VIDEO: David Tennant Backs The RSC's #ShareYourShakespeare Campaign
This Spring, the Royal Shakespeare Company will hand over its channels to the global community, in the largest ever celebration of Shakespeare by audiences in its history. From today the Royal Shakespeare Community will invite audiences from across the local, national and global community to play their part in keeping the work of Shakespeare alive. Through a newly launched programme of audience-curated performance, digital screenings and supporting educational resources, communities will celebrate a shared love of Shakespeare, and place the creativity of audiences centre stage.
#ShareYourShakespeare – a Global Celebration
The Royal Shakespeare Community programme launches with #ShareYourShakespeare – a virtual celebration in collaboration with The Folger Shakespeare Library in which audiences from across the globe are invited to share their love of Shakespeare in whatever way they choose.
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 David 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 (soon to be broadcast on the BBC). Other RSC alumni taking part are Fleabag starRay Fearon, writer, actor and political activist John Kani (Kunene and the King, 2019), award-winningBritish stage and film actresses Jane Lapotaire, Joanne Pearce and Katy Stephens,and David Threlfall, star of the RSC’s 2016 production of Don Quixote and the long-running Channel 4 TV series Shameless.
Whether performing a speech, baking a cake, painting a picture, serenading a neighbour over the garden fence or teaching your dog to bark Macbeth, #ShareYourShakespearewill bring together famous faces from the RSC’s celebrated performance history with current acting company, Associate Schools, partner theatres and community theatre-makers around the world. Together they will create a virtual celebration of shared creativity, community spirit, and the enduring power of storytelling.
The most creative, surprising and inspiring contributions will be unveiled on Thursday 23 April, William Shakespeare’s Birthday, through the online premiere of the biggest, Shakespeare performance delivered by and for the global community.
Audiences everywhere are invited to Share their Shakespeare by film or photograph, in any way they like and upload it to Instagram, Twitter or Youtube, tagging @theRSC and using the hashtag #ShareYourShakespeare from Wed 15 April onwards.
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
Drawing or painting your favourite scene
Re-writing a Shakespeare speech as a song?
Shouting your speech over the fence to your neighbours (two metres apart)
Acting out a moment through the medium of dance
Getting your pets involved
Telling a Shakespeare story in emojis
Gregory Doran, Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, said:
“As a global pandemic cuts us off from one another in ways we could never have imagined, and with everyday life as we know it brought to an indefinite standstill, we need stories now, more than ever before. They help to make sense of the world around us and to bring us together, and who better to articulate our collective hopes, anxieties, fears and joys than William Shakespeare. His words, speeches and stories speak to us all in different ways whilst, at the same time, uniting us across borders, languages and cultures.
“With our stages currently empty, productions cancelled, 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. Together we can celebrate those everyday acts of human creativity and resilience that continue to inspire us, raise a smile and propel us forward, together in times of crisis. That’s why we are handing control of the Royal Shakespeare Company to you, our Royal Shakespeare Community. And whilst 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: “What do people do when they find themselves in strange, challenging circumstances? They improvise. The Folger Shakespeare Library is adapting to the current pandemic as so many others are doing: by finding community wherever we can and engaging in new ways. One of the greatest virtues of Shakespeare’s characters is their ability to improvise. Think of Viola emerging from a shipwreck on the coast of Ilyria – someone who has been displaced, stressed, and called to do new things.
“We are challenging ourselves and others to try new things in the spirit of Shakespearean improv - and to share them with a global community. Creativity comes in many forms, and while very few of us could sit down during a pandemic and write King Lear – as Shakespeare is thought to have done – we can make the most of what we have. Join family members and friends, take whatever you have around you, and be part of a Shakespeare takeover in your own place of refuge. It doesn’t matter where you start or finish, how polished your results. We just want to show what ordinary creative people – which means, all people – can do when we put our minds and hearts together in a time of crisis. Just because we are sheltering in place doesn’t mean we can’t create in place too!”
Home Learning with the RSC
This news follows the previously announced partnership with BBC Culture in Quarantine to bring broadcasts of six of the nation’s best-loved Shakespeare titles via BBC Four and BBC iPlayer between now and September. A full broadcast schedule will be announced shortly.
A supporting package of free educational activities and resources produced in partnership with BBC Bitesize online will be made available to schoolchildren studying Shakespeare from home across the UK from 20 April onwards.
Following the digital ‘premiere’ of Twelfth Night on Sat 11 April featuring Adrian Edmondson as Malvolio and Kara Tointon as Olivia, the Royal Shakespeare Company is partnering with Marquee TV, to bring the magic of live theatre to audiences living rooms this Spring.
Audiences can enjoy streamed versions of up to 17 Royal Shakespeare Company productions via www.marquee.tv, the on demand streaming service for arts and culture.