On the 11th June 2016, I went to see the Our Shakespeare Exhibition at the Library of Birmingham with my writing group.
When I heard about the exhibition opening, I thought it would be a great trip idea for the writing group. And with me getting back into playwriting, I thought it would be interesting to find out more about one of England’s greatest playwrights, and his connection with the West Midlands.
So, after our morning meeting, we all jumped on a bus and headed towards Birmingham. Before we headed for the library, we decided to have some lunch at the Briar Rose, which was tasty and not overpriced. With our stomachs full, we headed back to the Library of Birmingham eager to see the exhibition.
The free exhibition was created to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. And within the exhibition, you can see Shakespeare’s death mask (I found this fascinating and spooky – a story idea could come from this), posters advertising Shakespeare’s plays over the years, photographs of performances, old books with the most amazing handwriting, Juliet’s Wall (you can write a message to your love), and you can also see items owned by Laurence Olivier and other famous actors. There’s so much to see in this exhibition.
Near the front of the exhibition, there is a display which allows you to find out what insult Shakespeare would have called you according to your initials. With my initials (N.J.A.S) my insult would be ‘Villainous Boil-brained Common-Kissing Strumpet’.
I was also amazed to find out how many sayings and phrases come from Shakespeare. You have ‘for goodness sake’, ‘dead as a doornail’, ‘wild-goose chase’, and ‘Knock, knock! Who’s there?’ The list is endless.
After the exhibition, we visited the seventh floor to see The Secret Garden. To get to The Secret Garden, you have to go outside where you are nearly on the roof. The view from here was amazing, and I took many photos. It was peaceful and would be the perfect location to get some writing done. I would consider returning just for this reason.
Moving on from the secret garden, we went to see the Shakespeare Memorial Room. Any book lover would love to have this library. However, the books look like they would disintegrate if you touched them. Thankfully any temptation to touch is blocked by the glass cabinets.
To end the day, we went to the library gift shop – no matter where I go if there’s a gift shop I always have to go in it. I bought a notebook and a Shakespeare key ring.
It was a lovely day (I always have great days with my writing group), and I felt inspired to continue on my writing journey. It would be amazing to have some of Shakespeare’s success, never mind all of it. I do plan to read more of Shakespeare’s plays, so I can truly appreciate this man’s talent.
If you would like to see the exhibition, you have until the 3rd September. So if you can get to go to see the exhibition, then I would recommend it to anyone, especially writers.
Since joining the Oldbury Writing Group, I have been on so many interesting trips, and I can’t wait for our next one.
Keep writing, folks!
My latest, The Horror Tree, post can be found at the link below.