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How the first Shakespeare club in the world helped to save the bard’s home town heritage

PastedGraphic-1In their new book Susan Brock and Sylvia Morris answer the question “How did it come about that a small market town in the centre of England became the focus of the world wide worship of Shakespeare?” After all, London’s claims were much stronger being the place where he became famous and spent the most productive years of his life. The part played by the Shakespeare Club of Stratford upon Avon, set up nearly 200 years ago by ordinary townsfolk and still in existence today, is of prime importance and the story is told in this fascinating historical journal.

The Club was responsible for organising the first local festivities for Shakespeare’s Birthday on 23 April in 1827, 1830 and 1833. It played an important part in saving Shakespeare’ s Birthplace and setting up the Birthplace Trust. It worked towards the preservation of the Shakespeare Monuments and the Graves in Holy Trinity Church and it played a huge part in setting up the theatres in Stratford so that Shakespeare’ plays have a permanent home for their performance outside London.

The book is based on documentary evidence provided by the rich archives of the Club dating back to its foundation in 1824 and the archives of Stratford-upon-Avon which are preserved in the collections of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

Professor Carol Chillington Rutter of the University of Warwick and a past President of the Club writes: “Institutionally venerable intellectually vigorous the Shakespeare Club of Stratford upon Avon is where for nearly two hundred years, the traditional has met the cutting edge in the on-going project to make Shakespeare in the present. Its rich history deserves to be told, and there are no better-equipped tellers of this history than Sylvia Morris and Susan Brock.”

Publication date 1st November 2016

over 130 photos and illustrations
full colour throughout
245cms x190 cms Soft cover 164 pages
ISBN: 978-1-78280-875-6
Published by the Shakespeare Club of Stratford-upon-Avon 2016
Copies are available direct from the Club through the website
or write to

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