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Illuminating Shakespeare: Artist Interview with Rob Vale

Have a look at this year's wonderful lightshow


We’re very excited to be working with Illuminos to create a brand new lightshow at Shakespeare’s Birthplace this festive season! We’ve interviewed Rob Vale, projection artist, to find out how work is progressing.

As projection artists we’re always looking for buildings and projects that give us and an audience an amazing story, space, or moment that we can share together.  Shakespeare’s Birthplace has all these elements and more – it’s a beautiful and almost mythical building. So it’s both an amazing opportunity and responsibility to work with the building and its audience to create a different take on the space.


We’re really interested in the idea of Shakespeare as a child, and this incredible imagination he must have had to paint such magical pictures with words.  It’s as if all those plays and sonnets were in the mind of this boy, waiting to pour out in later life. We want to link this idea of child-like wonder to our light installation at Shakespeare’s birthplace, and we hope to connect with the audience’s inner child as they experience our illumination.  

So for the projection this year we will see in the street in front of the house a fine bookcase, on which many of Shakespeare’s plays can be found. The audience will choose the volume they are interested in, and like a secret lever, will pull the book forward on the case. This magically ‘opens up’ the house, like a magnificent dolls house full of delights.  

Inside we see the young boy Shakespeare in the house, exploring the rooms and finding objects you might find in the house today - a glove, a cradle, candles on the window ledge.

As the young Shakespeare finds these items, he imagines the play that relates to them and these imagined scenes spill out across the whole house. The building closes up, and we choose another play to delve into.

We really want to encourage people into the gardens to experience them in a totally different light, and to get them to interact in the projection piece. The gardens will feature illuminated moments, based on moments of light in the projection and Shakespeare’s works. Silhouettes will dance on the walls and letters will tumble down paths. Fireflies will dance through the trees and you will be able to  ‘cut little stars’* an evolving piece across the lawn.

*Juliet, Romeo and Juliet: Act 3, Scene 2.