can be used for anything from a oneoff session to a whole term programme. Children taking part in Shakespeare Week schools activities will receive a Passport to Shakespeare giving them access with their families and schools to Shakespeare-related events and activities organised by local and national arts and heritage venues throughout the UK.

Plans for this annual celebration of the world’s best-known playwright have attracted strong support from cultural and education leaders. (Note: see full list of supporters’ statements). Speaking at the official launch of Shakespeare Week, Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, said, “Shakespeare’s language is our language. It is our inheritance. Through Shakespeare Week, many pupils will have the chance to share and enjoy this inheritance. I am very grateful for the fantastic work being done by the organisers of Shakespeare Week.”

Dame Judi Dench said, “How splendid that The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is taking the lead in encouraging children to celebrate Shakespeare’s great legacy! Shakespeare Week should become a great and joyous national festival.”

Baroness Floella Benjamin, OBE said, “It’s always a joy to see the reaction of young people when they are exposed to Shakespeare. Celebrating Shakespeare Week is a great way of giving young people inspiration and aspiration.”

Jacqueline Green, Head of Learning and Participation at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust said, “We are launching Shakespeare Week because we believe that Shakespeare is for everyone, rather than the happy few. We want to bypass the barriers that make people say ‘Shakespeare is not for us.’ Primary school is where magic can still happen, and children are most receptive to learning new things. Shakespeare Week will be fun, exciting and free to access online. Working with partners across the country means we can bring Shakespeare vividly to life on the doorsteps of millions of children, and encourage a new generation to discover his rich creative and cultural legacy.”

Shakespeare Week is supported using public funding by Arts Council England (ACE). The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust was awarded £150,000 from the ACE Renaissance Strategic Fund to support the first two Shakespeare Weeks in 2014 and 2015.

The campaign has been launched a year in advance of the first Shakespeare Week in 2014, to give schools and arts and heritage organisations a year to plan activities and events. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is inviting schools and organisations to sign up now. For more information and to register free visit www.

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About the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust:

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 Shakespeare’s works, life and times all over the world.

The charity runs formal and informal educational programmes for people of all ages

It holds the world’s largest Shakespeare-related museum and archives open free to the public, a collection which is designated as being of international importance.

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust receives no direct revenue funding; it depends on income generated through the support of visitors, donors, grant funders,volunteers and Friends.

For further information visit

Shakespeare Week launch 16 April 2013: Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE (centre), Peter Kyle, Chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (right) and Neil Darlison, Director of Theatre (London area), Arts Council England.