Cultural Playing Field

Planning the 2012 World Shakespeare Festival by Robin Simpson
December 5, 2008, 3:09 pm
Filed under: meetings | Tags: , , ,

Last Friday I was in Stratford-upon-Avon to meet Deborah Shaw at the Royal Shakespeare Company. Deborah is responsible for the 2012 World Shakespeare Festival which will take place from April – July 2012. Activities will happen around the UK but the main focus will be on London, Stratford and Newcastle. The RSC is hoping to work with schools and non-professional theatre and to use this opportunity to develop interaction between professional and amateur drama. There will be an emphasis on learning from each other and using Shakespeare to explore a wide range of themes in creative ways – not just a series of conventional staged productions. We are still at a very early stage: the details of the festival do not have to be finalised until September 2009. Deborah is keen to involve the Voluntary Arts Network and the amateur drama umbrella bodies in developing the way the festival will involve non-professional theatre. The RSC has agreed to host a major voluntary arts consultative meeting in Stratford in March 2009. This will provide an opportunity for the amateur theatre umbrella bodies and representative organisations to work with the RSC to help to design the World Shakespeare Festival. I think this in itself is a significant step forward – the voluntary arts being offered the chance to develop a way of working with the RSC that we hope will lay the ground for further similar collaboration beyond 2012.

Robin Simpson.


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