Oxford’s libraries to host exciting Shakespeare-themed events

Visitors of all ages will discover surprises on and around the bookshelves in the coming weeks, from poetry performance and animations to real-life pop-up characters. And the council’s Library Service is inviting everyone to join in.

The ‘Shakespeare’s Dead or Alive’ events are part of Shakespeare Oxford 2016 - a festival turning the spotlight on a rich array of expertise and creative innovation inspired by the Bard.

Get involved

Library Service Manager Jillian Southwell said: “We’re really excited about the activities and events coming to Oxford’s libraries this spring and want to encourage as many people to get involved as possible. The richness of Shakespeare’s work and his impact on our language and culture provides endless artistic possibilities for people to explore. There’s hopefully something to inspire everyone in the coming weeks.”

Players caught in the act

Actors from Oxfordshire company Flintlock Theatre will be visiting the libraries in costume as they portray well-known characters from the plays. See if you can guess who they are and request on-the-spot performances inspired by the libraries’ books and exhibits.

  • Thu 21st April Blackbird Leys Library at 10am and 11.30am
  • Thu 21st April Summertown Library at 4.30pm and 6.30pm
  • Fri 22nd April Cowley Library at 11.45am, 2.45pm and 4.45pm
  • Sat 23rd April at Oxford Central Library 10am and 3pm
  • 28th, 29th, 30th April & 1st May at The Weston Library

'Travelling Sonnet Booth'

Meanwhile poetry lovers will have the chance to record their own Shakespeare sonnet or soliloquy in a specially-designed mini recording studio courtesy of the Oxford-based Creation Theatre Company.

The ‘Travelling Sonnet Booth’, enables visitors to add their voices to a unique sound experience, which grows and changes day by day. The full audio recording of sonnets and soliloquies can be heard online at www.shakespeareoxford2016.com

  • Fri 22nd - Mon 25th April, The Weston Library
  • Tue 26th April, Littlemore Library 
  • Thu 28th April, Botley Library
  • Mon 2nd May, Blackbird Leys Library
  • Tue 3rd May, Headington Library 
  • Thu 5th May, Summertown Library 
  • 7th May, The Weston Library

Murder at the movies

Artist Tom Cross has joined children from Windale, St Joseph’s, and Botley Primary Schools to create an exciting animated film inspired by Shakespearean characters to have met a sticky end. Assassination Animation flickers into life at city libraries from 22 April onwards.

The film will be shown on an interactive display at:

  • The Weston Library
  • Headington Library
  • Blackbird Leys Library
  • Botley Library

For more information on all library events, visit www.Shakespeareoxford2016.com

Skakespeare Oxford 2016

Shakespeare’s Dead or Alive is supported by Arts Council England and is part of Shakespeare Oxford 2016 a year-long festival which aims to light up the City in 2016 in new and unusual ways, turning the spotlight on a rich array of Shakespearean expertise and creative innovation. A key ingredient is collaboration, with new partnerships, new ideas and new events, inspired by Shakespeare.

The festival team includes the Bodleian Libraries, Oxfordshire County Council, the University of Oxford English Faculty, Blackwell’s Booksellers, Oxford University Press and Experience Oxfordshire.

Many of Oxford’s cultural organisations are contributing to the programme, and our local authorities are also involved in welcoming all the community into this city-wide celebration.