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Shakespeare and Consumerism

Victoria Joynes
In front of a gypsy caravan labelled Hathaway Farm a sitting Shakespeare and a kneeling Anne Hathaway, both naked are sunbathing.

We are in the midst of a very busy period in the Reading Room talking to groups and showing them our collections. We have been speaking to university groups, VIPs, including Theatre for a New Audience, and a group of lecturers from Bedford College. 

Last Monday we talked to students from St Mary’s College, Maryland who were studying consumerism so Madeleine and Jessie searched the catalogues for all of our weird and wonderful souvenirs and archive materials to help them with their theme. 

We found some colourful and surprising things including the postcard above showing William and Anne sunbathing! The displays covered mulberry wood souvenirs, Shakespeare celebrations in the town, adverts using Shakespeare’s words and characters, adverts using Shakespeare’s face (including a cheque guarantee card with a hologram Shakespeare – the group became very amused when they decided it looked more like Liam Neeson!) and editions of Shakespeare’s plays which include the occasional advertisement. 

This theme would definitely make a good blog series - keep an eye out for that soon... 

The group were at the Trust for two weeks and enjoyed talks, lectures and sessions with our own Learning team as well as outside speakers. They seemed to really enjoy their time here and it was great to be part of their visit and welcome them to the Reading Room too. We hope to see them again next time they visit Stratford!