Good friend for Jesus sake forbeare,
To dig the dust enclosed here.
Blessed be the man that spares these stones,
And cursed be he that moves my bones.
A lot of people familiar with the life (and death) of William Shakespeare will quickly recognise the famous epitaph that adorns his final resting place in Trinity Church, Stratford. This website is nothing to do with the last physical remains of the great writer – as far as we're concerned his bones (and whatever secrets that may be buried with them!) are safe.
No, we are more concerned with disturbing Shakespeare’s metaphysical bones; the bones of the body of work that he left behind him. In short, this site is dedicated to finding out what happens if we shake up the bones of his life, mind, and writing, and rearrange their essence, realigning them in such way that a new body of work and way of working can be created from them.
Our focus is on Shakespeare's life and work, BUT also the work that has come out of those, both to date and to come. To that end we work to:
understand what, how, and why Shakespeare achieved what he did, and also what his work has directly or indirectly inspired since his death
help displace Shakespeare from the popular view as an apex and focal point of human understanding and development, preferring instead to see him as merely the most significant point to date of that ongoing process
learn as much as we can about the human condition by seeing his plays and poems not just as great works of literature but, more importantly, as phenomenal repositories of knowledge, insights, and guides to the human condition
recognise that his real benefit to us is in many ways still to be fully realised, by discovering in his works the raw material (words, language, themes, characters, ideas etc) that may yet be further worked upon / developed in new ways
apply the many changes, discoveries, and limitations in living and knowledge that have come to pass since Shakespeare's time, in order that his work can be better put into a contextual perspective
create and curate new works that perpetuate this continuum tradition and which are directly or indirectly inspired by, or come out of, his work.
We come at our work from many different angles, by:
undertaking research into both his work and the work that he has inspired, and to then make available the results of that research
commissioning new works inspired by the urge to keep the legacy of Shakespeare a living tradition
sharing our research and discoveries through our learning programme - Understanding Shakespeare
facilitating weekly readings in Birmingham & Stafford of Shakespeare's plays, to encourage active discussion and debate
working with other individuals and organisations that share, and can contribute to, the ideals and objectives of this project.
This is something we have been doing for some 19 years now and, to our knowledge, we have not yet been struck down by the curse of William Shakespeare. Instead, those incredible years have produced a new body of work inspired directly and indirectly by both the life and writings of William Shakespeare.
This is about making more people aware of our work, and what this new body of work, and the processes around it, can show all of us.
Have a look around the site, if there's anything that takes your interest, please do get in touch.
Joe Davies, Director