William Shakespeare is undoubtedly one of the greatest playwrights this world has seen; to call his work transcendental and inspirational would still be selling him short. This year, as nations all over the globe pay tribute to his insurmountable contributions to the world of theatre and literature, Singapore too has held its fair share of events to commemorate his 400th death anniversary and celebrate his enduring legacy.
100 year old postcards inspired by Shakespeare’s plays.
The Singapore Philatelic Museum recently launched an exhibition, Shaking It with Shakespeare, which invites the public to discover glimpses of Shakespeare’s life back in the 1600s. Curated by Miss Mischelle Lim and Miss Lucille Yap, this interactive exhibition beautifully walks viewers through the playwright’s life; from his humble beginning as the son of a glove-maker and farmer to what we all know him as today.
Through the use of over 400 stamps and philatelic materials issued by 70 countries, Singaporeans are offered the chance to take a step back into time and learn about life in the Tudor Times.
What struck me the most was the way the curators had organised the exhibition to ensure that it is engaging, interactive and well-organised so that visitors can efficiently understand and learn the literary giant. Here are some of my personal favourites from their huge collection of artefacts:
Shakespeare and his works
An interactive installation of a library carries some of good ol’ Shakespeare’s most renowned titles, and is a great way for newcomers to get acquainted and for die-hard fans to geek out! Visitors are able to view the philately that was produced in tandem to Shakespeare’s works, and can also learn about how Shakespeare’s works has influenced artists across the globe. (No pun intended.)
Some plays organised in their respective globe theatre colours.
To encourage interaction with the exhibits, visitors are able to pull out the “books” from the shelf at the library. Each “book” contains a synopsis and quote from its respective play, and is categorised into its respective globe theatre flag colour; red for history, white for comedy, and black for tragedy.
Shakespeare in London
This part of the exhibition brought viewers through a timeline of Shakespeare’s career as a theatre performer, and how his works have evolved through time while continuing to inspire the English Literature and Arts industry today.
A display of stamps inspired by Shakespeare’s plays.
This exhibition changed my perception of stamps from something that is seems increasingly obsolete in today’s era to something that can serve as a window to the world. Apart from its functional aspects, each stamp contains a story. The postcards and stamps not only record the global influences that Shakespeare had, but also the fact that art has the ability to bond people across the world.
More about Shakespeare
Living in the age of exploration, Shakespeare explored the unknown and discovered new knowledge. This part of the exploration showcases the cabinet of curiosities, where Europeans brought back and displayed strange and exotic items from all around the world.
Replica of a hornbook.
One exhibit that caught my attention was the replica of a 16th Century hornbook which was used by children to learn the alphabet – Shakepeare’s play, Love’s Labour’s Lost, was in fact inspired by one! The Shaking It with Shakespeare exhibition was an unforgettable museum experience for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated how interactive the various displays were.
This exhibition is located in the atrium of the Singapore Philatelic Museum, and their opening hours are from 10am to 7pm daily. For more information regarding the exhibition, head over to their website to find out more.