Two years ago I was approached by our colleagues and friends at The Shakespeare Institute: would The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust be interested in collaborating on a new MA Programme on Shakespeare and Creativity?
I was more than interested. The idea resonated through years of my seeing and knowing that Shakespeare is a tremendous source of inspiration for many kinds of artistic expression. We can all think of examples of music and paintings and poetry and novels and plays which have been sourced in Shakespeare. Among the examples that most readily come to mind are: Mendelssohn’s music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Millais’s drowning Ophelia, W. H. Auden’s ‘The Sea and the Mirror’, Jane Smiley’s A Thousand Acres and George Bernard’s Shaw’s puppet play Shav and Shakes.
But the new MA in Shakespeare and Creativity goes deeper than only appreciating artistic influences. Each of those works I’ve just mentioned are themselves acts of creative criticism of the plays and Shakespeare’s place in culture. Part of the new MA will look at how Shakespeare can speak to and engage with our presentation of culture and art in our world.
One module, for example, is called Shakespeare and Society. Each of the contributing organisations — which also include The Royal Shakespeare Company and Birmingham Public Library — are making available their collections and spaces and expertise as creative resources for the MA’s students. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is uniquely placed to open up its own collections from which students might devise a performance piece, installation, exhibition, or — and perhaps most bravely of all — an expression of Civic Shakespeare in a prominent public place.
Part of the excitement I feel about this ground-breaking MA is that from its students’ work might be bodied forth new novels, choreographies, musical compositions, poems, exhibitions, performances or even something as bold and as daring as David Garrick’s Stratford Jubilee of 1769.
Hope you enjoy finding out more about ‘Shakespeare and Creativity’ by clicking on the link here and watching the video.
You can also find out more on how to apply here: