Shakespeare Birthplace Trust launches drive to double volunteer team to 600

Dairy maid, thresher, scribe, classroom assistant, tour guide, gardener – these are just a few of the richly varied voluntary roles which the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust aims to fill in a drive to double its volunteer team to 600 people this year. This weekend the charity kicks off a new volunteer campaign with a series of open days at the five Shakespeare Houses and Gardens in and around Stratford-upon-Avon to give everyone interested a chance to find out what’s involved.

24 February 2011

Last year 322 people joined the Trust’s new volunteer scheme, giving 17,000 hours of their time and skills to the charity, which promotes the understanding and enjoyment of Shakespeare’s work, life and times in Stratford and around the world.  Now the Trust is expanding the scheme to offer roles that will provide volunteers with valuable work experience and appeal to people from a wide range of backgrounds.

The Trust is particularly interested in hearing from students and people interested in working in the heritage and museums sector, and those who want to work with children.  Room hosts and exhibition and tour hosts are needed to help bring the stories of the houses and displays to life for visitors, and to monitor visitor trends.  The Trust’s heritage teachers are also seeking assistants to support their work with visiting school classes and other children’s activities.

Helen Cook, the Trust’s Community Engagement Co-ordinator said, “Volunteering can be a great way to gain experience while you are training, or to refresh your skills for a return to work or change of career.  We are talking to local universities about opportunities for their students.  We are also getting a lot of enquiries from people looking for work experience with animals to enter work in farming or vet practice; for example we have had Duke of Edinburgh Award groups working with our farm manager at Mary Arden’s Farm.”

No experience is required for the majority of roles.  All you need is a friendly, outgoing personality.  The Trust provides training and the opportunity to take part in a range of crafts and skills workshops.  It will also pay travel expenses to a maximum of £8 a day.  Volunteers can sign up for a regular slot, or for a specific project or period, such as a summer holiday.  “Whether you’re looking to gain  experience, to put your talents to good use, or simply for the camaraderie of working with people who share your interests, we have roles to suit all tastes and timeframes,” said Helen.

For people with an interest in dramatic arts, there are costumed roles, dressing and working as Tudors at Mary Arden’s Farm, and performing Tudor scenes and scenes from Shakespeare’s works for groups of visitors at  Anne Hathaway’s Cottage.   There are also plenty of plain clothes, contemporary roles, from helping with administration to assisting in visitor reception and retail operations.

To find out more about volunteering with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, please contact Helen Cook via email: or telephone: 01789 204016.

Shakespeare Birthplace Trust volunteer open days:
26th Feb 2 – 3.30pm – Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, tour of site and garden,
27th Feb 11am -  2pm Mary Arden’s Farm, tours at 11, 12 and 1.  Drop in visitors also welcome between these times.  (Please note Mary Arden’s is closed to the public until 21 March.)
28th Feb 6 - 8pm - Nash’s House & New Place and Hall’s Croft, tours of both properties plus drinks and questions
1stMarch – Shakespeare’s Birthplace
2nd March 2 – 3.30pm Anne Hathaway’s Cottage (as 26th Feb).
No booking required but arrive promptly to join tours.


For further information and press enquiries please contact:
Lynn Beddoe – PR Manager
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
Shakespeare Centre
Henley Street
CV37 6QW

Direct line: 01789 207134
Mobile: 07887 661770


Notes to editors:

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, founded in Stratford in 1847, is the guardian of the world’s greatest Shakespeare heritage sites, comprising Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Nash’s House & New Place, Hall’s Croft, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Mary Arden’s Farm. Offering a unique Shakespeare centred experience, The Trust is a truly global brand that has been attracting visitors to the houses since as early as the 17th century.
At the heart of all things ‘Shakespeare’, the Trust is not only at the forefront of academic learning, but also an iconic destination in the UK and the cornerstone of the region’s identity and tourism economy. The five houses offer a multi-layered experience for visitors unlike any other, giving people from all over the world the opportunity to learn about the life of the world’s greatest playwright, discover his work and experience a real sense of the times that influenced him here in Stratford.