British Museum to open Shakespeare exhibition

Natalie Woolman

The British Museum will unveil its flagship exhibition on Shakespeare’s “world and works” next week as part of the Cultural Olympiad.

The exhibition, part of the World Shakespeare Festival, examines what London was like during the playwright’s lifetime as it emerged as a global city. More than 190 objects will be on show including the Arundel First Folio. A dagger found on the shore of the Thames – commonplace at that time and suggestive of the brawls in Shakespeare’s plays – will be on display among other items.

Visitors will be able to explore the birth of modern professional theatre in the UK and the experience of going to London’s playhouses, including those in Bankside, an area which curators of the exhibition describe as having a “dangerous and notorious reputation”.

The British Museum has collaborated with the Royal Shakespeare Company on digital works for the exhibition so that visitors can “encounter Shakespeare’s words and characters alongside the objects on display”.

When the World Shakespeare Festival was launched, director of the British Museum Neil MacGregor said that his team “will present a unique take on the way in which Shakespeare staged the world for an increasingly diverse audience in the 17th century, at a pivotal point in our history”.

Shakespeare: Staging the World will run from July 19 to November 25

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