The World Shakespeare Festival has opened to audiences in London.
Co-ordinated by the Royal Shakespeare Company, the World Shakespeare Festival has kicked off with a special programme hosted by the Globe To Globe theatre company.
The festival will see Globe To Globe perform all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays in 37 different languages at the iconic Globe Theatre – a replica of the same theatre Shakespeare would have first performed his plays to audiences.
More than 600 actors from all over the world will take part in the project, and the diverse programme is to include King Lear performed in Belarusian, Hamlet in Lithuanian, as well as Othello, which has been reinterpreted through hip-hop.
“What I’ve found from travelling around the world is that you get an incredible sense of what’s going on in a show, even from the way people move on the stage and the things people wear,” Globe To Globe artistic director Tom Bird told the BBC, adding it’s not difficult for audiences to follow the stories, even if they don’t speak the languages.
“What’s surprised me more than anything is the way people have taken Shakespeare to their hearts all around the world.
“People don’t think of him as an English poet, they think of him as part of the world culture.”
The wider World Shakespeare Festival will see dozens of Shakespeare productions being performed across the UK between now and November, including in Stratford-upon-Avon, Newcastle, Gateshead, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Wales.
The festival will also emphasise Shakespeare as the “world’s playwright”, highlighting his profound impact on storytelling around the globe. More than 70 productions and exhibitions are set to take place, in addition to a host of events and activities.