Toni Racklin, Head of Theatre, Barbican – visit to Tokyo to see the Ninagawa Company in Cymbeline with producer Thelma Holt

Posted to General with 0 Comments on 30.04.12 by Sarah Ellis

Ninagawa Company in Cymbeline

(Production photo by Takahiro Watanable)

Cherry trees and their blossoms go by the name of sakura in Japan and carry great cultural significance.  The new blossom sums up all sorts of delicious things – Spring, good health, new beginnings.  To find myself in Tokyo at this time felt auspicious.

In Ueno Park people sit under the trees to picnic and appreciate their beauty. Wonderful feasts of colourful food are spread out before them. I am deeply envious and want to have a taste of everything.

The Park is the setting for the National Museum of Western Art, designed by Le Corbusier.The building has great shapes and angles – light is shed in crafty ways, to illuminate the paintings, while at the same time protecting them from damage. It feels so much like the Barbican, both inside and out. This isn’t too surprising, given Le Corbusier’s huge influence on the architects who designed it. Talk about a home from home – although we can’t lay claim to quite the same level of cherry blossom action in EC2…

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Director Wang shares his interpretation of Richard III for Globe to Globe

Posted to General with 0 Comments on 29.04.12 by Sarah Ellis

Director Wang

Why Richard III?

We are hoping to bring our understanding of interpreting Shakespeare to British audiences. The play takes place 400 years ago and it’s about the power of the kingdom.  However through this story, we really want to express our understanding of the desire and ambition for power.  We want to examine how the search for power has tortured human nature and how easily it has pushed an ordinary person to the edge.

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Shakespeare and the Internet at Berkeley by Hugh Richmond

Posted to General with 0 Comments on 15.04.12 by Sarah Ellis


For many years the English Department of the University of California at Berkeley has stressed performance as an aid to student understanding of Shakespeare’s plays, actively presenting them as scripts, not as eccentric novels for private reading. Its Shakespeare Program stimulates students’ theatre awareness, not just passively through film and video, but via live performances by faculty and professional actors. Above all students themselves are encouraged to stage short scenes, performed for classmates, which have often evolved into full public staging of his plays, attracting curious audiences with rarely performed scripts, such as The Two Noble Kinsmen and Henry VIII.

We search the campus for apt open-air venues, usually before classical buildings with many doors, steps and balconies, as well as using theatres, including one memorable production of Much Ado at Sam Wanamaker’s rebuilt Globe theatre in Southwark. Most are recorded and redeployed in widely distributed video documentaries: “Shakespeare and the Globe” (Films for the Humanities), “Shakespeare’s Globe Restored” and “Shakespeare and the Spanish Connection” (TMW Media).  The internet also now permits redeployment of these materials to create an open website called Shakespeare’s Staging, with essays and bibliographies about the history of Shakespeare performance, plus galleries with two thousand images of performances from Shakespeare’s time to our own. These are supplemented by clips of our own Shakespeare productions, soon to be augmented from professional productions from YouTube.

Visually alert through their intense visual conditioning by television, video games, and digital media, modern students are aided by even brief excerpts from Shakespeare performances, which allow them to imagine more broadly how the plays are performed. Their valuation of this experience is shown by the current total of visits to our site: one and a half million. The site’s scholarly and critical value for more senior Shakespeareans registers in scores of listings by leading research universities, scholarly libraries, and theatre organizations. The site is found at Its success has led us to create another, stressing performances of the works of John Milton, including our public production of Comus  and perhaps the first live performance of “Paradise Lost” (1985) – accessible at

Both sites show the importance of our previous accumulation of data and images under our own control, thus avoiding costly and protracted copyright and royalty issues. However, recently museums, galleries, and libraries are proving more willing to allow us free educational use of their materials. We also gained from access to competent UCB recording and digital facilities, but initial and sustaining funding remains a challenge – we were fortunate to draw on our video royalties! Site preservation also remains a concern, though archiving facilities are now being developed by many academic institutions

Hugh Macrae Richmond, Professor of English Emeritus, Director of the Shakespeare
Program at the University of California at Berkeley.

