HUNDREDS of international Shakespeare experts will descend on the University of Worcester next year, for a major academic congress about the world's most celebrated dramatist.
The city, in fact, does have a strong Shakespeare connection.
Anne Hathaway was pregnant when she married William Shakespeare and the couple had to obtain a special licence to marry from the Bishop of Worcester, in November 1582.
Legend has it that the couple stopped at the Old Bull Inn, Inkberrow, on the way to Worcester.
The European Shakespeare Research Association (ESRA) Board visited the University earlier this month to work on plans for the congress, which will take place between June 29 and July 2, 2015.
The biennial event brings together hundreds of international Shakespeare scholars, critics, practitioners, biographers, translators, editors and reviewers.
Worcester follows Montpellier (2013), Weimar (2011), Pisa (2009), Lasi (2007), Krakow (2005), and Utrecht (2003) in hosting the event.
The city’s successful bid to host the congress was led by Dr Nicoleta Cinpoe?, Senior Lecturer in English and Co-director of the University of Worcester’s Early Modern Research Group.
She said: “After touring over 10 countries, first as SHINE (Shakespeare in Europe) and later as ESRA, the organisation's long standing wish to conduct its biennial conference in the UK came true in 2013: two bids for hosting the event in 2015 were made, one from the University of York and one from University of Worcester.”
She added: “A number of factors contributed to the success of Worcester. The first was the timely topic proposed: ‘Shakespeare’s Europe – Europe’s Shakespeare(s)’, and secondly, the exceptional facilities and location made available by the University of Worcester in collaboration with city institutions, such as Worcester Cathedral, the Hive and Worcester Live. This all promised a fruitful exploration of the unique local connections with Shakespeare.”
Highlights from the programme proposed and agreed at the Board meeting include: an open plenary lecture to be hosted in the Worcester Cathedral, six panels, 16 seminars, lectures and exhibitions across four days in a number of locations.
The participants to the Congress and the local public will be invited to explore the City and its strong connections with Shakespeare, in activities that will take place on the University campuses, in the Hive, in Worcester Cathedral, the Swan Theatre and the Arena.