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Shakespeare Centre Library
Shakespeare Centre Libraryquinsolve (c)

Shakespeare Centre Library

(Incorporating the library of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre)

The libraries were founded in the last half of the 19th century and were amalgamated in 1964 when they were housed in the purpose-built Shakespeare Centre.
They hold collections covering all aspects of Will Shakespeare's life, works and times and include original editions of his plays dating from 1623.

Early Printed Books

Some of the earliest printed English books are housed here.

Theatre History

The theatrical history of the Shakespearian canon and development of early theatre in England to the present day. Text and studies of modern drama form a major part of the collections. Also included is the Bram Stoker Collection


The Production Records of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre

Containing a major part of the Shakespeare Centre collections containing archival records of every RSC production in London, on tour at home and abroad as well as in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Includes manuscripts, programmes, prompt books, music, designs and photographs.

The Thomas F. Holte and Joe Cocks Studio Collections
Fine photographic records of the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre's and Royal Shakespeare Company's Stratford-upon-Avon productions from 1852-1991.

Books, pamphlets, films, sound records and video recordings covering all of Will Shakespeare's plays and includes the complete BBC TV Shakespeare series (1978-1985).


Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Records Office

Houses important local history collections - printed and manuscript, relating to Stratford-upon-Avon and south Warwickshire.


Study facilities at the Shakespeare Centre

The Education Department arranges lectures and courses on a wide range of Shakespearian and related subjects for school and student groups. Under the Trust's 'Sharing Shakespeare' scheme, day schools are organised on Shakespeare's plays for school and college groups, comprising talks, workshops, video extracts, and sometimes a theatre visit. The Trust and the Shakespeare Institute collaboratively organise short residential courses, ofa few days or a few weeks in length, for student groups from British and overseas universities. The courses concentrate on the current RSC repertoire and teaching by the Institute and Trust staff is augmented by classes with members of the RSC.

The Library comprises the combined collections ofthe Birthplace Trust and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. It contains over 40,000 books and other items, including maj or theatrical archives, which cover many aspects ofShakespeare's life, work and times and the history of his plays on the stage.

The Records Office is the local history study centre for Stratford and the surrounding area and holds extensive and varied collections of maps, prints, photographs and other documents which illuminate many aspects of English history.

Displays and Informal Talks
Separate talks can be arranged for groups on the Library and Records Office collections, accompanied by small displays of books, documents or other material. The talks can either be of a general nature or focus on pre-arranged topics such as, in the case of the Library, the stage history of particular plays, or in the case of the Records Office, historical subjects such as transport development, law and order, the enclosure movement and welfare provision.

Opening Times The Shakespeare Centre Library is open as follows. except at Bank Holidays:
Monday - Friday 10.00 am -5.00 pm.
Saturday: 9.30 am -12.30 pm.

The Records Office is open as follows. except at Bank Holidays:
Monday - Friday: 9.30 am -1.00 pm I 2.00 pm -5.00 pm.
Saturday: 9.30 am -12.30 pm.

Enquiries for further information should be addressed to:

The Director
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
The Shakespeare Centre
Henley Street
CV37 6QW
Telephone: +44 (0)1789 204016
Fax: +44 (0)1789 296083