How do governments conduct diplomacy, negotiate trade, protect their citizens abroad, share intelligence, or respond to acts of war?
These questions, urgent today, are the subject of a new exhibition, Hear the Ambassadors: The Performance of Diplomacy in the Age of Shakespeare which opens this week in Stratford-upon-Avon. A collaboration between the University of Warwick and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, it is based on the work of Carol Chillington Rutter, Professor of Shakespeare and Performance Studies at Warwick.
Drawing on original research by Professor Rutter, the exhibition illustrates the performance of democracy with objects, documents and early printed books from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s internationally-designated collections, together with facsimile paintings including Fialetti’s panoramic View of Venice (courtesy of Eton College) and Carpaccio's Duck Hunting on the Lagoon (Getty Museum).
Professor Rutter, who is also a Trustee of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, said: “Hear the Ambassadors takes us into the world of Henry Wotton, who was charged with re-instating diplomatic relations between London and the Venetian Republic after a 50 year gap, just as Shakespeare was exposing audiences to the complexities of international diplomacy in plays ranging from Hamlet and Twelfth Night to Othello and Antony and Cleopatra.
“This exhibition reminds us of the on-going work that ambassadors do to 'represent the person of the Prince' abroad, to 'speak in his person' and to 'practice the healing art' of diplomacy on a mission 'whose end is peace.’”
Hear the Ambassadors will run until 3 September 2018 at Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon. It is part of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s season 'The Peacemakers' – a programme of events to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War.
For more information visit: www.shakespeare.org.uk/events.
24 May 2018
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