Shakespeare Lives – To be or not to be, A Global Campaign

‘Shakespeare Lives’ was launched in January 2016 by British Prime Minister David Cameron with a call to the world to join in ‘this unique opportunity to celebrate the life and unique legacy of this man; ensuring that, as he himself put it, ‘ all the world’s a stage’ and that through his legacy, truly, Shakespeare Lives’. To support this initiative,  a major global programme to celebrate the 400-year legacy of Britain’s greatest cultural figure- William Shakespeare’s work and influence has been running from January 2016 and the programme will end in December 2016.

In Singapore, the British High Commission and British Council will commemorate Shakespeare Day on April 23rd with a series of events and talks in Singapore. Roland Davis, Country Director for British Council Singapore says, “‘Shakespeare Lives’ is a global collection of events and activities involving the British Council and the GREAT Britain Campaign, and in Singapore, we are collaborating with our libraries, museums, educators and theatre groups and arts venues to celebrate the legacy of Shakespeare, along with modern adaptations of Shakespeare’s wide body of work, ranging from plays and films to public reading sand new educational resources.”

HE Scott Wightman, British High Commissioner in Singapore says, ‘We are delighted to have the opportunity to celebrate the life of the Bard here in Singapore with a wide series of activities supported by local talent and partners. Many aspects of his work, from his language to his performance style, continue to influence theatre and literature across the world, including Ong Keng Seng’s intercultural “Lear” which blended Japanese Noh theatre, Beijing opera, along with Thai classical dance and indigenous Indonesian music, and other more recent projects performed by theatre groups like Cake Theatrical Productions and Singapore Repertory Theatre. ‘Shakespeare Lives’ celebrates the best of British creativity, innovation and education while showcasing Shakespeare’s enduring influence on our shared culture and language. We look forward to as many people getting involved in these activities over the course of this year.”

The events and venues

    • Letters to Shakespeare Exhibition at selected National Libraries- Esplanade (March 15th to May 15th); Central Public Library (May 19th to June 19th); Marine Parade Public Library (June 23rd to July 23rd); Clementi Public Library (July 27th to August 29th); Woodlands regional Library (September 2nd to September 29th)
    • Shakespeare and the Law talk by Professor Paul Raffield from University of Warwick, at Singapore Management University (April 4th). For more information:
    • ‘Shaking it with Shakespeare’ exhibition at Singapore Philatelic Museum (May 2016 to March 2017). An interactive exhibition for children and perhaps first-timers about Shakespeare’s poetic nature and theatre works. For more information:

For The Theatre Maniacs

  • Ophelia by Cake Theatrical Productions. Venue: Esplanade Theatre Studio (March 17th to 18th, 8pm and March 19th, 3pm and 8pm). Inspired by Shakespeare’s character, Ophelia reflects on the grey areas of our humanity; the deep-seater desires, motives and actions that account for the tragedies that keep the human race in a constant state of drowning. For more information:
  • Shakespeare Lives in Film. Venue: The Arts House, Screening Room. A showcase of six classic adaptations of the Bard’s work. King Lear (April 21st, 730pm); Theatre of Blood (April 22nd, 730pm); Hamlet (April 23rd, 3pm); Macbeth (April 23rd 730pm); Othello (April 24th, 3pm); All Night Long (April 24th 730pm). For more information:
  • National Theatre Live on screen presentation of Hamlet starring Benedict Cumberbatch, National Theatre Live. Directed by Lyndsey Turner (Posh, Chimerica); Produced by Sonia Friedman Productions. Presented by Esplanade.
  • Shakespeare in the Park- Romeo & Juliet. Venue: Fort Canning Park (April 27th onwards). Presented by Singapore Reportory Theatre. For more information: #PlayYourPart
  • The European Union Film Festival (EUFF). EUFF will screen Peter Greenaway’s Prospero’s Books based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, as witnessed through the eyes of Prospero. The film is complimented by Michael Nyman’s soaring score. Speculated dates: mid of May 2016. For more information:

For writers
Writing the City “Shakespeare lives… in Singapore” creative writing competition. Closing date April 8th, 2016. For more information:

For stamp collectors 

Stay tune to Singapore Post for stamps release, April 23rd. Images and details of the stamps will be posted in the next few weeks.

For coffee lovers, Shakespeare brewing at Costa Coffee

A collaboration of London’s favorite coffee shop, Costa; the British High Commission, the British Council and the Singapore Repertory Theatre (SRT), Costa will be kicking off Shakespeare campaign in the month of April 2016. In tribute to the Bard, Costa will give away free Shakespeare Cortos to anyone with the name William, for one day only. Refer to Costa Facebook page for details, Singapore only.

*Corto is known as the essence, contains the sweetness and acidity of coffee. The campaign includes the Corto collection – a range of short, smooth, intense crafted coffees. Four variants are available for coffee lovers: Corto Black, Corto Classic, Corto Caramel and Corto Mocha.

Featured image: Concept drawing of William Shakespeare on coffee froth.

Source: British High Commission Singapore


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