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The World Shakespeare Festival 2012 is truly international

BY Boon Koh
Published 9 May 2012

If flashbacks of studying Romeo & Juliet or King Henry IV during your A Levels still gives you the shivers and make you break out into a cold sweat, you’ll probably groan if I tell you that the World Shakespeare Festival is happening right now in London and other sites in the UK.

But that would be judging a book by its cover (or a play by its poster?). For although the World Shakespeare Festival 2012 is a celebration of Shakespeare as the world’s most famous playwright, it is not just boring old standard Shakespeare, but a major international programme produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company in partnership with 60 partners, many of them international. It is a change to experience Shakespeare, adapted by different cultures around the world, and reinvented for modern times and different languages.

There’s Much Ado About Nothing – but set in the colourful and vibrant world of India, or Two Roses for Richard III, which combines the drama with circus, multimedia, visual metaphor, and aerial choreography. Then there’s Romeo and Juliet in Baghdad, which brings this classic love tragedy into a modern setting, infused with Iraq’s rich traditions of poetry, music and ritual.

Taking place not only in London but Stratford-Upon-Avon, Edinburgh, Birmingham, and Brighton to name a few places, the World Shakespeare Festival 2012 is one of the most exciting ever, and will be one of the most popular too in this Olympic year. Do try to catch one of the interesting plays that present Shakespeare in a new light – and who knows, all those lines of prose and the meaning and beauty behind them that your Literature teacher tried to drill into you might flood back!

View & download the full World Shakespeare Festival brochure here in PDF, which you can also print. Visit the main World Shakespeare Festival 2012 website for a full listing of all the events.