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To Be Today by Brendan Dawes

Created by Brendan Dawes with 0 Comments

Living in a World where so much seems  fragile, transient and throwaway, the words of Shakespeare – hundreds of years on from when he originally wrote them – still seem as relevant as it today as they every were. It was this thought, provoked by a phrase from a BBC Podcast that Shakespeare "is a mirror or our own predicament" that inspired me to make something that would attempt to put into a real-time context the famous and not so famous phrases from Shakespeares' work. [1] When the RSC first got in touch with me I confessed that I'd never read any Shakespeare – my school back then was more Kes than Macbeth – but they liked the fact my only experience with The Bard was through pop-culture such as the many movies that have been made of his work. Over the next few months I spent all my time learning and reading about Shakespeare and why his work still permeates our culture on a daily basis. Over time, having written about every emotion, every part of society from the cruelest to the most wonderful, I asked myself what if those Shakespearean phrases that we hear so much could be super-imposed on to the events of the day, giving modern context to Shakespeare and introducing new audiences to his words through the context of rolling news. With that idea in mind I took it to the RSC who thankfully loved it, after which I set to work on writing the algorithm that would attempt to match Shakespeare quotes with subjects in the news on a half-hourly basis. Early signs were promising but my knowledge of Shakespeare was sadly lacking. Thankfully I then started to work with a young intern at the RSC who could offer real insight into the database that powered the system. The matches now started to really come together; here was Shakespeare describing events in real-time, showing the timeless nature of the words that he wrote and how even today, hundreds of years later, Shakespeare is as relevant today as it ever was. [1]

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Billy’s Bloggerel – Where do ideas come from? (part 8 – Frolics)

Created by Brothers McLeod with 0 Comments

Welcome to Billy’s Bloggerel, a web-log of doggerel… Where do Ideas come from? Part Eight: Frolics Billy: As I remember, Francis, you did promise To help me close my treatise on ideas. But here I find you like Sir John the Hog Wallowing in wet clay and a fog Of your own making. Why? Francis: Why? Why he says? The busy bard asks why? Why because there is nothing more to say. This toying with ideas is done. Over! Where do ideas come from you ask and ask? Birth, death, anger, love, chance connection, Dreams of course and you even admit theft. The tally is as told as Noah’s roll. What other ways are there? Let me count them. None. None. And yet you insist on looking For more reasons without reason. End it And let us enjoy idleness and frolics. Billy: Frolics? Francis: Aye frolics. And romps, larks, capers, gambols, Foolery, frisks, skips, and scrambles! Any idle end to end your endless quest. Billy: You are wise and yet a fool. Clear yet dim. True yet mistaken. Pointed yet blunted. The ringmaster and yet the baited bear. Francis: This is some riddle. You hope to tease me Once more into your game. But I fence-sit! I am lately sworn against sweat and toil. I intend to be the piglet and play. Billy: Ha! You have spoken and yet did not hear. As aware as a hare with hair in his ear. You have hunted the answer like hound Barked it out but not harked the sound. Francis: Oh out with it! I am a pig quite foxed, And cat-curious to know what it is. Where do ideas come from, you great ass? Billy: Play. For when we work at play, we play at work And then ‘tis not work at all, but play. Francis: That much is clear if crystal is now clay. Billy: Wisdom comes from acting the Tarlton fool, For in jesting we gestate comedy, For in tussling we tease out tragedy, For in horsing we hurdle history. With quick tongues we twist fixed language and by Jibbering, we work, that is play, with words. With quick minds we trust instinct, and not to ink, For in play we must react, and must not think. Play does not censure, or define what is wrong. Even the patrons play, for they play along. Francis: Friend. You are true and I the happy fool. Billy: We shall be fellow fools, Touchstone and Feste. Yea, let us both wear a suit of russet And a buttoned cap. We will play the pipe And tabor and while away this day Playing ‘til we play out another play. Billy words and pictures by The Brothers McLeod [1] Billy animations on YouTube Billy badges at the RSC Shop [2] [1] [2]

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Billy's Bloggerel

Billy’s Bloggerel – Where do ideas come from? (part 7 – Death)

Created by Brothers McLeod with 2 Comments

Welcome to Billy’s Bloggerel, a web-log of doggerel… Where do Ideas come from? Part Seven: Death Now, I must rest on dark matters. List to me That my words may mourn and tell like church tolls. It may seem a simple game to reflect On the source of ideas and thoughts, On feverish novelties and notions. For 'tis light to think on inspiration When born from birth, love, dreams, even anger. But there is another author, more feared. Some say our round life flies before our eyes In the last moments before the curtain. Even if this be false, then we that remain Know something akin to it, remembering All our encounters with our passing friend, From our first, cautious acquaintances, To our many revelries, romps and embraces. And we remember, too well, our final Communion, wishing one more meeting, Wishing one more encirclement of arms. But all this, in vain. These endings are like bellows to a flame, The candle burns high, but the wax melts not. We weak vessels that remain are as figures Tricked by mist, which knowing not our bearings Stand still, staring into naught, like stark skulls. Only when the sun has painted the dial With some few circles, do we sense the atom Of intent, cradled within. Perhaps it will be some few words, a poem, A portrait, a lament or a worked stone. When faced with all-ending, we must defy And make memorial and monument. Are these ideas the most sacred of all, Hewn as they are in life’s failing fires? Sacred or not so, they must be humble. We cannot be like magi, conjuring stars To convert the fixed constellations, That we might preserve in their new shapes Some memory, some thread, of life now lost. We must settle for a few inky shreds, For the dauby dabs of slickened brushes, For the meagre marks that our bodies make To commemorate those who have marked us. One day we too will cross this Rubicon And face what? Something? Or oblivion? Yea. There are some destinies we cannot mend And a play is not a play without an end. Billy words and pictures by The Brothers McLeod [1] Billy animations on YouTube Billy badges at the RSC Shop [2] [1] [2]

