Bard Talk

Bards Talk by Abigail Smith

Created by Abigail Smith with 0 Comments


Many people grow up with an existing perception of Shakespeare, and don’t consider his stories to be of any interest or relevance. I wanted to try and create a project which could show everyone that Shakespeare’s stories are still adaptable to our lives now.

Looking at social media sites, like MyShakespeare, and work young artists were producing on their thoughts of Shakespeare, I was inspired to contribute this community. The digital platform is the most common form of communication amongst our current generation, and allows viewers connect to the artist on a more intimate level.

To demystify Shakespeare, and connect to my audience, I created video diaries of people acting out their interpretations of Shakespeare’s characters. These are designed to look like they are made by normal people, with what they are talking about based on scenarios that could actually happen. They are supposed to highlight how Shakespeare’s stories are based on parts of human nature which never change, and that people still go through the same types of experiences to this day, whether it’s troubles with love, relationships, ambition, grief or hate.

So, welcome to Bards Talk! An interactive YouTube channel which hosts these video diaries and invites people to join and take part with their own submissions of characters and experiences. People can now see completely novel versions of Shakespeare’s plays, letting them understand the story in a way that is tailored to them. Bards Talk encourages a new or existing audience to be interested in Shakespeare, and interested in the theatre.

All the existing videos on the site have been filmed by those involved, and directed and edited by myself.

To see the Bards Talk channel, visit

and for more information  visit:

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Tim Etchells

Be Stone No More – A Tabletop Shakespeare directed by Tim Etchells

Created by TIm Etchells with 9 Comments

Director Tim Etchells invites a collection of people with different relationships to Shakespeare – including actors, writers and academics – to each choose a Shakespeare play, take a seat at table and narrate / enact the story using their own selection of everyday objects as stand-ins for the characters. These comical, absurd and intimate to-camera performances are schematic diagrams of Shakespeare – lovingly made miniatures which condense the world of each play to a one metre square tabletop and summon it with a collection of banal materials and objects. Produced in collaboration with Etchells’ company – the renowned Sheffield-based experimental theatre collective Forced Entertainment – Tabletop Shakespeare explores the dynamic force of narrative and the power of language to make pictures in the spectator’s mind – echoing Shakespeare’s own words from Henry V imploring spectators to “Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts.”

What follows are the films and a brief interview with Tim Etchells.

Interview with Tim Etchells:

The Merchant of Venice performed by Yolana Wassersug:

Romeo and Juliet performed by Sam Taylor

King Lear performed by Kuselo Kamau

Hamlet performed by Nina Lampic

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Shakespeare Insanity by Hannah Silva

Created by Hannah Silva with 0 Comments

Shakespeare Insanity is made by playing with some of Shakespeare’s insults (and a few extra non Shakespearian words).

Hannah Silva is writer, performer and theatre maker based in Devon. She has shown her theatre work internationally, including in Japan, Germany, Holland and Belgium and is currently touring her solo showOpposition. As a poet she has toured with Apples and Snakes, performed widely including at Latitude and the London Word Festival, and has been featured on Radio 3’s The Verb. She was recently commissioned by the BBC to write a verse drama ‘Marathon Tales’ with playwright Colin Teevan (broadcast Radio 3 11th August) She is currently working on a new opera ‘Thanatophobia’ with the composer Joanna Lee through an Aldeburgh Music Jerwood Opera Writing Fellowship. Her poetry is featured in anthologies from Penned in the Margins, Avalanche Books and Bloodaxe (forthcoming). She has taught for Exeter University, The Poetry School, The Theatre Royal Plymouth Creative Learning department, and Adult Learning Plymouth as well as many freelance workshops. From September she will be ‘playwright in residence’ at the Lady Eleanor Holles School.

