What makes Global Shakespeare different? Our openness to Shakespeare’s difference. We recognize that Shakespeare belongs to no single language or culture, no particular historical period or medium. He has been translated into virtually all the world’s most commonly spoken languages. His plays are performed in a rich variety of theatrical traditions. Film has transformed his work from Russia to Korea. Popular culture and media have transformed and adapted his work to represent chicken rice wars in Singapore and the oppression of women in India. And Shakespeare is used as an educational force across the world.
Global Shakespeare aims to understand and share the ways in which texts written for the theatre in England at the turn of the sixteenth century have become the most celebrated, recognized, disseminated and celebrated across the world. This extension of Shakespeare across languages and cultures means that he is always different to every single viewpoint. He cannot be confined to a particular historical period, language, politics or culture, but rather challenges every attempt to confine him. We aim to live up to that challenge.
We are developing a range of projects and activities from the early modern to the late modern periods to explain how Shakespeare became such a far-reaching and influential figure. We are launching initiatives that explore Shakespeare’s place in current debates around globalisation. And we are seeking to become part of the ever-expanding force that Shakespeare represents, from Nelson Mandela’s Robben Island prison in South Africa to camps for Syrian refugees in Jordan, in freeing humanity from oppression and violence.
If you are interested in understanding Shakespeare’s place in a globalised world - especially as a force for the proper understanding and critique of that world - if you are interested in working with theatre practitioners beyond the well-known stages of Shakespeare’s Globe and the Royal Shakespeare Company, in engaging in new translations of Shakespeare, or Shakespeare’s place in the diversity of local communities, and in taking Shakespeare out of the archive into a world that spans multiple language, cultures and media, then you are interested in Global Shakespeare.