RSC invites people to share their Shakespeare

Published: 15 April 2020
Reporter: Steve Orme

Global celebration: new RSC online campaign
David Tennant as Richard II Credit: Kwame Lestrade
Paapa Essiedu as Hamlet Credit: Manuel Harlan

Audiences from across the globe are being invited to share their love of Shakespeare in whatever way they choose as part of an initiative to keep the work of Shakespeare alive.

The Royal Shakespeare Company in collaboration with the Shakespeare Folger Library is beginning a global celebration of the Bard with #ShareYourShakespeare.

It will bring together famous faces from the RSC's performance history with partner theatres and community theatre-makers. Together they will create a virtual celebration of Shakespeare.

Among those backing the #ShareYourShakespeare campaign is David Tennant who last appeared at the RSC in Gregory Doran's 2013 production of Richard II.

Joining him 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’s Ray Fearon, writer, actor and political activist John Kani who wrote and appeared in Kunene and the King in 2019, Jane Lapotaire, Joanne Pearce, Katy Stephens and David Threlfall who was in the RSC's 2016 production of Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote.

The most creative, surprising and inspiring contributions will be unveiled on Thursday 23 April, when William Shakespeare's birthday is often celebrated.

Audiences are invited to share their Shakespeare by film or photograph and upload it to Instagram, Twitter or YouTube, tagging @theRSC and using the hashtag #ShareYourShakespeare.

Ideas for sharing your Shakespeare might 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 or telling a Shakespeare story in emojis.

RSC artistic director Gregory Doran said, “as a global pandemic cuts us off from one another in ways we could never have imagined, we need stories now more than ever before.

“Who better to bring us together and articulate our collective hopes, anxieties, fears and joys than William Shakespeare. His words, speeches and stories speak to us all in different ways while at the same time uniting us across borders, languages and cultures.

“With our stages currently empty 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.

“While 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.”

Michael Witmore, director of the Folger Shakespeare Library, added, “one of the greatest virtues of Shakespeare's characters is their ability to improvise. We’re challenging ourselves and others to try new things in the spirit of Shakespearean improv—and to share them with a global community.

“We want to show what ordinary people can do when we put our minds and hearts together in a time of crisis.”

Further information is available at the RSC web site.