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

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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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