Her current show Opposition, a political play on words is touring in 2012, and will be at the Ovalhouse in November.
This work is radical, political, courageousGo to listen, marvel, participate. Go to be amazed. Just go***** What’s on Stage 
on Opposition
‘Her physical performances, fast-talking delivery and innovative use of cut-up text make her one of the most ambitious and entertaining poets in the country’ The Times, Top Ten Literary Stars of 2008 - photo by Nina McDonagh
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The Tempest by RETZ

Created by RETZ with 0 Comments

From February to July 2012, we transformed a small shop in London’s Hoxton into the setting for Shakespeare’s last play The Tempest. Each month it became a different location on Shakespeare’s fantastical island: A dive bar, supercomputer, basement, run-down hotel, library and ferry port. Audience members visited the installations every month meeting the characters and witnessing as plots were hatched and flirtatious glances exchanged.

The story was not only spread over six installation but in newspaper articles, online videos and characters all supplementing the narrative. We saw the experience like a TV box-set audience members developing relationships with characters over a long period of time. The video above is the fourth installment, focusing on King Alonso and his men, who are sheltering in an decrepit hotel after crash landing on Prospero’s island.

We filmed each of the performances and they are available to watch online here, together they tell the complete story of The Tempest:

More details are available at

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Kate Tempest 2

My Shakespeare by Kate Tempest

Created by Kate Tempest with 23 Comments

Watch Kate’s performance of what Shakespeare means to her.

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Come and have a go if you think you’re Bard enough…

Created by New Zealand International Arts Festival with 0 Comments

Come and have a go if you think you’re Bard enough…

A digital Shakespeare project from the world’s faraway festival

As well as a being a haven for Hobbits, Wellington is home to the country’s biggest celebration of art – the New Zealand International Arts Festival.   The Festival transforms the capital over 24 days, packing the city with performances from the world’s leading artists and promising an arts adventure for locals and visitors.  In February the Festival asked the help of some of Wellington’s most famous resident actors including Andy Serkis (Lord of the Rings, King Kong), Bret McKenzie (Flight of the Conchords) and Stephen Fry (The Hobbit) to develop a low-fi digital project that would run alongside its live performance programme.

The 2012 New Zealand International Arts Festival celebrated the best of the Bard with a special programme of Shakespeare including the UK’s Propeller Theatre’s double-bill of Henry V and The Winter’s Tale; Pan Pan’s deconstructed Hamlet from Ireland called The Rehearsal, Playing the Dane; feminist Germaine Greer speaking on Shakespeare’s Wife; and the world premiere of the Māori Troilus and Cressida – which later travelled to The Globe in London as part of the 2012 World Shakespeare Festival.

In its digital programme the Festival set itself a challenge of Shakespearean proportions: to create New Zealand’s first ever crowd-sourced Shakespeare speech. Video content was pulled together over just a few days and featured fearless actors, personalities and presenters from the big and small screens in New Zealand who each contributed a line of “To be, or not to be”. They filmed their section by any means possible – iPhone, digital camera, webcam, studio cameras – whatever came to hand. It took 21 contributors, a quick edit – and quite a few outtakes – and then Come and have a go if you think you’re Bard enough was released to the world.

The 2014 New Zealand International Arts Festival is from 21 February – 16 March.

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Troilus and Cressida – ‘Uncle Pandarus needs to talk to you’

Created by 1623 Theatre Company with 4 Comments

“My tale’s of war and how it kills what’s dear,
A parable to turn my guilt to good
And caution you against a future war”
: Uncle Pandarus

Uncle Pandarus needs to talk to you. Follow his blog at as he tells you the tale of his niece Cressida and her lover Troilus. Each day for three weeks, Pandarus will update his blog with videos, photos, intercepted phone calls and his own manga artwork. Once he’s updated his blog, posts will stay there forever so you can keep updated as and when you like. This free-to-watch production from 1623 theatre company is supported by Derby City Council, Derbyshire County Council, Igniting Ambition (Cultural Olympiad in the East Midlands), QUAD and the Great British Sasakawa Foundation. Remember, Uncle Pandarus needs to talk to you at

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The Tragedy of Macbeth produced by Mike Berenger

Created by Mike Berenger with 0 Comments

The film is set in 11th Century Scotland as Shakespeare intended, but casts Macbeth and Lady Macbeth as a pair of eager twenty-somethings thirsty for fame and fortune. Marek Oravec and Hannah Taylor Gordon make for a beautiful and intense on-screen couple and an international cast brings fresh life to the myriad of supporting roles; including a stand-out performance from Viennese children’s TV presenter Richard Panzenboeck as the chilling assassin Seyton and a cameo from 70′s film heart-throb Oliver Tobias as a hilariously unhinged and philandering Porter.

