Cultural Playing Field

World Shakespeare Festival partners’ day by Robin Simpson
March 16, 2012, 1:35 pm
Filed under: meetings | Tags: , , , ,

I was at the National Theatre in London on Tuesday to take part in the World Shakespeare Festival partners’ meeting. This event, chaired by the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Director of Communications, Liz Thompson, brought together marketing and communications officers from organisations including the National Theatre, Barbican, Sage Gateshead, Royal Opera House, British Museum, National Theatre Wales, Birmingham Rep, Northern Stage, Shakespeare’s Globe and Brighton Festival. Our Open Stages project and the way amateur theatre groups are getting involved in the World Shakespeare Festival got prominent attention (it was the first item we discussed!). Ian Wainwright from the RSC outlined the progress of Open Stages and representatives of three of the Open Stages partner theatres (Contact in Manchester, Questors in London and the National Theatre of Scotland) described the plans for their forthcoming Open Stages showcase events. It was also fascinating to hear about the multitude of other World Shakespeare Festival productions in preparation across the UK – from Simon Russell-Beale in ‘Timon of Athens’ at the National Theatre to ‘Forests’, a new work based around the forest and heath scenes from a variety of Shakespeare plays which is being directed by Calixto Bieito at Birmingham Rep, to a new Welsh language translation of ‘The Tempest’ by Gwyneth Lewis which will be performed at the National Eistedfodd. There is so much going on within the World Shakespeare Festival it is very difficult to grasp all the details. But that is nothing compared to the mass of events under the wider Festival 2012 banner: we had a presentation from Claire Hutchinson from LOCOG, Head of Marketing for Festival 2012, which was mind boggling in terms of the scale and variety of activity due to take place around the country over the coming months. The World Shakespeare Festival starts on 23 April (Shakespeare’s birthday), full details at:

Robin Simpson.

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