Shakespeare’s family homes to be re-created in China

Shakespeare’s family homes are set to be re-created in China under an exclusive agreement signed today.

Shakespeare’s Birthplace and Shakespeare’s New Place will be reproduced following a deal between Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and Fuzhou Culture and Tourism Investment Company.

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is the independent charity that cares for the world’s greatest Shakespeare heritage sites and collections in the playwright’s home town of Stratford-upon-Avon.

It will provide its expertise as consultant to the project to reproduce two of the famous Shakespeare family homes at San Weng, a new international heritage and cultural centre near Fuzhou City, Jiangxi Province, South China.

Shakespeare’s New Place garden

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust will provide historical and contemporary data for the design and construction of the original houses, together with expert guidance on traditional building methods and materials, and support for exhibition content and presentation.

Shakespeare’s Birthplace has been conserved since 1847, when the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust was founded.  However, Shakespeare’s adult home at New Place has been lost to the UK since 1702.

It’s recreation in China will be informed by the Trust’s archaeological exploration of the site (2009-2016) which produced an architectural model of the house that Shakespeare knew.

San Weng, (which translates as Three Masters) will celebrate three great literary figures of East and West – Shakespeare, Cervantes, and Tang Xianzu, the region’s own renowned playwright.  It will also feature a ‘Stratford-upon-Avon’ quarter, styled on the Tudor architecture of the real market town in England.  The new town is expected to open in 2020.

Peter Kyle, chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, said: “We are delighted to enter this agreement to assist the Fuzhou Municipal Government in realising their ambitious plans to bring Shakespeare’s family homes to life for visitors to San Weng.  The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has a unique remit, charged by Act of Parliament to preserve our greatest Shakespeare heritage assets, and to share them with the world.  This innovative, two-way partnership will significantly advance our charitable objective to promote worldwide the enjoyment and understanding of Shakespeare’s works life and times.  By providing our knowledge and expertise to help the Fuzhou team to create an authentic spirit of place, we will enable more of our ongoing work here in the UK to conserve, sustain and share the extraordinary Shakespeare legacy in our care.   Millions of people who might never have the opportunity to visit our global Shakespeare centre in Stratford-upon-Avon will now have a chance to enrich their connection with Shakespeare in China.”

Construction is underway and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust team will visit the site later this month.