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The National Archives’ priceless handwritten Shakespeare documents recognised by UNESCO

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.297  Wednesday, 2 July 2014


From:        Hardy Cook < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         July 1, 2014 at 8:06:22 AM EDT

Subject:    The National Archives’ priceless handwritten Shakespeare documents recognised by UNESCO


The National Archives' priceless handwritten Shakespeare documents recognised by UNESCO

By Richard Moss

20 June 2014


A unique and valuable set of handwritten Shakespeare documents held at the National Archives gets UNESCO recognition


A unique series of Shakespeare documents, including the will bearing his signature, held at The National Archives have been accepted on to the UNESCO Memory of the World UK Register.


Announced in Edinburgh last night the papers relating to the playwright’s life and work were nominated by The National Archives, together with a set from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.


The largest collection of its kind, the National Archives’ holding of Shakespeare documents features nearly half of all known contemporary references to the Bard’s life and provides a priceless perspective on Shakespeare’s life in London. 


They show him appearing as a resident in the Elizabethan city, with the documentary trail then charting his rise in fortune, both professional and financial, reaching the heady heights of success at Court.


All of the nominated documents are handwritten sources bearing Shakespeare’s signature and were each discovered following pain staking research in the centuries after the playwright’s death. 


They include a letter patent issued under warrants carrying the signet and privy seal authorising Shakespeare and his companions to perform plays throughout the realm under royal patronage. 


An account of Edmund Tylney, Master of the Revels for 1604-5 lists plays performed at Court and William Shakespeare’s will made 25 March 1616 and authenticated  22 June 1616 bears his signature. 


“It is testament to their importance not only to the UK but to the literary and cultural world globally,” said Clem Brohier, Acting Chief Executive and Keeper of The National Archives. 


“They provide a tangible connection to Shakespeare allowing us to get closer to a man who died nearly 400 years ago yet continues to have an unparalleled influence on language and culture in the UK and beyond.”


The inclusion by UNESCO in the UK Register complements the UNESCO Memory of the World International Register, which is a catalogue of documentary heritage of global significance and outstanding universal value.


There will be an opportunity for the public to see some of the valuable documents in 2016 when The National Archives stages a programme of events to mark the 400th anniversary of the playwright’s death. 

BSA: Elections to the Board of Trustees

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.296  Wednesday, 2 July 2014


From:        BSA < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         July 1, 2014 at 10:47:54 AM EDT

Subject:    Elections to the Board of Trustees


British Shakespeare Association

Every three years, we invite members of the British Shakespeare Association to stand for election to the Board of Trustees. There are 6 elected members of the Board and they play a very important role in guiding the work of the BSA and ensuring that the organisation is soundly managed and keeps true to the values and charitable objects in our constitution. We welcome applications from a broad range of candidates.


As a Trustee, you will also be a company director (as the BSA is a charitable company) and you will have a number of legal responsibilities as set out by the Charity Commission and the BSA’s articles of association. There is no pay for Trustees but reasonable expenses will be met. We meet three times a year (usually in Stratford-upon-Avon) and at the Annual General Meeting. However, most of the real discussions take place online before meetings. The term of office is three years, after which you will have the option of standing for a further three years.


To apply, please complete the attached form (if you've not been able to download it please email me directly at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) and return electronically to the address on the form by the 8th September 2014. Only electronic copies will be accepted. The form will then be vetted by a Nominations Committee to make sure that your application is valid. Once we have all applications in they will be put out to the full membership for election with a view to confirming the membership of the new Board at our November/December AGM. The first meeting of the new Board will take place in January 2015 with further meetings in May and September.


This is an opportunity to help shape the next three years of the BSA. I very much hope you will consider standing. If you are at the conference this weekend, I will be very happy to discuss this opportunity with you, as will all of the current Trustees who will be there. We are also holding a special ‘meet the Board’ session at the conference—see the programme for details. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask.

The position of Web Officer will be advertised separately.


best wishes

Stuart Hampton-Reeves

Chair of the Board of Trustees

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