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Reading Room

Our world class Shakespeare collections can be accessed through our Reading Room

Please note: our reading room is currently closed until further notice, and we are are unable to respond to requests at this time. Please see our COVID-19 (Coronavirus) update for more information.

Every year we welcome readers and groups from all over the world to access our collections including books, maps, archival documents, newspapers, performance photographs, videos of Shakespeare productions and much more. Our readers include university groups, local historians, academic researchers and genealogists. 

The reading room is located within the Shakespeare Centre on Henley Street in Stratford-upon-Avon. Our normal opening hours are:

     Tuesday to Friday: 10.00am – 4.30pm
     Saturday: 9.30am – 12.30pm
     Sunday to Monday: Closed

You can browse our collection via our online catalogue. Please contact us to pre-order items, to book a video-viewing space, or to discuss any special requirements you may have and we will do our best to facilitate your visit. Advance booking is advisable.

Our Reading Room is available to be booked for private Group Bookings on Mondays.  Please email us at [email protected] if you would like to arrange one of these special study sessions. Please contact us directly and we will be happy to discuss your interests and requirements for one of these exclusive Group Options, and provide further information on availability and costs for your visit. 

We also can arrange behind-the-scenes VIP introductions and talks on the Collections, showcasing treasures from our vaults not usually on display to the general public, giving a unique insight into Shakespeare’s life, works and times. These special interest talks are curated and delivered by at least two members of our Collections team and take place in the Trust's historic Conference Room overlooking the Birthplace gardens. 

Please read our terms and conditions of access.

Seasonal Closures

Christmas Closures

We will close for Christmas and New Year at 4.30pm on Friday 18 December and will re-open at 10.00am on Tuesday 5 January 2021.

Additional Services

We can also provide a range of copying and image services.  

Prices for photocopying start from 50p per sheet (for A4 black and white) + post and packing. 

We have fixed prices for certain frequently requested items:

  • Photocopy of complete prompt book £80 + post and packing
  • Selection of reviews £10 + post and packing
  • Photocopy of programme £10

Please contact us to find out more or request a quote.

Certain items in our collection may be photographed by readers visiting in person. Self-service photography permits cost £5 per day and we also offer a weekly permit.

DVD viewing

Archive DVDs can be viewed in the Reading Room using our DVD players.  A viewing pass costs £5 per day / £1 per day for students.

Read our guidance for potential donors to learn more about our collecting policy and find answers to frequently asked questions relating to donating items to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust collections.

Access our collections online

Online Catalogue

Further Shakespeare studies

Research & Scholars
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