Papers Relating to Shakespeare: the Animated Tales

Scope and Content

Papers relating to Shakespeare: the Animated TalesThe Animated Tales series comprised twelve, thirty-minute animated adaptations of Shakespeare plays, co-produced by S4C and Soyuzmulitifilm (Moscow). The papers include cassette recordings of voice tracks, working scripts abridged by Leon Garfield, copies of story boards, correspondence, minutes of project meetings, publicity material, articles and reviews.

Administrative / Biographical History

Shakespeare: the Animated Tales was co-produced by HBO(USA), HIT Communications, S4C Welsh Television, and the Fujisankei Media Group. It was originally conceived by the Welsh television network S4C. Series executive producer Christopher Grace, and producer/director Dave Edwards engaged Soyuzmultifilm Studios in Moscow to produce the animation. Three distinct styles were utilised: traditional cel animation, puppetry and painting on glass plates. Shakespeare's texts were adapted by Leon Garfield. Members of the Royal National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company recorded the voice-overs. An Academic-Educational Advisory Panel was established, which included Professor Stanley Wells, Professor of Shakespeare Studies at the University of Birmingham, Director of the Shakespeare Institute and Editor of The Oxford Shakespeare, whose role it was to ensure the accuracy of the texts. The panel also included Dr Rex Gibson, Michael Marland, C.B.E, and Roy Kendall as the Academic Co-ordinator.

Shakespeare: the Animated Tales was made in two series. BBC2 transmission of the first series began on 9 Nov 1992, and included A Midsummer Night's Dream (directed by Robert Saakiantz; cel animation); The Tempest (directed by Stanislav Sokolov; puppet animation); Macbeth (directed by Nikolia Serebriakov; cel animation); Romeo and Juliet (directed by Efim Gamburg; cel animation); Hamlet (directed by Natasha Orlova; painting on glass), and Twelfth Night (directed by Maria Muat; puppet animation). It was repeated as a BBC Schools Broadcast in 1993. A Welsh language version of this series was produced by S4C. The second series was broadcast in 1994, and included Othello, Richard the Third, As You Like It, The Winter's Tale, The Taming of the Shrew, and Julius Caesar.

Reference: University of Birmingham, Special Collections Department, Online Archive Catalogue ( Accessed May 2002.


The collection is arranged in the following categories: 1. Voice Tracks 2. Scripts 3. Story Boards 4. Correspondence and working papers 5. Publicity Material & Reviews.

Access Information

Open. Access to all registered researchers.

Acquisition Information

This material was collected and deposited by Professor Stanley Wells, former Director of the Shakespeare Institute and text advisor to the Animated Tales project.

Other Finding Aids

A catalogue is available in electronic format on the University of Birmingham Special Collections website: A paper catalogue to file and item level is available in the Shakespeare Institute Library.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the University Archivist, Special Collections (email: Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.


Further deposits are not expected.

Related Material

Videorecordings of Shakespeare: the Animated Tales, (Island World Video, 1992) held in the Shakespeare Institute Library video collection [refs. PR 2803, PR 2807, PR 2808, PR2821, PR 2827, PR 2829, PR 2832, PR 2839); Something rich and strange: narrative alchemy in Shakespeare: the animated tales' Hamlet, by M. T. Mastandrea (Dissertation, M.A. in Shakespeare Studies, University of Birmingham, Shakespeare Institute, 1998) [ref.Diss.A3.B98]; Anti-feminism in Shakespeare: the animated tales, by B. A. Evans (Dissertation, M.A. in Shakespeare Studies, University of Birmingham, Shakespeare Institute, 1996) [ref. Diss.A3.B96]