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Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature

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

Video Streaming Shakespeare

Video streaming enables television programmes and films that have been digitally recorded and distributed to be accessed via PCs and other mobile devices both on and off campus.

Streaming services are chosen for specific Shakespearean content. However, a wealth of material is available through more general platforms and websites.

The University of Birmingham currently has access to a number of streaming services which provide access to AV material on Shakespeare. This is a guide to where you can find some of the major collections.

If you need any help in accessing or finding material then please do get in touch with us.

Streamed Shakespeare Collections

RSC Live

In 2013 the company began live screenings of its Shakespeare productions, captured in The RSC Live Collection. The RSC Live recordings are available on the following platforms:

Shakespeare’s Globe on Screen

Shakespeare's Globe on Screen (2008-2018) includes landmark productions from the last ten year’s, including productions from Emma Rice’s tenure as Artistic Director and the first production from the indoor Jacobean theatre, the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. These films showcase the Globe’s two unique playing spaces on Bankside and how different artists respond to them.  Available via Drama Online (login via FindIt@Bham)

BBC Shakespeare

  • BBC Shakespeare Archive Resource
  • The Hollow Crown: available via Drama Online & BoB (Box of Broadcasts)
  • BBC Shakespeare Series: BoB
  • An Age of KingsFifteen-part televised series of Shakespeare's history plays from Richard II to Richard III (the two tetralogies). Broadcast on the BBC in 1960: BoB
  • The Wars of the Roses, televised adaptation of Shakespeare’s minor tetralogy (three parts of Henry VI and Richard III) encompassing the period from the loss of the British Empire in France to the founding of the Tudor dynasty. Originally a Royal Shakespeare Company production directed by Peter Hall and John Barton, the four plays were condensed into three screenplays: Henry VI, Edward IV and Richard III. : BoB
  • The Spread of the Eagle: 1963 nine part series based on Shakespeare's Roman plays: BoB
  • Shakespeare in PerspectiveAlexander Street Press

On BoB you can also find BBC broadcasts of RSC and National Theatre productions including Greg Doran’s Hamlet, RSC 2010 (starring David Tennant), Trevor Nunn’s Merchant of Venice, NT 2001 (starring Henry Goodman), etc. You’ll also find many documentaries and special broadcasts. Read more about BoB in the Streaming Services section or link to our Guide.

Streaming Services

BoB (Box of Broadcasts): Learning on Screen

On demand TV and Radio for education. BoB is only available within the UK due to licensing. It contains an archive of over 2 million TV and radio broadcasts, with facilities to record recently aired programmes from over 65 free-to-air channels, to create video clips and playlists. You’ll find commercially available and made-for-television Shakespeare films, documentaries and radio productions. For example, searching Macbeth, results includes the following varied content:

  • Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood (1957)
  • Penny Woolcock’s stunning adaptation Macbeth on the Estate (1997)
  • Rupert Goold’s Macbeth for Chichester Festival Theatre (2012)
  • Berkoff’s Macbeth (1995) BBC Radio 4: debut of David Benedictus’s innovative version of the tragedy
  • Ethan Hawke on Macbeth: documentary on the actor’s discovery of the play.

Go to:  -  login with University username & password.


Drama Online

Drama Online provides access to RSC LiveShakespeare’s Globe on Screen, audio recordings of plays and additional performances, including Sarah Frankcom’s Hamlet for Manchester’s Royal Exchange, 2014, starring Maxine Peake. Log in to FindIt and search Drama Online in the Database section.


Alexander Street Press

Available through FindIt search for ‘Shakespeare AND Theatre’ will bring up a range of useful programming, including:

  • Shakespeare in Perspective (documentaries)
  • Shakespeare Series of televised productions for American TV
  • Televised American and Canadian performances
  • Teachers TV: documentaries on approaches to teaching Shakespeare



Global Shakespeares: video and performance archive

The Global Shakespeares Video & Performance Archive is a collaborative project providing online access to performances of Shakespeare from many parts of the world as well as essays and metadata provided by scholars and educators in the field. 

LION (Literature Online)

You can access audio recordings of Shakespeare's plays via LION (scroll down to the link at the bottom left-hand side of the homepage). These productions by the company Arkangel were recorded in 2003.

Theatre Voice: 

Theatre Voice is the web’s leading audio resource for British Theatre. An invaluable collection of interviews and discussions with theatre practitioners on all aspects of British theatre.

Other film related collections at the Shakespeare Institute Library

  • DVD Collections: The Shakespeare Institute Library and Main Library holds collections of loanable and reference DVDs which can be located on FindIt.
  • Russell Jackson Archive: (textual advisor on various Shakespeare film productions, including the substantial output of Kenneth Branagh, incl.HamletMuch Ado About Nothing,Love's Labour's LostAs You Like It, and Othello (directed by Oliver Parker).

  • Renaissance Films PLC archive: (Kenneth Branagh's Henry V and In the Bleak Midwinter)
  • Unpublished Shakespeare Film Script collection: (collection includes various film scripts never published including Peter Brook's King Lear, Zeffirelli's Taming of the Shrew, Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet
  • Newscuttings Collection: reviews, interviews with actors and directors, features on the 'making-of' and landmark productions, etc.
  • World Shakespeare Bibliography: bibliographical listings of articles, reviews, production details, critical analysis, dissertations, etc. Log in through FindIt.
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