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To be or not to be? A Tudor Fuzhou

Shakespeare-w

Is this a replica I see before me? It’s a question that needs to be asked in China, where WiC has profiled some controversial cases of construction copycats (not least when the 923 residents of the idyllic Austrian village of Hallstatt discovered they had a doppelganger in somewhat less lovely Huizhou).

Now Fuzhou wants to get in on the act with its own bit of Shakespearean England. The city in Jiangxi has reached a deal with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to build “the world’s first recreation of the two houses where the English playwright was born, lived and died”, the Financial Times reports.

The trust says that it will be paid a fee by Fuzhou but will insist that the project looks authentic (a particular concern after a Chinese version of Tower Bridge improved on the original landmark by building four towers rather than two).

The construction will be part of a new town called San Weng, which will welcome its first residents in 2020. However, as the FT points out, the Bard’s dwellings won’t be easy to duplicate. One of the houses – the one where Shakespeare died – was knocked down in 1702 and will have to be created from plans held by the trust and historical records from Stratford-upon-Avon, the city of his birth.


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