We always planned for the film to be a fresh take: “It’s a roller coaster 90 minutes and it’s nothing like what many people expect from period Shakespeare.”

The play might be 400 years old but the story resonates perfectly with today’s fame-driven world. The Macbeths are the celebrities of their age; filthy rich, successful and beautiful, but they are seduced into believing that they deserve even more and they jump at the chance to take it. With no regard for the consequences, their reckless impatience leads them to a spiral of violence ending in madness and death, and a final self-realisation.

Marek Oravec, Golden Globe® nominee Hannah Taylor Gordon, Hal Fowler and Oliver Tobias feature in this bold new film adaptation of The Tragedy of Macbeth, William Shakespeare’s most notorious and bloody play.

The film was directed by actor-director Daniel Coll from a finely tuned screenplay adaptation by Stephen Coles and made high in the Austrian Alps back at the end of 2009. It was released on DVD in March this year and will be available to download later in the year.


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Jenny Ridley 3

That Time of Year – Shakespeare (Sonnet 73) by Jennifer Ridley

Created by Jennifer Ridley with 4 Comments

From exploring the nature of poetry and lyrics I feel Shakespeare is a very important figure in writing. Over the last few years I have spent time studying the relationship between these two elements and feel that his prose has had a significant impact on the way in which we write and express ourselves today.

I began to notice the musicality of Shakespeare from studying and reading his sonnets and songs. I became particularly aware of the delicate emotive prose, the structures, rhyme schemes and phrase movements. I decided to work from a Classical/Folk direction being careful to arrange the music to retain the beauty of the text whilst enhancing this with instrumental arrangements.

The piece I have chosen to share is, “That Time of Year” Sonnet 73.The text of this sonnet illustrates Shakespeare’s views on life, expressing his experiences using the metaphors of nature to explain the inevitable path of existence leading to old age and eventually moving towards death.

Similar to the lyricists and writers of today, I feel that Shakespeare has been able to gracefully create imagery and themes that are able to transcend and capture audiences of generations.

That Time of Year – Sonnet 73


That time of year thou mayst in me behold

When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang

Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,

Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.

In me thou see’st the twilight of such day

As after sunset fadeth in the west;

Which by and by black night doth take away,

Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.

In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire,

That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,

As the deathbed whereon it must expire,

Consumed with that which it was nourished by.

This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,

To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

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Created by Duan Wanty with 0 Comments

There are three kinds of people in the world, those who love Shakespeare, those who don’t and those that pretend to know exactly what Shakespeare meant with his self-made language. Regardless of where you place yourself, we know that the sheer brilliance of Shakespeare will live on, and with the production of iHamlet, it is proven yet again.

iHamlet is not your average adaptation.  Performed by the talented, Ashraf Johaardien, the play takes you on an hour-long solo performance of bits and pieces of one of Shakespeare’s longest plays and tracks the transition of the Prince from his deep melancholy to his unhinged passion. What is most intriguing of the performance is the quick shifts between emotion, from grief to rage, madness to pure crazy embodies the mind of the mad, bad, moody Prince of Denmark brilliantly.

The one thing that stands out most in this production is that the portrayal of Hamlet is constant, there are no other character’s portrayed, just fragments and pieces of the very disturbed soul of Hamlet himself.  A gesture that highlights the fixation on the “i” that we have in our modern day lives, it’s all about you, isn’t it? Or is it all about Hamlet? You decide.

Johaardien comments: “Hamlet’s central moral dilemma transcends the Elizabethan period. His struggle to act in a corrupt world while maintaining a sense of his moral integrity reflects the same dilemmas we have faced through the ages and which we still face in South Africa and the world today.”

Catch this sharp and witty production at The Fringe, Joburg Theatre from Friday 11 May 2012 to Saturday 19 May 2012. Tickets are R115.00 and can be bought online. Click here. (

Directed & Designed by Jade Bowers
Performed by Ashraf Johaardien
Adapted by Robin Malan

“Originally published on Bizcommunity.” (

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