This article explores the significance of the commemorative YMCA Hut – the Shakespeare Hut – built for Shakespeare's death tercentenary in 1916 on a site in Bloomsbury, originally bought for the erection of a Shakespeare Memorial National Theatre (SMNT). The Hut was the brainchild of Professor Israel Gollancz, leading light of the SMNT movement. The Shakespeare Hut was built primarily for the use of New Zealand Anzac servicemen, providing entertainment and shelter for those on leave and recuperating from their injuries – hundreds of thousands of beds were let from 1916 to 1919, before the Hut was rented to the Indian YMCA until its demolition c. 1924. Focusing on the notion of the Hut's place – or rather lack of it – in public memory, the article uses extensive new primary research to unpick the history and disappearance from memory of this unique wartime memorial to Shakespeare. The Shakespeare Hut is used as a paradigmatic model to examine the commemoration of Shakespeare; the notion of commemorative space and place; and the significance of forgetting in the study of collective memory and memorialization, especially during the declining years of imperialism and during World War I.
Bibliographical noteThis is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Shakespeare on 14/07/2014, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17450918.2014.926976
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- School of Humanities and Social Science - Principal Lecturer
- Centre for Arts and Wellbeing
- Performance and Communities Research and Enterprise Group - Lead