What is Shakespeare Lives?

Shakespeare Lives is a global programme of events and activities celebrating the world's most popular playwright's work on the 400th anniversary of his death in 2016.

The programme will include a host of events, including innovative theatre and dance performances, film screenings, globally sourced art exhibitions, and educational resources for English

How can I get involved?

A major highlight will be a mass participation project inviting people worldwide to respond creatively to scenes from Shakespeare’s plays, culminating in a crowd-sourced digital reimagining of Shakespeare’s works. 

Mix the Play - Direct your own production of 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream' and experience Shakespeare as you never have before.

The Shakespeare Shorts competition is a chance for you to showcase your cinematic talent to the world and take part in a global tribute to Shakespeare. Using all things Shakespeare as a starting point – this could be anything from a whole play or sonnet, to your favourite character or theme – we want you to create a short film, and then ask the world to vote for it.

Plenty of other opportunities to get involved in Shakespeare Lives events and workshops can be found by visiting the Shakespeare Lives website.

To get involved in the conversation follow #ShakespeareLives on Twitter

Shakespeare Lives in Opera

Shakespeare’s extraordinary storytelling powers and his ability to draw vivid, complex characters influenced arts in various genres. In the 17th century, a new form of music theatre was invented in the Italian city of Florence and given the name ‘opera’; composers of opera began to engage with Shakespeare both as a dramatist and in terms of the psychological journeys made by the characters in his plays. From A Mid-summer Night’s Dream to Otello, from Hamlet to Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare’s works have been an inspiration to various great composers in combining words and music in a theatrical context.

Join us for a series of opera talks exploring Shakespeare as a living writer who still speaks for all people and nations.

Dying upon a kiss: Giuseppe Verdi's Otello An opera talk by Peter Gordon 

Jointly presented with Opera Hong Kong

Date & Time:  19.00-20.00 | Tuesday, 13 September 2016
Venue: Room 307-8, 3/F, British Council, 3 Supreme Court Road, Admiralty, Hong Kong
Speaker: Peter Gordon
Language: English
FREE admission, please click here for registration. For more details about the talk, please click here.

Shakespeare Goes to Opera: 
A Discussion led by Peter Gordon and Kingman Lo

Date & Time:  19.00-20.15 | Wednesday, 14September 2016
Venue: Room 307-8, 3/F, British Council, 3 Supreme Court Road, Admiralty, Hong Kong
- Peter Gordon, Editor, Asian Review of Books
- Kingman Lo, Director General, Musica Viva
Language: English
FREE admission, please click here for registration.  For more details about the talk, please click here.  

Shakespeare Lives in Theatre

Jointly presented by the British Council and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD), the Birds of Paradise Theatre Company has been working with hearing impairment and disabled artists in Hong Kong and the UK to create a thrilling courtroom drama inspired by the Tempest in support by Glasgow Life, Creative Scotland, Arts with the Disabled Association Hong Kong. 

Miranda and Caliban: The Making of a Monster explores the meaning of 'home’, our fear of its 'invasion' and our relationship to ‘the other’. It will be performed in Hong Kong and Glasgow in November 2016 simultaneously in English, Cantonese, British Sign Language and Hong Kong Sign Language for both a live and digital audience

For more details, please see Miranda and Caliban: The Making of a Monster's page.

Shakespeare Lives in Literature

The British Council has commissioned 'Living Shakespeare', a collection of essays by eminent thinkers around the world, from politicians to Nobel Prize-winning writers, interpreting themes in Shakespeare’s work for today.Each author was invited to write from a personal perspective and the diverse set of contributors draw on contemporary social, political and emotional experiences to make comparisons with Shakespeare’s works.

For more details, please check out at Living Shakespeare's page. 

Shakespeare on Big Screen

Committed to providing Hong Kong with the greatest variety of cinematic experiences, the British Council and Broadway Circuit are co-presenting a series of Shakespeare's screenings produced by Kennneth Branagh Theatre Company (KBTC) since January 2016 and Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) since February 2016 as part of the Shakespeare Lives event.

