The British Council today announced Shakespeare Lives, an unprecedented global programme of events and activities celebrating Shakespeare’s life on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of his death in 2016.
Shakespeare Lives is an invitation to the world to join in the celebrations by participating in a unique online collaboration and experiencing the work of Shakespeare directly on stage, through film, exhibitions and in schools. The programme aims to reach over half a billion people around the world. The British Council and the GREAT Britain campaign are working with host of British theatres, museums, educators and artists on brand new productions of Shakespeare’s plays, film adaptations, public readings and educational resources for schools and English language learners of all ages in the UK and around the world.
Engaging over half a billion people
Launching this autumn, Shakespeare Lives will run throughout 2016, exploring Shakespeare as a living writer who still speaks for all people and nations. Activities across English, education and the arts will explore the story of how a playwright from England came to be shared all over the globe. A major highlight will be All The World’s A Stage, a mass participation project that will invite people from all over the world to upload and share clips of themselves performing lines from Shakespeare plays. It will culminate in a record breaking, crowd-sourced performance and a new digital version of Shakespeare works.
Research carried out for the British Council in five overseas countries in 2014 showed Shakespeare’s enduring status as the UK’s greatest cultural icon in the eyes of the world. When young adults were asked to name a person they are interested in and associate with contemporary UK Arts and culture, William Shakespeare was by far the most popular response.
Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive, British Council said: “Power struggles, brutal politics, murder, love, passion, bitter feuds, human weakness and plain farce are universal themes as relevant now as they were when Shakespeare was writing. Shakespeare Lives will engage audiences overseas and in the UK with both the work of the Bard and with the best of contemporary Britain and will open up opportunities for UK institutions, businesses and organisations to work around the world, and for organisations around the world in the UK.”
More detailed plans and partners will be announced over the coming year. Find out more at www.shakespearelives.org or follow the hashtag #ShakespeareLives