#warwick4amproject got our Shakespeare on.

20 Nov

Despite claims this morning to the contrary, I have not temporarily evolved beyond the reach of sleep so this is the post I started this morning on getting home from the Shakespeare’s birthplace (If you want to read more on the background see: The 2nd Warwick 4am Project.)

I had a fantastic night, so I’d like to start by offering a huge thanks to everyone who took part on this rather icy November morning and made it the experience it was. None of this would have happened without Sasha Taylor, Nivi Morales, Glynis Powell and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, thank you all for making such a memorable evening and to all our photographers for bringing their cameras and enthusiasm to capture the magic of 4am.

13 photographers were present and we had total unrestricted access to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust visitors centre, the house grounds and Shakespeare’s birthplace itself. On behalf of all those who took part, I think I am safe to say that we are eternally greatful to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust for their kind hospitality throughout our time with them.

From the very moment we arrived at the visitor’s centre where our experience began, we found ourselves in the very capable hands of Don Foster, one of the Trust’s guides who took us on a whistle-stop tour of the visitor’s centre and the history of Shakespeare! Don was proof of a theory that I have, but seldom get to test, that the ability to talk with great passion and enthusiasm about a subject at 4am in the morning is truly an indication of a genuine love. It was during this tour that an early highlight of the event came for me, with a chance to see and photograph a genuine First Folio:

First Folio of Shakespeare's Plays

I imagine that’s how Christians would feel seeing the tablets bearing the ten commandments, it was my first time being that close to one of the folios  and I have to say it felt exciting.

Unfortunately, due to the constraints of time, it wasn’t long before the tour of the visitors centre was concluded and we were led through the house gardens and into Shakespeare’s Birthplace. We couldn’t have had much better conditions this morning for creating an atmosphere around the event and as we walked through the grounds low fog gave everything a ethereal air of improbability. Once in the house we were treated to a brief history of the building and its occupants before, at 3:57am we were invited to explore the house. We were all very grateful that Don, from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, was always on hand to answer any questions that any of our photographers had on history and the artefacts in the house.

The photographers needed little encouragement to explore and within moments of the off everyone had gone their separate ways, spreading out throughout the house and grounds searching for their ideal shot, which is always great to see. I spent my time wandering around the house capturing photographs on my phone and taking in the history of the place. For well over an hour (Special thanks to the Trust for allowing us those extra minutes to finish off.) the house reverberated with excitement and the sound of shutters closing and in what seemed like no time, we found ourselves huddled together outside the house for our final shot of the evening:

2nd #Warwick4amproject Group Photograph


It was a highlight for all of us who had been involved in organising  to see lots of tired faces and beaming smiles from the photographers as we all trooped out from the Visitor’s Centre at the end of the event. Thanks again to all those involved and to anyone reading this who hasn’t yet been to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, it’s well worth a trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon just to pay them a visit!

You can see the pictures taken at the Warwick 4am Project on our Flickr Group and my shots from the evening can be found on My Flickr Page.

What next

Just about everyone present this morning asked us at the end of the event what was next for the #Warwick4amproject which was lovely to be asked. We are currently looking into events for 2012 with Coventry Cathedral being one of the venues we’re hoping for next, but watch this space, we have your email addresses and will notify you as soon as we have more definite arrangements.

On a personal level, I think Shakespeare’s Birthplace is going to be pretty difficult to top as a venue, but I am always happy to be proved wrong. If you have a venue that you think might be ideal for a 4am Project and would be willing to open it at this magical hour in the morning, I feel sure we know some photographers who would love to come and take some pictures.

Call to arms

If you’re reading this thinking, ‘I’d love to be involved in something like that’. Then it’s very simple really, if no one is running an event like this in your area, you’re welcome to join in and come along to our next event, but better still, why not organise your own event for your area. What’s stopping you?


One Response to “#warwick4amproject got our Shakespeare on.”

  1. sashataylor November 20, 2011 at 10:09 pm #

    Great post Paul. Would also like to add that if anyone wants some assistance in running one of these events please let me know @sasha_taylor and I will be happy to provide advice or take part if I can [as I am sure @paulcoxon81 would also 🙂 ]


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