The Chinese Premier’s official three day UK visit began on Sunday with a visit to Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford-Upon-Avon. His Excellency Wen Jiabao is reportedly a big fan of the the playwright and enjoyed a visit to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust where he saw an original folio of Shakespeare’s plays, dating back to 1623, a live performance of scenes from Hamlet in the Birthplace Gardens and toured the house where Shakespeare was born.
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Premier Wen met culture secretary Jeremy Hunt at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust along with the Trust’s Director, Dr Diana Owen, and Honorary President and scholar, Professor Stanley Wells.
Dr Diana Owen commented on how the Chinese Premier enjoyed his visit so much that he stayed for half an hour more than was scheduled and declared Shakespeare “the greatest writer of all time”. The Chinese Prime Minister presented the Trust with a Chinese/English set of Shakespeare’s Complete Works and he was given the gift of a leather-bound copy of Shakespeare’s Sonnets.
The British Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said that he hoped a billion Chinese people might see the pictures of Wen Jiabao’s visit and come to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust themselves. Ross Magri, Managing Director at Sarner, the company that designed and created the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust visitor centre in 2009 comments, “We installed advanced technology to control the flow of visitors but the attraction would definitely struggle with those kinds of visitor numbers!"
Sarner designed and installed the immersive exhibition, ‘Life, Love and Legacy: A New Introduction to William Shakespeare’, at the Shakespeare’s Birthplace visitor centre two years ago to bring the story of Shakespeare to life. The walk through attraction’s sets, scenery, lighting and audio visual presentations show Shakespeare’s journey from Tudor Stratford to London and how his life’s work has influenced the world of literature and theatre.