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Matthew Sommerville

Quintessence of Dust by Matthew Somerville

Created by Matthew Somerville with 0 Comments

I have always been interested in the hustle and bustle of the theatre, such as everything that goes on literally behind the scenes in the weeks and months before in order to make the work of art that I see as a member of the audience on a particular night. It's one of the reasons I set up Theatricalia - [1] - to record details of as many productions as possible, letting people see the history of people, places, and productions as they each move through the theatre world. With the advent of the World Shakespeare Festival, I thought it would be interesting to be able to see an overview of the productions involved in the Festival across the country. As I'm a web developer by profession, I naturally wanted this to be a website-based data visualisation - one that as well as an animation showing the overview, allowed people to interact with it and find out more information about the events covered. From the Shipwreck Trilogy in Stratford-upon-Avon and London at the Roundhouse, Forests at the Birmingham Rep, or Y Storm (The Tempest) at the National Eisteddfod of Wales, my work provides a summary of the Festival productions and associated events. [2] Matthew Somerville is a web developer based in Birmingham, working for mySociety on sites such as FixMyStreet and TheyWorkForYou. After finding it hard to discover what other productions the brilliant actors of the RSC Histories Cycle had been in, he set up as an open, editable, repository of theatre productions. It currently contains almost 24,000 productions, dating back to the sixteenth century production of Julius Caesar at the Globe." Quintessence of Dust is one of three myShakespeare commissions from Caper [3].   [1] [2] [3]

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Bard Talk

Bards Talk by Abigail Smith

Created by Abigail Smith with 0 Comments

MODERNISING SHAKESPEARE 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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Spirits Melted Into Air by Tom Armitage

Created by Tom Armitage with 0 Comments

Spirits Melted Into Air [1] is a project exploring actors’ movement on stage, created by Tom Armitage as a series of three commissions programmed by Caper [2] and produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company. It takes individual scenes or speeches - in this case, two individual scenes from the 2012 Royal Shakespeare Company productions of Richard III and The Comedy of Errors - and produces data-visualisations of actors' motion during them. By stripping the text away from dramatic performance and removing the playwright, it highlights the work that the Royal Shakespeare Company does in bringing the written texts of Shakespeare's plays to life. Namely: the production aspects - the actor, director, motion coach, audience; everyone that influences a performance. The work is in parts a technology prototype, data visualisation, and artwork. Custom-built, open-source software is used to analyse performance video and generate plots of actors’ positions on stage from a perspective viewpoint. These plots are then used to generate new, secondary artworks: posters, and laser-cut wooden shapes. The posters illustrate only the traces of the actor upon stage; “footnotes” indicate salient lines in the text of the scene, anchoring the movement to Shakespeare’s original words. The wooden shapes represent the shape of the actors’ footsteps for the whole scene, and are engraved with arrows indicating directions of motion, as well as recording the scene, actor, and date of performance. More information, including video and photographs, is at [3] About Tom Armitage - [4] Tom Armitage is a technologist, writer and designer based in London.  He makes tools, toys, and art out of hardware, software, and the network. He has spoken on technology, design, and games at conferences around the world, and runs a popular weblog at [5] . [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

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Alarum Project

Alarum by Natalia Buckley and Caper

Created by Natalia Buckley and Caper with 0 Comments

Alarum [1]; and chambers go off. Alarum [2] is an ambient display that shows the changes in sound levels and motion around the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. Whether a quiet moment between performances, the hustle and bustle of the wigs and wardrobe department in the run-up to curtain-up, or the hush of the auditorium as the house lights go down, the theatre has a pulse of its own. Specially built sensors placed at key locations around the site measure light, sound and motion, animating the display with every change they detect. What you see here is happening right now in the theatre. By exploring the changes in sound and light around the site, we can measure the heartbeat of the building. And by displaying those changes live on the internet, we can connect people around the world with Shakespeare, his plays and the main theatre in the town of his birth, every minute of the day. Follow the process of making Alarum through Natalia's blog [3] and Caper's blog [4] Alarum [2] was thought out by Caper and Natalia Buckley and the creative team are: Caper ( [6]) is a creative agency, founded by Rachel Coldicutt and Katy Beale. We run innovation programmes and create digital campaigns for a range of clients, including cultural organisations, media companies and luxury brands. Rachel was previously Head of Digital Media at the Royal Opera House, and Alarum, the first of our three commissions, built by Natalia Buckley, draws on her experience there: the frenetic churn of backstage activity in a large theatre is often completely hidden from the audience, while the peaks and troughs of front-of-house activity have a rhythm entirely of their own. A theatre without people is simply an empty space, and Alarum is an attempt to convey the movement of staff, actors and audiences in a meaningful way. Kat Sommers [7] I'm a digital producer, writer and wrangler of content, with a background in am dram that has seen me carry many a spear. The closest I get to treading the boards nowadays is poking around the green room and wings of a famous theatre from the comfort of my own home, which, coincidentally, is exactly the kind of thing that got me into the internet in the first place. Natalia Buckley [8] I've been called a technologist, designer, developer, maker, and even a data artist. It boils down to making things out of the internet. In fact was the first child in Poland to access the web (probably) and a first one not only to have their own website, but one they've made themselves (definitely). I mainly break things, but somehow always manage to fix them before anyone notices. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]

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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, courageous…Go 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 [1] - photo by Nina McDonagh [1]

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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: [1] More details are available at [2] [1] [2]

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