New Valentines Mansion exhibition aims to show just what Shakespeare means to Redbridge community

Members of the public wear William Shakespeare masks during the parade marking 400 years since the d

Members of the public wear William Shakespeare masks during the parade marking 400 years since the death of the playwright in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Wire/Press Association Images - Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire/PA Images

Just what does a man, dead for 400 years and born 112 miles away, have to do with the people of Redbridge?

A picture of Shakespeare's Bones, by Clement Ingleby a former Valentines Mansion resident, will be e

A picture of Shakespeare's Bones, by Clement Ingleby a former Valentines Mansion resident, will be exhibited at Valentines Mansion. - Credit: Hardip Sohal

Widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language, Shakespeare is coming to Valentines Mansion, Emerson Road, Ilford. Well, sort of.

Shakespeare in Redbridge, curated by Julian Walker, aims to show exactly what the poet, playwright and actor means to members of the community.

Mr Walker, who spoke to the Recorder about the innovative display, said: “We are hoping to have a crowdsourced exhibition which would be people’s experience and enjoyment of Shakespeare in Redbridge.”

Items featured in the exhibition will be borrowed from people around the borough to build up an idea of what he means to the borough.

Valentines Mansion

Valentines Mansion - Credit: citizenside.com


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The event hopes to show books, memorabilia, programmes and photographs from productions, ranging from documentation of a member of Shakespeare’s company who danced through Ilford in 1600, to photographs of a school production of West Side Story, a musical interpretation of Romeo and Juliet.

“It is an unusual way to go about an exhibition,” added Julian, of South Woodford.

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What Shakespeare has to do with the people of Redbridge is their appreciation and love of his work.

Amateur dramatic groups, like the Wanstead Players, perform many of his plays with modern twists at the Kenneth More Theatre, Oakfield Road, Ilford.

People visit the theatre to see them, or keep programmes and ticket stubs from West End shows and buy books about plays.

Shakespeare in Redbridge is one of two free exhibitions showing up to Wednesday, August 31, and centres on a signed copy of Clement Ingleby’s book, Shakespeare’s Bones.

The author lived in the mansion during the 19th century and his book, written in 1882, is about the ethics of digging up Shakespeare’s grave.

Last year, much discussion was held across the art world and national press about whether or not to exhume the playwright’s bones and examine them, like the skeleton of Richard III.

Perhaps the epitaph, which reads “Good frend for Jesus sake forebeare/ To digg the dust encloased heare/ Bleste be the man that spares thes stones/ And curst be he that moves my bones” proved cause for caution. By a stroke of luck Mr Walker stumbled across Clement Ingleby’s book just in time for the 400th anniversary of The Bard’s death.

“I acquired it a couple of months ago on a well-known internet auction site,” he said.

“I came across it by chance as I was looking for Shakespeare-related material.

“I was excited to have won the bid.”

Julian, a British Library English and literature teacher by day and artist and author by night, will also be displaying his own work at Valentine’s Mansion’s second presentation Studio Artist Exhibition – Shakespeare.

The event will feature a range of other artist works including glasswork, painting, prints, ceramics, collage and drawings all celebrating the man, his plays and his characters.

Both events run between 11am and 3pm, are for all ages and are free.

Visit valentinesmansion.com for more information.

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