Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

Anna Gunn is now six weeks into her internship with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, below she tells us more about the projects she is working on that are beginning to take shape…

I’ve already learnt lots about organising and managing cultural engagement initiatives and had plenty of opportunities to get a little creative. It’s a really exciting time to be at the Trust as the anniversary year preparations are well underway – we’re all looking forward to celebrating 400 years of Shakespeare’s legacy in 2016.

Shakespeare's Birthplace, my new workplace.
Shakespeare’s Birthplace, my new workplace.

My role is with the learning department and two things in particular are keeping me busy. Firstly, the nationwide watch-a-long. We’re creating a video tour of the birthplace which will be broadcast to primary schools during Shakespeare Week, meaning children across the country will “visit” Shakespeare’s childhood home together. This will be followed by a live Q and A, during which schools will send in questions for our experts and see performances of the Shakespeare plays they voted their favourites. At the moment I’m writing scripts, selecting child actors, working out the timings of the live section and planning how I will collect event feedback after the broadcast. It’s a big project and it’s great to work on it with people from all departments of the Trust.

The room where a genius was born...
The room where a genius was born…

I’m working pretty much independently on the second project – the county final of a poetry recital contest – which has its own perks, as I am involved at every stage. I’ve recruited a judging panel, designed a programme, drawn up an invite list and planned social media posts to be published nearer the time. Future tasks, such advertising the event on digital mediums and managing an event on the night are things I’m looking forward to learning about.

Away from this, I’ve been to some fun brainstorming sessions with the rest of the learning team. We came up with content ideas for a Shakespeare edition of a CBBC programme and matched Shakespearian characters to the positions in a football team in preparation for a fantasy football style activity. (Hamlet in goal anyone? Perhaps not…) Also, I really enjoyed being a part of Takeover Day last Friday. Children from a local school “took over” and did jobs around the birthplace such as guiding, selling tickets front of house, and working in the shop. They all seemed to get a lot out of the day and made lots of visitors (and staff!) smile.

Another great thing about my internship is that I’ve experienced a little of everything SBT has to offer. Helping people learn about Shakespeare is just one of the Trust’s aims. They also maintain properties around Stratford-upon-Avon that are connected to Shakespeare and his family and maintain a library of archives and artefacts related to Shakespeare and the Tudor era. Over the last few weeks I’ve been lucky enough to visit all of the properties and was shown some of the material held by the collections team – playbills, maps, textiles, furniture, wax seals, documentation, and a copy of the very rare third folio!

Picture perfect Stratford-upon-Avon
Picture perfect Stratford-upon-Avon

I’ve been really lucky to have been given as much responsibility as I have and to have experienced lots of positive things in a short space of time. All of this whilst working with wonderful people who are very passionate about what they do. Here’s to the next few months!

    Glover's Workshop, another room to explore of Shakespeare's home

Pictured above  – (L): Shakespeare Birthplace Gardens.  (R): Glover’s Workshop, another room to explore of Shakespeare’s home

Until next time,
Anna

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