The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is celebrating a record-breaking year in 2016, the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, as it welcomed around 825,000 visitors to the five historic Shakespeare houses in Stratford-upon-Avon – a six per cent increase from 2015. This beats the previous record of 820,000 visitors in 2014 during Shakespeare’s 450th birthday celebrations, and many millions more people of all ages from across the globe connected with the Trust through its education programmes and digital channels.

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust marked 400 years of Shakespeare’s creative legacy with a number of significant milestones including a contemporary re-interpretation of Shakespeare’s New Place and the return of Shakespeare’s will to Stratford-upon-Avon for the first time since it was written. The Trust also co-hosted 750 Shakespeare academics from all over the world for the 10th World Shakespeare Congress in August 2016.

Dr. Diana Owen, Chief Executive Officer of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, said, “The world’s eyes were on Shakespeare and his hometown of Stratford upon Avon for this special anniversary year and we’re proud to have played a huge part in these historic Shakespeare celebrations.  More people than ever before connected with our work which underpins our ongoing investment in the conservation of the Shakespeare family homes, the care of our world-class Shakespeare museum and archive collection and delivery of award-winning education programmes.

“Of course the hard work doesn’t stop here. 2016 has shown that Shakespeare’s works are perhaps more relevant today than they have ever been in helping us to understand the world around us, release our creativity and create conversations between everyone regardless of our age, background or ability. We want to continue to share our expertise and the joy of his works with new audiences. We’re delighted to be working on innovative initiatives for 2017 and beyond with a range of partners worldwide.”

In 2016 more people than ever before participated in and benefitted from the work of the Trust. Nearly 2 million primary school children took part in the annual Shakespeare Week celebration, and 195,000 people signed-up for the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) developed in partnership with the British Council. The Trust’s websites, online resources and blogging platforms also enjoyed over 1.2 million sessions.

The reopening of Shakespeare’s New Place in August was the world’s most enduring project to commemorate Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary. Since opening almost 50,000 people have walked through the grand oak and bronze gatehouse onto the site where Shakespeare’s home once stood, enjoying the beautifully restored gardens, contemporary artworks and a dynamic exhibition showcasing Shakespeare the writer, family man and prominent businessman as never seen before.

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust continues to celebrate and share Shakespeare’s legacy with a programme of creative initiatives planned for 2017 which includes a fascinating new exhibition at Hall’s Croft, drawing comparisons with Tudor and modern-day medicine, and a pop-up exhibition in Shakespeare’s Birthplace celebrating Shakespeare’s influence in South Asia as part of the British Council’s UK-India Year of Culture 2017 campaign. In September the Trust marks 170 years since Shakespeare’s Birthplace was purchased at auction with a re-enactment of Charles Dickens’ campaign to preserve the Birthplace of the world’s greatest writer for the nation and the enjoyment of future generations.  More information will be announced in due course, for details visit or on social media @ShakespeareBT.