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Brains behind Shakespeare 400 wins Sam Wanamaker Award

Gordon McMullan, professor of English at King's College London, has won the 2016 Sam Wanamaker Award. Photo: Bronac McNeill

Academic Gordon McMullan has been awarded the 2016 Sam Wanamaker Award for his work celebrating the quatercentenary of Shakespeare’s death.

The award, run by Shakespeare’s Globe, celebrates work that has increased the understanding and enjoyment of Shakespeare, and has been running since 1994.

McMullan is professor of English at King’s College London and was the brains behind Shakespeare 400, which has seen cultural organisations across the UK celebrate the 400th year of the playwright’s death this year.

McMullan has also co-edited the book that accompanies the British Library’s Shakespeare in Ten Acts exhibition, held to mark the quatercentenary.

He will also give the Sam Wanamaker Fellowship Lecture at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse on June 9, addressing what it means to remember Shakespeare in 2016.

On receiving the award, McMullan said he was “enormously pleased and a bit amazed”.

“I would like to dedicate it both to my lovely colleagues at King’s and in Globe Education and to a predecessor of mine at King’s, professor Sir Israel Gollancz, the leading light in the Shakespeare tercentenary celebrations of 1916 and the inspiration for Shakespeare 400,” he added.

Previous winners of the award include Christopher Plummer [1], Gregory Doran, Paul Scofield, Claire van Kampen and Mark Rylance. Van Kampen and Rylance shared the prize in 2007.

Shakespeare’s Globe chief executive Neil Constable said: “The visibility and breadth of celebrations to commemorate Shakespeare 400 years after his death have been, in large part, due to Gordon’s vision and energy. He brought together a wide and varied body of organisations to enable London and the world to explore the legacy in scholarly and diverse artistic forms.”