Shakespeare images to go on show

Celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday with the Everything to Everybody Project.

The Everything to Everybody Project is celebrating Shakespeare’s birthday on 23rd April with the release of the first of fifty never before seen images from the Birmingham Shakespeare Library, the world’s first great Shakespeare library, as well as an exciting opportunity to hear Project Patron Adrian Lester and Project Director Professor Ewan Fernie talk about the project on BBC Radio 3.

The Everything to Everybody Project is an ambitious three-year celebration of one of the UK’s most important cultural assets: the vast Shakespeare Memorial Library housed within the Library of Birmingham. The project will give the city’s uniquely democratic Shakespeare heritage back to the people, and is a collaboration between the University of Birmingham and Birmingham City Council, with funding contributed by National Lottery Heritage Fund and History West Midlands.

The team will bring some glamour to Shakespeare’s birthday celebrations with the release of a photograph from Max Reinhardt’s 1935 film A Midsummer Night’s Dream featuring James Cagney as Bottom, the child-star Micky Rooney, and Olivia de Havilland in her first Hollywood film.

The image, which will be released across Everything to Everybody Project social media, is taken from the Birmingham Shakespeare Library which houses around 17,000 production photographs that capture theatrical, film and televised Shakespearian performances from around the world.

Tom Epps, Cultural Partnerships Manager, Library of Birmingham said: “The production photographs were a gift to the city’s Shakespeare Library and we are delighted that on Shakespeare’s birthday we can share this gift with the people of Birmingham. It’s a peek inside our archives whilst libraries are temporarily closed to the public. Over the life of the project we plan to share fifty specially selected items that illustrate the breadth and variety of the Shakespeare collection. It’s the greatest public Shakespeare library in the world and it all belongs to the people of our city.”

To find out more about the Everything to Everybody Project and hear about Britain’s most important Shakespeare collection, comprising over 40,000 volumes, including a copy of the First Folio of 1623, tune in to Shakespeare for the People, BBC Radio 3’s special Free Thinking programme for Shakespeare’s birthday on 23rd April, at 22:00. Actor Adrian Lester and Professor Ewan Fernie talk to Islam Issa about the project as part of the BBC Arts Culture in Quarantine Festival, a virtual festival of the arts.

Professor Ewan Fernie, Everything to Everybody Project Director,said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to hear more about the ‘Everything to Everybody’ Project and Birmingham’s uniquely democratic Shakespeare heritage. Birmingham is home to the first great Shakespeare library in the world. This was a gift to all the people of the city, part of a pioneering effort to give everything to everybody which we are trying to revive today.”

Follow the Everything to Everybody Project on twitter @E2EShakespeare, facebook @e2eshakespeare and Instagram @e2eshakespeare to take a look at the Max Reinhardt image which will be released on 23rd April and for subsequent project updates.