Welcome to myShakespeare from Royal Shakespeare Company Artistic Director Michael Boyd

Posted to Welcome with 0 Comments on 13.04.12 by RSC

Welcome to myShakespeare, the RSC’s digital project for our World Shakespeare Festival as part of Festival 2012.

The theatre programme we have produced for the World Shakespeare Festival is the biggest enquiry ever into what Shakespeare says to us today and how artists and audiences around the world respond to his work in the 21st century.

We will be asking the same questions in this new experimental online space.  How are people sharing and interpreting Shakespeare online?

Half the world studies his work at school, and no other world artist can claim to be a common cultural reference point in the same way.

Do we, can we, reflect that on line?

Can our understanding of a 17th century English playwright be transformed by new media in the way that our notion of English landscape painting has been changed by David Hockney’s experimentation with the ipad?

For myShakespeare we have commissioned theatre artists to create their first digital works alongside artists who already swim in both analogue and digital waters.  These new pieces will be introduced to the site throughout the Festival, and myShakespeare will also grow with regular blog posts, comments, and the ever changing findings of our search engine, “Banquo”.  ”Banquo” will be measuring conversations about Shakespeare and his value every minute of every day, everywhere in the world. Click on a day and see how people are talking about Shakespeare, follow the links to be part of it and watch your posts connect with Banquo’s pulse.

We’d love you to join the conversation, on the blog, on facebook or twitter and to make myShakespeare your Shakespeare.

Michael Boyd

Stan’s Cafe – Of All The People In The World

Posted to General with 0 Comments on 13.04.12 by Stans Cafe

Stan’s Cafe is a group of artists from a variety of disciplines, though primarily theatre practitioners, working under the artistic direction of James Yarker. The company consists of a core of long term collaborators and a range of associated artists. The line up changes according to the project being worked upon.

As we became a more successful theatre company, we began to tour the world on a more regular basis. This travel helped us  to realise  how many people we share the planet with. We began to wonder about those millions of others who we would never meet and how interesting it would be to represent them in some way, to learn about their lives and the lives of those who came before.

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Piling Up Shakespeare by Elena Reiniger (Central Saint Martins)

Posted to General with 1 Comment on 12.04.12 by Elena Reiniger

1.0 Brief - The Royal Shakespeare Company have invited MA CD to be involved in a project whose outcomes form part of the Cultural Olympiad 2012. The project’s mission is to find out what Shakespeare means in the 21st century.  MA CD’s involvement is to respond digitally and physically to the data produced by the search.

2.0 Research - As I was researching Shakespeare, there was one specific topic catching my attention: It was the question of how Shakespeare had been able to write so many plays, one after another all by himself. There are various speculations including that Shakespeare had a set of ghostwriters working for him.

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Billy’s Bloggerel – Where do ideas come from? (part 1- The First Place)

Posted to Billy Shakespeare with 4 Comments on 11.04.12 by Billy Shakespeare

Billy's Bloggerel "Where Do Ideas Come From? Part One"

Welcome to Billy’s Bloggerel, a web-log of doggerel…

Where Do Ideas Come From?
Part One: The First Place

Where do ideas come from, gracious friends?
These words are the first of my new web log.
Where do ideas come from? Where indeed!
Let us shake this question from all corners!
Why does one man or woman breed one idea,
While others nurture thoughts special to them?
What makes us the spout for these fountainheads?
What makes us the needle’s point that pricks the cloth?
Let us consider place. The place of our birth.
The place of our growth. The place we call home.
I was born between whealden and fielden
Where the river forced Caesar’s road ‘cross a ford.
A place we call Stratford-upon-Avon.
This place where we sprout from never leaves us.
It grows into our flesh like reverse roots.
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