Find out more about the screenings:

Romeo and Juliet

Director: Kenneth Branagh
Cast: Lily James, Richard Madden, Derek Jacobi
Language: English (English subtitles)

Reuniting the stars of his celebrated film of Cinderella, Kenneth Branagh directs Richard Madden and Lily James as Romeo and Juliet and Derek Jacobi as Mercutio, in Shakespeareʼs heartbreaking tale of forbidden love.

A long feud between the Montague and Capulet families disrupts the city of Verona and causes tragic results for Romeo and Juliet. Revenge, love, and a secret marriage force the young star-crossed lovers to grow up quickly — and fate causes them to commit suicide in despair. 

Dates, times and venues for this screening

(RSC 2016) Hamlet

Director: Simon Godwin
Cast: Paapa Essiedu
Language: English

Hamlet has the world at his feet. Young, wealthy and living a hedonistic life studying abroad. Then word reaches him that his father is dead.

Returning home he finds his world is utterly changed, his certainties smashed and his home a foreign land. Struggling to understand his place in a new world order he faces a stark choice. Submit, or rage against the injustice of his new reality.

Simon Godwin (The Two Gentlemen of Verona 2014) directs Paapa Essiedu as Hamlet in Shakespeare’s searing tragedy. As relevant today as when it was written, Hamlet confronts each of us with the mirror of our own mortality in an imperfect world.

Dates, times and venues for this screening

The Merchant of Venice

Director: Polly Findlay
Cast: Jamie Ballard
Language: English (English subtitles)
Duration : 210 mins

In the melting pot of Venice, trade is God. With its ships plying the globe, the city opens its arms to all, as long as they come prepared to do business and there is profit to be made.

With the gold flowing all is well, but when a contract between Bassanio and Shylock is broken, simmering racial tensions boil over. A wronged father, and despised outsider, Shylock looks to exact the ultimate price for a deal sealed in blood. 

Polly Findlay (Arden of Faversham 2014) directs Shakespeare's uncompromising tragedy.

Dates, times and venues for this screening

Richard II

Director: Gregory Doran
Cast: David Tennant, Oliver Ford Davies, Michael Pennington, Nigel Lindsay
Language: English (English subtitles)
Duration : 210 mins 

A story of power and plotting, Richard II is the first of Shakespeare's four plays about the House of Lancaster.

Richard is King, a monarch ordained by God to lead his people. But he is also a man of very human weakness. A man whose vanity threatens to divide the great houses of England and drag his people into a dynastic civil war that will last 100 years. 

RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran directs David Tennant in the title role. David is joined in the Company by Oliver Ford Davies as the Duke of York, Michael Pennington as John of Gaunt and Nigel Lindsay as Bolingbroke.

Dates, times and venues for this screening.

The Winter’s Tale

Director : Kenneth Branagh, Rob Ashford
Cast: Judi Dench, Kenneth Branagh
Language: English (English subtitles)
Duration: 180 minutes

Shakespeareʼs timeless tragicomedy of obsession and redemption is reimagined in a new productionco-directed by Rob Ashford and Kenneth Branagh.

King Leontes appears to have everything: power, wealth, a loving family and friends. But sexual jealousy sets in motion a chain of events with tragic consequences. The Winter’s Tale will bring together a remarkable group of actors, featuring Judi Dench as Paulina and Kenneth Branagh as Leontes.

Dates, times and venues for this screening.

Shakespeare Lives Through Kenneth Branagh on Stage and Screen

Part of Shakespeare Lives, the British Council is proud to showcase the exhibition Shakespeare Lives Through Kenneth Branagh on Stage and Screen supported by Broadway Circuit. This exhibition celebrates Kenneth Branagh’s prolific career, which has seen him breathe new life into Shakespeare on stage and screen and open up the work of Shakespeare to a global audience. It will be exhibited from 7 September 2016  to 21 September 2016 at Palace ifc cinema and from 21 September 2016 to 5 October 2016 at The One cinema in line with the KBTC’s Romeo and Juliet screening.   

Please click here to find out more details.Don't miss out!

Shakespeare on Film

In January 2016, the British Film Institute (BFI) launched a major project celebrating Shakespeare on film. The project will include films dating from 1899 right up to the present day, all adapted from and inspired by Shakespeare’s work. The British Council is proud to collaborate with Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF) 2016 in presenting a series of Bard’s films to commemorate the 400th anniversary of his death. For more details, please check out at HKIFF's page.

External links