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International Shakespeare Association

Connecting Shakespearians and Shakespeare societies across the globe

The International Shakespeare Association (ISA)

Registered Charity Number 1160312

The ISA is an umbrella organization to connect Shakespearians and Shakespeare societies around the world. With its headquarters at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, a small committee of prominent Shakespearians, including John Russell Brown, O. B. Harrison, George Hibbard, and Levi Fox helped shape the association’s original objectives, including advising on the initiation and planning of World Shakespeare Congresses. The original executive committee, like all committees since, was made up of representatives from around the world.

The ISA offers an opportunity for individuals and institutions to join together to further the knowledge of Shakespeare throughout the world. Its central commitments, outlined in its constitution, are to;

  • advance the education of the public by furthering the study of Shakespeare's life and work by such means as the trustees determine
  • organise, hold and promote participation in the World Shakespeare Congress and disseminate the learning from that event
  • offer advice and assistance in the establishment of national or regional Shakespeare associations

The first ISA World Shakespeare Congress took place in Washington in 1976 as part of the American bicentennial celebrations. Since theWashington meeting the ISA has continued to stage the World Congresses at five yearly intervals:  “Shakespeare, Man of the Theatre” (Stratford-upon-Avon, 1981); “Images of Shakespeare” (Berlin, 1986); “Shakespeare and Cultural Traditions” (Tokyo, 1991); “Shakespeare and the Twentieth Century” (Los Angeles, 1996); “Shakespeare and the Mediterranean” (Valencia, 2001); “Shakespeare’s World / World Shakespeares” (Brisbane, 2006); “Renaissance Shakespeare: Shakespeare Renaissances” (Prague, 2011); and  “Creating and Recreating Shakespeare” (Stratford-upon-Avon/ London, 2016). 

You can hear audio recordings of the sessions from the 2016 World Shakespeare Congress here and see photographs of the event here.


World Shakespeare Congress 2021: Singapore

I am thrilled to be able to tell you that the World Shakespeare Congress in 2021 will be held in Singapore. The local organisers have some information for you as a first teaser about the location and they have worked with our Executive Committee to produce an enticing topic for the Congress: ‘Shakespeare Circuits’ Singapore2021. Now the hard work begins so that we can ensure the next Congress is as exhilarating and productive as our past Congresses have been. 

Professor Peter Holland, ISA Chair


ISA Membership

Membership of the International Shakespeare Association is open to any person who wishes to support its objectives and accepts its articles. Members receive copies of the annual newsletter, occasional papers as they are published, and may purchase the World Congress proceedings at a special rate.

To apply for membership or to renew existing membership please download, complete and return an ISA Membership Form.

For more information about the ISA's activities and membership please contact:
Dr Nick Walton, Executive Secretary and Treasurer
The Shakespeare Centre 
Henley Street 
Stratford-upon-Avon 
Warwickshire CV37 6QW 
United Kingdom

Telephone: +44 (01789) 201847 
Fax: +44 (0)1789 296083 
Email: isa@shakespeare.org.uk.

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