Drawing Shakespeare at the V&A

Sian Schiaparelli © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Shakespeare continues to be an inspiration for people from all walks of life, all around the world.

This was reflected in the diverse programme of the V&A’s Shakespeare Festival, as well as in the creative responses to the Festival events themselves.

Siân Schiaparelli, artist and illustrator, captured the Festival in a number of beautiful sketches and drawings. Here is a small sample of the work that she created in response to the Festival.

If you want to find out more about Siân and her work, do take a look at her blog.

Shakespeare Tribes

Costume design students from the London College of Fashion, Central St Martins, the Edinburgh College of Art and Bristol Old Vic Theatre School created Shakespeare-inspired Tribes who claimed ‘territories’ in the Museum. The Tribes were defined by specific dress, behaviour and performance codes.

Shakespeare’s Tribe of Fools in the Dorothy and Michael Hintze Galleries. Sian Schiaparelli © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The Tribe of Fools, designed and directed by Oliver Cronk and Caroline Williams respectively, drew on characters from across Shakespeare’s plays (Feste, Touchstone, the Gravediggers and Lear’s Fool).

The Merry Owls of Windsock Tribe in the John Madejski Garden. Sian Schiaparelli © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Inspired by the final scene in the Merry Wives of Windsor, where the characters suddenly abandon their collars and corsets to run about the fields by moonlight dressed as fairies and goblins, costume designer Max Johns used his tribe to explore carnival and festival ritual.

Pop-Up Bardolatry

Actors from Sovereign Arts were embedded in the galleries, performing short scenes from Shakespeare at regular intervals throughout one of the festival days.

Ophelia’s monologue in the pond. Sian Schiaparelli © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Romeo and Juliet in the Medieval and Renaissance Gallery, 50a. Sian Schiaparelli © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The Bookshop Band: Shakespeare Concerts

The Bookshop Band, an acclaimed folk trio, performed an intimate concert of songs inspired by Shakespeare’s plays in the atmospheric surroundings of the National Art Library.

Sian Schiaparelli © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

‘Good People Draw Near’ – Street Songs of Shakespeare’s London

In Shakespeare’s time the city streets were full of singers, competing to be heard. Folk/early music specialists Alva (Vivien Ellis, voice, and Giles Lewin, fiddle, bagpipes, voice) recreated the sound of Shakespeare’s streets in the Grand Entrance, taking visitors on a vivid sonic journey of discovery!

Sian Schiaparelli © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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