Shakespeare's London (from 2016)
Southbank Mosaics will establish a permanent memorial of Shakespeare's London life by creating a series of site-specific mosaics on the streets he walked, evoking the vibrancy of the Elizabethan city and scenes and great lines from the plays he wrote.
Mosaic is a metaphor for both London and Shakespeare's body of work: places where a dazzling variety of distinct elements—peoples, cultures, faiths, ideas—come together to make a brilliant whole.
These colourful and intriguing installations will entice visitors away from the crowded river front, into the by-paths where Shakespeare lived, worked, and played. Increasing foot traffic will also increase public safety, and trade for the small businesses of the back streets of Bankside, Southbank, St. Paul's, the City, and Westminster.
Key partners on this project include Southwark, Lambeth and Westminster Councils, The City of London, Shakespeare's Globe, St. Pauls, Cross River Partnerships, King's College London, The British Museum, and the Museum of London. Participants will comprise local residents, including school children and patients on referral.
According to studies by the Heritage Lottery Fund, heritage tourism contributes tens of billions of pounds to the UK economy annually. Shakespeare's Globe and the Royal Shakespeare Company enjoy increasing visitor numbers and revenue year after year. RSC audience members can expand their "Shakesperience" by visiting sites associated with the playwright's life in Stratford-upon-Avon. The same is not true for Globe visitors, there is virtually nothing left of the built environment of Shakespeare's London. The series of mosaics we install will create a "Shakespeare's Walk", linking existing streets on both sides of the Thames to their historical connections, giving London's Shakespeare tourists a deeper appreciation for his connection to the city and insight into the city's influence on his work.
We are timing the launch of this project to capitalize on the energy and enthusiasm generated by the Shakespeare 400 project in 2016. This year-long series of nation-wide events will celebrate Shakespeare's life upon the 400th anniversary of his death. It is essential we roll out the project in tandem with such a high-visibility initiative to establish the momentum necessary to complete what will be a 10-15 year project engaging at least 200 participants each year.