Earlier this month we welcomed the poet Ian McMillan to Leeds to launch our new exhibition at the Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery.
We’ve been bowled over by the popularity of our latest exhibition, For All Time: Shakespeare in Yorkshire, in the Treasures of the Brotherton. Over 1000 visitors have already been to see the rare Shakespeare items left to Leeds University Library by Lord Brotherton of Wakefield. All four 17th-century folios are on display alongside other books that help reveal the history of Yorkshire.
We opened the exhibition in style on 6 September with poet Ian McMillan’s barn-storming introduction to the display, which brought the house down. The Bard of Barnsley encouraged us to “cut the endless ribbon of Literature with the rusty scissors of criticism” and embrace two of his favourite words; “Shakespeare and Yorkshire”. Ian had the crowd whooping and almost stampeding to see all four of Shakespeare’s folios up close.
Outside the Gallery, two giant posters of Shakespeare’s head comprising of mini Shakespeare heads that visitors had coloured in ‘by number’ provided a backdrop for feedback on Post-It notes. “Inspiring”, “fascinating”, and “mind-blowing” were just a few of the adjectives used to describe people’s reaction to the exhibition.
It’s also been exciting to see regional and even international coverage of the exhibition, especially when the news items feature interviews by our incredibly talented guest curator, Kit Heyam. Our most surprising appearances so far have been in the Irish Examiner online and the Republika online (which we think is Indonesian!) We must also thank local press such as Radio Leeds, Made in Leeds TV and the Yorkshire Evening Post for splashing us across their channels and newspapers.
People’s continuing passion for Shakespeare proves that the Bard truly is “for all time”.
These are just some of the exciting programme of events on a Shakespearean theme we have arranged to accompany the exhibition:
Kit Heyam, co-curator of the exhibition, will be giving a talk entitled “Notorious kings and Yorkshire tragedies: what Shakespeare and his contemporaries did with English history”. From cautionary tales to opportunistic gossip, Kit will examine how English history was used – and abused – by early modern writers.
Members of Leeds Baroque will mark the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death with a performance of music linked to the famous commemorations held at Stratford-upon-Avon in 1769.
Michael Brennan and Mark Westgarth will be presenting a talk on “Re-reading and Collecting Shakespeare”, exploring the fascinating and sometimes bizarre collecting of Shakespearean items during the 18th and 19th centuries.
You can find out about all these events and many more, including how to book your place, in the Events section of our website. Events are free but booking is essential.
Our exhibition runs until the end of January 2017. We look forward to welcoming you to the Gallery!