Shakespeare in Ten Acts

This 2016 British Library exhibition takes place as part of the 400 years celebrations since the death of William Shakespeare. Shakespeare’s reputation has shifted across the ages and his plays have been in constant transformation and reinvention. In this theatrical exhibition we have designed a series of spaces involving ten performances across time, each one reflecting the era in which it was performed.

The exhibition displays around 250 objects, including many books, films, audio tracks, paintings and drawings. We worked closely with the team at the Library, designing both the 3D and 2D elements, to ensure historical accuracy and story telling. We used different types of textures and colours that would bring alive each space, as well as a theatrical typography and visual ways of communicating the essence of each play.

We designed scene setting moments such as a shipwreck, and we collaborated with Senior Research Fellow in Design for Performance from London College of Fashion Donatella Barbieri and her students who designed a fascinating costume, suspended as part of the set. We also worked with lighting designers Studio ZNA who’s expertise in theatre lighting enhanced the immersive moments of the spaces.

'... the exhibition is the star; ... It is, to quote Hamlet, ‘A hit. A palpable hit!’’ — Jason Hewitt, Magazine of the Historical writer’s association

Photography: Dan Dunkley