“Shakespeare Lives”, a global programme for 2016 celebrates Shakespeare’s works and his influence on culture, education and society on the 400th anniversary of his death, launches in Singapore.

The British High Commission Singapore and British Council have announced a host of exciting activities for Shakespeare Lives, a major global programme to celebrate Shakespeare’s works and his influence, which will run from January to December 2016.

Want to know more about Shakespeare and his work? To kickstart Shakespeare Lives in Singapore, the British Council is offering a free online course which will look at the life and works of William Shakespeare, from his birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon to the Globe Theatre in London, from where he secured his central place in English literature.

Starting from 11 January 2016, this Exploring English: Shakespeare 6-week course will run up to 21 February 2016 and is for people who are learning English and interested in the language and legacy of William Shakespeare.

Featuring five of Shakespeare’s plays: Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, The Tempest and Macbeth, participants will learn English through sharing ideas and opinions on the universal themes Shakespeare addressed in his work.

As a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), users can sign up at any time. Short quizzes will check users’ understanding and there are no pre-requisites for participants other than access to a computer/mobile device and the internet.

Alexandra McKenzie, Deputy High Commissioner at the British High Commission Singapore comments, “Shakespeare is one of Britain’s first cultural exports and is still one of our greatest. The themes he covered – from guilt, ambition, and identity to love, redemption and justice – remain as relevant as ever. That we can continue to explore, interpret and understand the world around us through Shakespearean ideas is one of the reasons he continues to be one of the most celebrated writers of all time. We hope that through understanding Shakespeare, new generations from all walks of life can be inspired.”

“Shakespeare’s influence on the English language is enormous and he continues to inspire new generations of writers, artists, poets and many more. We are delighted to take this opportunity to remind the world of his genius and celebrate the extent of his global impact through our Shakespeare Lives events.” Roland Davies, Director, British Council Singapore.

Celebrating the enduring influence of one of the world’s greatest playwrights and poets, Shakespeare Lives will not only explore his global legacy but also demonstrate how his stories, themes and language are relevant in the modern world and must remain central to the lives of future generations.

Shakespeare Lives is possible due to the unprecedented number of partnerships and collaborations between the British Council, the GREAT Britain campaign partners and organisations including the BBC, the BFI (British Film Institute), the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Shakespeare 400 consortium, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and Shakespeare’s Globe.

From a unique online collaboration to performances on stage and film, exhibitions, public readings, conversations and debates and educational resources for classrooms and English language learners, people around the world in over 140 countries and of all ages will have the chance to actively participate and get involved throughout the year.

Shakespeare Lives events in Singapore:

  • New digital interactive materials for English language learners of all ages, including a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, on the FutureLearn platform;
  • An international online campaign, Play Your Part, launched on Twelfth Night (5 January) where prominent personalities share a favourite scene or quote from a Shakespeare play on their social media platforms, tagged under #PlayYourPart;
  • A Shakespeare Lives Writing the City creative writing competition;
  • A touring Shakespeare Lives exhibition at various public libraries from 15 March to 30 September, in partnership with the National Library Board;
  • Public talks and workshops by a prominent UK Shakespeare expert;
  • A Shakespeare Film Festival, in partnership with The Arts House;
  • A Shakespeare film screening at European Union Film Festival

Additionally, The British Council and BBC Arts are collaborating with key cultural partners to showcase the best of modern British Shakespeare for international audiences. This includes an online ‘Shakespeare Day Live’ on 23 April 2016 and a six month Shakespeare Lives online festival where audiences all over the world will be able to watch and respond to 24 hour live stream of Shakespeare content from the UK. There will be new and refreshed Shakespeare content added over the next 6 months.

For the full range of exciting global activities in 2016, visit http://www.shakespearelives.org and follow #ShakespeareLives

For the latest updates on Shakespeare Lives programme within Singapore you can, please visit http://www.britishcouncil.org/shakespearelives.

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