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Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature

Subject support from Library Services for staff and students in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature.




Shakespeare Institute Library

  • Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre Archive
    Previously known as the New Shakespeare Company, Regent's Park was the most significant outdoor space for Shakespeare in performance until the establishment of The Globe in 1996. The archive dates back to the 1960s. To find out more about the collection check this SIL blog.
  • Renaissance Theatre Company Archive
    The company run by Kenneth Branagh in the late 1980s/early 90s.
  • Wendy Beavis Collection
    Letters, photographs and papers of the actress Wendy Beavis, who worked with the Shakespeareana Theatre Company that toured India and Pakistan in the 1950s.
  • The School of Night
    Publicity material from the Shakespeare improvisation group originated by Ken Campbell for an event at Shakespeare's Globe in 2005.

Actor’s Script Collection

This collection includes the work of Samuel West and Jasper Britton in major Shakespeare roles. For more information on research areas around actor's scripts check the SIL blog. The Cadbury Research Library holds an annotated script belonging to Laurence Olivier from when he played Hotspur in I Henry IV in 1945.

Cadbury Research Library

Housed at the Cadbury Research Library is the Theatre Collection—a vast amount of press cuttings and publicity material from productions from 1921-1962.


  • The Russell Jackson Collection
    Prof. Jackson is textual advisor to Kenneth Branagh and others working on Shakespeare in film. The collection contains the script for all of Branagh's Shakespeare cinematic output and other significant Shakespeare related films such as Shakespeare in Love. The files contain press & publicity material, storyboards and detailed notes, including filming schedules and memos from director to textual advisor.
  • Unpublished Screenplay Collection
    The SIL holds a number of scripts for Shakespeare films that have never been published, includingBaz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet, Peter Brook's King Lear, Christine Edzard's As You Like It, Kenneth Branagh's Love's Labour's Lost.  
  • Animated Tales
    Papers relating to 'Shakespeare: the Animated Tales', collected by Professor Stanley Wells, Director of the Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon-Avon, and Literary Adviser on the Academic-Educational Advisory Panel for the project. 


The Shakespeare Institute Library also houses a number of special collections on textual editing and criticism. The work of Trevor Howard-Hill – the editor of several Renaissance plays including Middleton’s A Game at Chess; the archive of Brian Vickers who compiled one of the greatest sources on early criticism of Shakespeare’s plays: Shakespeare: a critical heritage – covering several volumes from 1623-1801. the Shakespeare Institute Library also houses Editorial Guidelines for the Oxford Shakespeare (contributed to by 2 academics that worked at the Shakespeare Institute); and the Cambridge Schools Shakespeare.

The Cadbury Research Library holds three letters, dated 14 August, 19 September and 2 October 1874, from Mary Cowden Clarke to Matthew Mason, printer and publisher, concerning revisions to be made to The Complete Concordance to Shakespeare and a six-page manuscript prospectus for 'The Shakespeare Key', which was published in 1879. 

The notes and correspondence of previous Directors of the Shakespeare Institute are held at the Cadbury Research Library, including Terence Spencer and John Allardyce Nicoll.



The Shakespeare Institute Library holds a collection of newscuttings on Shakespeare and other Renaissance writers going back to 1902. The collection is fully indexed and a wonderful research tool for many aspects of Shakespeare studies. More information available on the SIL blog.

Rare books

The Cadbury Research Library contains a large collections of rare books from the English Renaissance period: first  editions of the First Folios of Ben Jonson and Beaumont and Fletcher; source materials such as Plutarch and Holinshed's Chronicles; contextual texts such as Stowe's Survey of London, Gerard's Herbal, James I's collected works, etc.

To find rare books contained in the Cadbury Research Library use FindIt@Bham. Their detailed archive catalogue is available from this web page. Further information about their services and facilities can be found on The Cadbury Research Library website

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