Shakespeare Lives is asking the world to celebrate the Bard with plays and crowd-sourced acts
It all began with a survey last year. When young adults in five countries (including India) were asked to name someone from the UK arts scene who interested them, William Shakespeare topped the list. So, on the occasion of the Bard’s 400th death anniversary next year, the British Council is organising a global programme of events. “‘Shakespeare Lives’ will begin this July and run through 2016, and will explore him as a ‘living writer’,” says Mei-kwei Barker, director, British Council South India.
Besides working with theatre groups, museums, educators and artists—like Shakespeare’s Globe, and the Royal Shakespeare Company—on new plays, film adaptations, public readings and the like, there will also be a global short filmmaking competition. “Called ‘Bitesize Bard’, we are inviting budding filmmakers to reinterpret one of eight iconic Shakespeare scenes in a single take. A panel will then select and award the 12 best films,” says Barker. The programme, which aims to reach over half a billion people, will also have a unique online collaboration. “All The World’s A Stage will have people from all over the world uploading clips of themselves performing lines from Shakespeare plays. It will culminate in a crowd-sourced performance and a new digital version of Shakespeare’s works,” she adds.
In India, we can look forward to Filter Theatre’s Twelfth Night—a fast-paced play that will tour 12 cities, including Chennai, later this year. British Council will also be holding screenings of Shakespeare’s plays from the BBC and will be bringing down British writers and artistes, who will present their work along with their Indian counterparts.
Surya Praphulla Kumar