SHAKESPEARE is taking to the silver screen to mark the 400th anniversary of his death next year.
Short versions of all 37 plays are being filmed and will be shown on big screens along the banks of the Thames in London over the birthday weekend of April 23 and 24.
The Globe Theatre project, dubbed The Complete Walk, will extend along a two mile stretch of the Thames from Westminster Bridge to Tower Bridge and will be the centrepiece of London’s celebration of Shakespeare’s life and work.
The screenings will be free with each of the 37 screens showing the ten minute long films on a loop.
Actors will be sent around the world to shoot the films, including sites where the plays were set – from Cleopatra beside the Pyramids, to Shylock in Venice’s Jewish ghetto, and Hamlet on the rocks of Elsinore.
Additional locations will include Julius Caesar in the Roman Forum, Romeo and Juliet in Verona, and King Lear and Cordelia on Dover beach.
Dominic Dromgoole, Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe, said: “Shakespeare spent half his life in London, wrote all his plays there, and presented them all beside the Thames.
“We think it is suitable and fitting that the huge range of his work should be celebrated 400 years after his death in a big free public event, utilising the very latest technology, along a public walkway beside the same dirty old river, so rich with history.
“The ability to make these films in so many different countries, and to show them in an equal number, will be a further celebration of Shakespeare’s astonishing reach into the world.”
The films, starring noted Shakespearean actors yet to be named, will be directed by a selection of young directors and each will include fresh material, interwoven with Globe on Screen titles, footage from the BFI’s Silent Shakespeare films and newly created animation.
The £500,000 project is being paid for by the Globe, with support from the British Council, the mayor of London and an anonymous donor.
The films will be be shown around UK and abroad throughout 2016, after which the films will be accessible on the theatre’s online Globe Player.