THE ROYAL Shakespeare Company has launched the largest ever celebration of the playwright.
The Royal Shakespeare Community is inviting audiences from across the globe to play their part in keeping the work of Shakespeare alive.
Through a newly launched programme of audience-curated performance, digital screenings and supporting educational resources, communities will celebrate a shared love of the Bard, and place the creativity of audiences centre stage.
The programme launches with #ShareYourShakespeare – a virtual celebration in collaboration with The Folger Shakespeare Library in which audiences from across the globe are invited to share their love of Shakespeare in whatever way they choose.
Among those backing the #ShareYourShakespeare campaign is Doctor Who and Broadchurch star David Tennant, who last appeared at the RSC in Gregory Doran’s 2013 production of Richard II. Joining David are Charlotte Arrowsmith, David Bradley, Stephen Boxer, Edward Bennett, and Paapa Essiedu, who played the title role of Hamlet in Simon Godwin’s 2016 production for the RSC.
Other RSC alumni taking part are Fleabag star Ray Fearon, writer, actor and political activist John Kani, award-winning British stage and film actresses Jane Lapotaire, Joanne Pearce and Katy Stephens, and David Threlfall, star of the RSC’s 2016 production of Don Quixote and the long-running Channel 4 TV series Shameless.
Whether performing a speech, baking a cake, painting a picture, serenading a neighbour over the garden fence or teaching your dog to bark Macbeth, #ShareYourShakespeare will bring together famous faces from the RSC’s celebrated performance history with current acting company, Associate Schools, partner theatres and community theatre-makers around the world. Together they will create a virtual celebration of shared creativity, community spirit, and the enduring power of storytelling.
The most creative, surprising and inspiring contributions will be unveiled on April 23 – Shakespeare’s birthday – through the online premiere of the biggest ever Shakespeare performance.
Audiences everywhere are invited to Share their Shakespeare by film or photograph, in any way they like and upload it to Instagram, Twitter or Youtube, tagging @theRSC and using the hashtag #ShareYourShakespeare from today onwards.
Ideas could include baking a cake with your favourite quote in the icing, recreating the Romeo and Juliet balcony scene with vegetables, performing “All the world’s a stage” line by line with your family, drawing or painting your favourite scene, or re-writing a Shakespeare speech as a song?
You could event get your pets involved or tell a Shakespeare story in emojis
RSC artistic drector Gregory Doran said: “As a global pandemic cuts us off from one another in ways we could never have imagined, and with everyday life as we know it brought to an indefinite standstill, we need stories now, more than ever before. They help to make sense of the world around us and to bring us together, and who better to articulate our collective hopes, anxieties, fears and joys than William Shakespeare. His words, speeches and stories speak to us all in different ways whilst, at the same time, uniting us across borders, languages and cultures.
“With our stages currently empty, productions cancelled, and our buildings temporarily closed, it feels more important than ever to connect with our audiences, artists and partners across the world through shared experiences. Together we can celebrate those everyday acts of human creativity and resilience that continue to inspire us, raise a smile and propel us forward, together in times of crisis. That’s why we are handing control of the Royal Shakespeare Company to you, our Royal Shakespeare Community. And whilst we can’t be together for Shakespeare’s birthday this year, we will instead be marking the day with a global celebration in which audiences everywhere can play their part.”