SHAKESPEAREANS in their hundreds gathered in Stratford this week.
Some 800 scholars from nearly 50 countries have been attending the World Shakespeare Congress which takes place every five years.
It was the first time in 35 years the congress had met in the UK, and after meeting in the Bard’s home town earlier this week, the academics headed to London to continue debate on everything from Shakespeare reimagined in manga books to the underpants worn by Falstaff in RSC productions.
“Stratford is a place where people have been imagining Shakespeare in different ways for 400 years, it has the resonances of all these different performances that have happened here,” said Prof Michael Dobson, director of the Shakespeare institute at the University of Birmingham, which is co-hosting the event with the RSC, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Shakespeare’s Globe, and King’s College London.
“Everyone who has been interested in and committed to Shakespeare sooner or later wants to visit Stratford, so it has traces of the huge long comet tail of ‘Shakespeare’ as well as his actual, mundane life.”
Those attending had travelled from all corners of the world, from New Zealand to South Africa to India to China – all to talk Shakespeare and his continuing influence in the 21st century.