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Blog Working With Shakespeare - Q&A with Elliot Lambert

Working With Shakespeare - Q&A with Elliot Lambert

By Jenni Harrison | Guest Blog

Working With Shakespeare - Q&A with Elliot Lambert

Elliot Lambert, a guide at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, talks to us about all things Shakespeare, giving us a unique insight into his work and love of the bard.

Hi Elliot, thanks for talking with us!

What is your role at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust?

My job is to talk about Shakespeare – I give talks and explain Shakespeare’s history and legacy to people who visit Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s home town.

What led you to working for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust?

I was hired as an actor after I finished studying Shakespeare – I performed Shakespeare every day to visitors for over a year. After that I started working as a guide, and have ever since.

What do you love most about Shakespeare?

I have always liked poetry and the words are so beautiful, they sound so lovely when spoken. Also sometimes you will hear a line and think “wow, that’s exactly how I feel!” I love those moments.

Which is your favourite play or poem by Shakespeare?

I love Hamlet, it’s a personal favourite of mine, but one of my other favourites is Much Ado About Nothing. It’s funny and heartfelt and I’ve seen so many good productions.

What is an interesting story or lesser-known fact about Shakespeare that you’ve discovered in your time working there?

His life as a businessman, that people don’t really know about. He made a lot of money through investing and business, including renting out his childhood home as a pub. It stayed an inn for over 200 years, and it was just one of the enterprises that Shakespeare used to make all his money. The plays and poems were a very minor part of his income.

Why do you think Shakespeare’s work continues to interest audiences?

His work spans a variety of genres and styles, and there are endless ways to interpret it. Because his work is so ingrained in our culture, putting on a Shakespeare play can feel very much like “This is such a famous and universal thing – how do I feel about it? How do people like me experience this world?” Shakespeare is universal in a lot of ways, and that means that people can take it and mould it and make it their own, and in doing that they can open a dialogue about culture, society, personhood. The opportunities are almost endless with Shakespeare.

What are the challenges involved in preserving Shakespearean heritage?

Apart from the actual preservation of physical artefacts and buildings, which presents a lot of challenges, I would say working against Shakespeare’s reputation. He is so famous that just about everyone who I meet has their own idea of Shakespeare. I have to be able to introduce facts that people don’t know, and aspects that people might not have considered, or even disagree with. There’s also so much unknown when talking about the past, there aren’t always definitive answers and that can be a hard thing to tell people. But that’s the fun, I think. I get to be the person to share this information with others.

Do you have any advice for young people interested in careers in heritage or museums?

I would say to look at what interests you. In my experience, people who work in this area always have their own very specific interests and areas of research, no matter their role. It’s that passion and interest that really make a difference. Everyone has a unique point of view, and so they can bring something else out of looking into the past that no one else can.

(All views expressed are those of the author and are not representative of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.)

If you'd like to learn more about the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and what they do, head to their website: www.shakespeare.org.uk

You can also check out Young Writers' Shakespeare Fact Pack which is packed with activities and info. 

Published: Fri 15th Mar 2024

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