A Multi-Year Project
The Women Who Made Shakespeare
Prompted by the 400th anniversary of the death of Anne Shakespeare (nee Hathaway), The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is embarking on an ambitious, multi-year project. This will explore the sometimes hidden, often less-explored, and unfortunately, erased and forgotten stories of the women who both influenced Shakespeare during his lifetime and the female-identifying people who have contributed to his legacy.
From exhibitions and interpretation to special events and thought-provoking co-creation activities, as well as links with our learning offer and community engagement programmes, we will uncover and celebrate authentic voices to reveal new or different perspectives on the Shakespeare story as we know it now.
Importantly, we will deliver everything from a female perspective, delivered and developed by prioritising women and female-identifying people.
2024 - The women in Shakespeare’s life
Exploring culture and gender in Tudor and Jacobean society – not just the homemakers and child carers, but the businesswomen, healers and rebels of their time.
2025 - Shakespeare’s women
The characters who made him famous. From love-struck teenagers to shrewd political players and even witches
2026 - The women who made Shakespeare famous
Exploring the powerhouse performances of actresses (and actors) as well artists, writers, readers and creatives, who have brought his characters, male and female, to life.
A note on Shakespeare himself
We are approaching Shakespeare not as a single genius, but as the figurehead of a community and network of people who enabled and secured his place in the canon of Western literature.
He wrote at a time when society was highly patriarchal and socially stratified.
However, his own life and much of his career was one which was ruled by women. From the monarch to home life.
Indeed, this project is about shining a light on those female voices who played their part in his success and have continued to champion the work across the centuries.
We see this project as adding to the Shakespeare stories we tell, not replacing them.