How Birmingham and George Dawson reached the other side of the world

How Birmingham and George Dawson reached the other side of the world

Professor Holbrook of the University of Queensland formerly President of the International Shakespeare Association, recently visited Birmingham to explore the Birmingham Shakespeare Memorial Library: the first great Shakespeare Library in the world, and the only great Shakespeare Library which truly belongs to all the people of the city.

In this podcast he discusses the global impact and legacy of the Library’s founder, George Dawson, who pioneered a visionary new civic culture in Birmingham.  It reveals an extraordinary connection between Dawson’s Birmingham and the only Australian copy of the historic 1623 First Folio of Shakespeare’s collected works which was donated to Sydney’s Free Public Library in 1884 by Richard and George Tangye from Birmingham.  He also discusses connections between Dawson’s ‘civic gospel’ and nineteenth-century Australian politics.

Professor Holbrook talks with Professor Ewan Fernie, Director of the ‘Everything to Everybody’ Project, a pioneering collaboration between Birmingham City Council and the University of Birmingham to unlock the first great people’s Shakespeare Library for all.

The project has a development grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to develop a three-year programme which will culminate in 2022 when the Commonwealth Games come to Birmingham.

Keywords: Shakespeare, Birmingham Shakespeare Memorial Library, Ewan Fernie, Philip Holbrook, Library of Birmingham, Civic Gospel, George Dawson


Professor Philip Holbrook and Professor Ewan Fernie

In: Birmingham, Civic Gospel, Ewan Fernie, Shakespeare,

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